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Construction and Utilization of Mechanism-based Causal Models

Lu, Tsai-Ching (2004) Construction and Utilization of Mechanism-based Causal Models. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation studies how the mechanism-based view of causality can assist in construction and utilization of causal models for decision support. The mechanism-based view of causality is based on the theory of causal ordering, proposed by Simon [53], which explicates causal asymmetries among variables in a self-contained set of simultaneous structural equations. I extend the theory of causal ordering to explicate causal relations in under-constrained sets of structural equations. Considering under constrained models as intermediate representations of one's understanding of decision problems, I demonstrate that a model construction process can be viewed as the process of assembling mechanisms from under-constrained models into self-contained causal models. I formalize the reversibility property of a mechanism to support changes in structure in causal models containing reversible mechanisms. I introduce algorithms for deliberating atomic actions when one considers manipulating a variable or releasing a mechanism to achieve a decision objective. In addition, I introduce the concept of search for opportunities which amounts to both identifying the set of policy variables and computing their optimal setting for a decision objective. Search for opportunities presents decision makers with a list of ranked interventions based on the value of intervention computation. I implement an interactive system called ImaGeNIe that supports mechanism-based model construction and utilization. I conduct subject experiments and find that ImaGeNIe can effectively assist users in constructing causal models for causal reasoning.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDruzdzel, Marek Jmarek@sis.pitt.eduDRUZDZEL
Committee MemberCooper, Gregory
Committee MemberPrzytula, Krzysztof
Committee MemberHauskrecht, Milosmilos@cs.pitt.eduMILOS
Date: 16 January 2004
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 1 December 2003
Approval Date: 16 January 2004
Submission Date: 8 December 2003
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Intelligent Systems
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: reversible mechanisms; structural equations; value of intervention; act operator.; causality
Other ID:, etd-12082003-172253
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:09
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:53


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