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Causal-BALD: Deep Bayesian Active Learning of Outcomes to Infer Treatment-Effects

Estimating personalized treatment effects from high-dimensional observational data is essential in situations where experimental designs are infeasible, unethical or expensive. Existing approaches rely on fitting deep models on outcomes observed for treated and control populations, but when measuring the outcome for an individual is costly (e.g. biopsy) a sample efficient strategy for acquiring outcomes is required. Deep Bayesian active learning provides a framework for efficient data acquisition by selecting points with high uncertainty. However, naive application of existing methods selects training data that is biased toward regions where the treatment effect cannot be identified because there is non-overlapping support between the treated and control populations. To maximize sample efficiency for learning personalized treatment effects, we introduce new acquisition functions grounded in information theory that bias data acquisition towards regions where overlap is satisfied, by combining insights from deep Bayesian active learning and causal inference. We demonstrate the performance of the proposed acquisition strategies on synthetic and semi-synthetic datasets IHDP and CMNIST and their extensions which aim to simulate common dataset biases and pathologies.


Andrew Jesson, Panagiotis Tigas, Joost van Amersfoort, Andreas Kirsch, Uri Shalit, Yarin Gal
NeurIPS, 2021

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