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  1. Existing causal models for link prediction assume an underlying set of inherent node factors—an innate characteristic defined at the node’s birth—that governs the causal evolution of links in the graph. In some causal tasks, however, link formation ispath-dependent: the outcome of link interventions depends on existing links. Unfortunately, these existing causal methods are not designed for path-dependent link formation, as the cascading functional dependencies between links (arising frompath dependence) are either unidentifiable or require an impractical number of control variables. To overcome this, we develop the first causal model capable of dealing with path dependencies in link prediction. In this work, we introduce the concept of causal lifting, an invariance in causal models of independent interest that, on graphs, allows the identification of causal link prediction queries using limited interventional data. Further, we show how structural pairwise embeddings exhibit lower bias and correctly represent the task’s causal structure, as opposed to existing node embeddings, e.g. graph neural network node embeddings and matrix factorization. Finally, we validate our theoretical findings on three scenarios for causal link prediction tasks: knowledge base completion, covariance matrix estimation and consumer-product recommendations.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  2. This work provides the first theoretical study on the ability of graph Message Passing Neural Networks (gMPNNs) -- such as Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) -- to perform inductive out-of-distribution (OOD) link prediction tasks, where deployment (test) graph sizes are larger than training graphs. We first prove non-asymptotic bounds showing that link predictors based on permutation-equivariant (structural) node embeddings obtained by gMPNNs can converge to a random guess as test graphs get larger. We then propose a theoretically-sound gMPNN that outputs structural pairwise (2-node) embeddings and prove non-asymptotic bounds showing that, as test graphs grow, these embeddings converge to embeddings of a continuous function that retains its ability to predict links OOD. Empirical results on random graphs show agreement with our theoretical results. 
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  3. Deep learning models tend not to be out-of-distribution robust primarily due to their reliance on spurious features to solve the task. Counterfactual data augmentations provide a general way of (approximately) achieving representations that are counterfactual-invariant to spurious features, a requirement for out-of-distribution (OOD) robustness. In this work, we show that counterfactual data augmentations may not achieve the desired counterfactual-invariance if the augmentation is performed by a context-guessing machine, an abstract machine that guesses the most-likely context of a given input. We theoretically analyze the invariance imposed by such counterfactual data augmentations and describe an exemplar NLP task where counterfactual data augmentation by a context-guessing machine does not lead to robust OOD classifiers. 
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  4. Generalizing from observed to new related environments (out-of-distribution) is central to the reliability of classifiers. However, most classifiers fail to predict label from input when the change in environment is due a (stochastic) input transformation not observed in training, as in training we observe , where is a hidden variable. This work argues that when the transformations in train and test are (arbitrary) symmetry transformations induced by a collection of known equivalence relations, the task of finding a robust OOD classifier can be defined as finding the simplest causal model that defines a causal connection between the target labels and the symmetry transformations that are associated with label changes. We then propose a new learning paradigm, asymmetry learning, that identifies which symmetries the classifier must break in order to correctly predict in both train and test. Asymmetry learning performs a causal model search that, under certain identifiability conditions, finds classifiers that perform equally well in-distribution and out-of-distribution. Finally, we show how to learn counterfactually-invariant representations with asymmetry learning in two physics tasks. 
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  5. Generalizing from observed to new related environments (out-of-distribution) is central to the reliability of classifiers. However, most classifiers fail to predict label from input when the change in environment is due a (stochastic) input transformation not observed in training, as in training we observe , where is a hidden variable. This work argues that when the transformations in train and test are (arbitrary) symmetry transformations induced by a collection of known equivalence relations, the task of finding a robust OOD classifier can be defined as finding the simplest causal model that defines a causal connection between the target labels and the symmetry transformations that are associated with label changes. We then propose a new learning paradigm, asymmetry learning, that identifies which symmetries the classifier must break in order to correctly predict in both train and test. Asymmetry learning performs a causal model search that, under certain identifiability conditions, finds classifiers that perform equally well in-distribution and out-of-distribution. Finally, we show how to learn counterfactually-invariant representations with asymmetry learning in two physics tasks. 
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  6. The performance of Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) algorithms for video streaming depends on accurately predicting the download time of video chunks. Existing prediction approaches (i) assume chunk download times are dominated by network throughput; and (ii) apriori cluster sessions (e.g., based on ISP and CDN) and only learn from sessions in the same cluster. We make three contributions. First, through analysis of data from real-world video streaming sessions, we show (i) apriori clustering prevents learning from related clusters; and (ii) factors such as the Time to First Byte (TTFB) are key components of chunk download times but not easily incorporated into existing prediction approaches. Second, we propose Xatu, a new prediction approach that jointly learns a neural network sequence model with an interpretable automatic session clustering method. Xatu learns clustering rules across all sessions it deems relevant, and models sequences with multiple chunk-dependent features (e.g., TTFB) rather than just throughput. Third, evaluations using the above datasets and emulation experiments show that Xatu significantly improves prediction accuracies by 23.8% relative to CS2P (a state-of-the-art predictor). We show Xatu provides substantial performance benefits when integrated with multiple ABR algorithms including MPC (a well studied ABR algorithm), and FuguABR (a recent algorithm using stochastic control) relative to their default predictors (CS2P and a fully connected neural network respectively). Further, Xatu combined with MPC outperforms Pensieve, an ABR based on deep reinforcement learning. 
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  7. Abstract

    Species occurrence data are foundational for research, conservation, and science communication, but the limited availability and accessibility of reliable data represents a major obstacle, particularly for insects, which face mounting pressures. We presentBeeBDC, a newRpackage, and a global bee occurrence dataset to address this issue. We combined >18.3 million bee occurrence records from multiple public repositories (GBIF, SCAN, iDigBio, USGS, ALA) and smaller datasets, then standardised, flagged, deduplicated, and cleaned the data using the reproducibleBeeBDC R-workflow. Specifically, we harmonised species names (following established global taxonomy), country names, and collection dates and, we added record-level flags for a series of potential quality issues. These data are provided in two formats, “cleaned” and “flagged-but-uncleaned”. TheBeeBDCpackage with online documentation provides end users the ability to modify filtering parameters to address their research questions. By publishing reproducibleRworkflows and globally cleaned datasets, we can increase the accessibility and reliability of downstream analyses. This workflow can be implemented for other taxa to support research and conservation.

     
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