DIET: Conditional independence testing with marginal dependence measures of residual information

Mukund Sudarshan, Aahlad Puli, Wesley Tansey, Rajesh Ranganath

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Conditional randomization tests (CRTs) assess whether a variable x is predictive of another variable y, having observed covariates z. CRTs require fitting a large number of predictive models, which is often computationally intractable. Existing solutions to reduce the cost of CRTs typically split the dataset into a train and test portion, or rely on heuristics for interactions, both of which lead to a loss in power. We propose the decoupled independence test (DIET), an algorithm that avoids both of these issues by leveraging marginal independence statistics to test conditional independence relationships. DIET tests the marginal independence of two random variables: Fx|z(x | z) and Fy|z(y | z) where F·|z(· | z) is a conditional cumulative distribution function (CDF) for the distribution p(· | z). These variables are termed “information residuals.” We give sufficient conditions for DIET to achieve finite sample type-1 error control and power greater than the type-1 error rate. We then prove that when using the mutual information between the information residuals as a test statistic, DIET yields the most powerful conditionally valid test. Finally, we show DIET achieves higher power than other tractable CRTs on several synthetic and real benchmarks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10343-10367
Number of pages25
JournalProceedings of Machine Learning Research
StatePublished - 2023
Event26th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, AISTATS 2023 - Valencia, Spain
Duration: Apr 25 2023Apr 27 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Statistics and Probability


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