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Consider the problem of determining the effect of a compound on a specific cell type. To answer this question, researchers traditionally need to run an experiment applying the drug of interest to that cell type. This approach is not scalable: given a large number of different actions (compounds) and a large number of different contexts (cell types), it is infeasible to run an experiment for every actioncontext pair. In such cases, one would ideally like to predict the outcome for every pair while only needing outcome data for a small _subset_ of pairs. This task, which we label "causal imputation", is a generalization of the causal transportability problem. To address this challenge, we extend the recently introduced _synthetic interventions_ (SI) estimator to handle more general data sparsity patterns. We prove that, under a latent factor model, our estimator provides valid estimates for the causal imputation task. We motivate this model by establishing a connection to the linear structural causal model literature. Finally, we consider the prominent CMAP dataset in predicting the effects of compounds on gene expression across cell types. We find that our estimator outperforms standard baselines, thus confirming its utility in biological applications.more » « less

We consider the question of learning the natural parameters of a k parameter \textit{minimal} exponential family from i.i.d. samples in a computationally and statistically efficient manner. We focus on the setting where the support as well as the natural parameters are appropriately bounded. While the traditional maximum likelihood estimator for this class of exponential family is consistent, asymptotically normal, and asymptotically efficient, evaluating it is computationally hard. In this work, we propose a computationally efficient estimator that is consistent as well as asymptotically normal under mild conditions. We provide finite sample guarantees to achieve an l2 error of α in the parameter estimation with sample complexity O(poly(k/α)) and computational complexity O(poly(k/α)). To establish these results, we show that, at the population level, our method can be viewed as the maximum likelihood estimation of a reparameterized distribution belonging to the same class of exponential family.more » « less

null (Ed.)We consider learning a sparse pairwise Markov Random Field (MRF) with continuous valued variables from i.i.d samples. We adapt the algorithm of Vuffray et al. (2019) to this setting and provide finite sample analysis revealing sample complexity scaling logarithmically with the number of variables, as in the discrete and Gaussian settings. Our approach is applicable to a large class of pairwise MRFs with continuous variables and also has desirable asymptotic properties, including consistency and normality under mild conditions. Further, we establish that the population version of the optimization criterion employed by Vuffray et al. (2019) can be interpreted as local maximum likelihood estimation (MLE). As part of our analysis, we introduce a robust variation of sparse linear regression à la Lasso, which may be of interest in its own right.more » « less