Talk by Paul Rubenstein (Cambridge/Tübingen)

You are all cordially invited to the AMLab seminar this Tuesday November 22 at 16:00 in C3.163, where Paul Rubenstein (Cambridge/Tübingen) will give a talk titled “Structural Equation Models: Where do they come from?”. Afterwards there are the usual drinks and snacks!


Structural Equation Models (SEMs) are widely used in the causality community as a language to describe how the distribution of a system of random variables changes under intervention.

Much work has been done to study certain properties of SEMs, for instance identifying conditions under which they can be learned from observational data, or restricted classes of interventions. However, many questions remain:

Under what conditions can we use an SEM to describe a system of random variables? Is it still possible to use them when we can only ‘coarsely’ measure the system? (For instance, if the timescale of consecutive observations of a process are slow compared to the timescale of the dynamics of the process itself.) What are ‘causal features’ and how can we derive an SEM to describe the relationship between them given a description of the underlying system?

In this talk I will introduce a framework in which we can ask these questions in a precise way, which is a necessary prerequisite to placing SEMs on a stronger theoretical footing.

See you there!