Conservative Independence-Based Causal Structure Learning in Absence of Adjacency Faithfulness

Jan Lemeire, Stijn Meganck, Francesco Cartella, Tingting Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents an extension to the Conservative PC algorithm which is able to detect violations of adjacency faithfulness under causal sufficiency and triangle faithfulness. Violations can be characterized by pseudo-independent relations and equivalent edges, both generating a pattern of conditional independencies that cannot be modeled faithfully. Both cases lead to uncertainty about specific parts of the skeleton of the causal graph. These ambiguities are modeled by an f-pattern. We prove that our Adjacency Conservative PC algorithm is able to correctly learn the f-pattern. We argue that the solution also applies for the finite sample case if we accept that only strong edges can be identified. Experiments based on simulations and the ALARM benchmark model show that the rate of false edge removals is significantly reduced, at the expense of uncertainty on the skeleton and a higher sensitivity for accidental correlations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1305-1325
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Approximate Reasoning
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2012


  • Causality
  • Bayesian networks
  • Structure learning
  • Faithfulness


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