Summer Methodology Workshops | Causal Inference with Graphical Models | David Jensen

Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 9:00am to 4:00pm
Wednesday, June 26, 2019 - 9:00am to 4:00pm
Computer Sciences Building Room 142 | UMass Amherst

Description: Inferring causality is central to many quantitative studies in social science.  A large number of analytical methods have been developed to infer causal dependence from observational data, including propensity score matching, instrumental variable designs, interrupted time-series designs, and many others.  Unfortunately, the assumptions and limitations of these methods can be difficult to explain and reason about.  This tutorial introduces participants to causal graphical models, a powerful formalism developed within computer science and statistics that simultaneously provides: 1) a unifying formal framework for understanding and explaining specific methods for causal inference; 2) a practical tool for representing and reasoning about the implications of particular causal models; and 3) powerful algorithmic methods for learning complex causal models from data and reasoning about their implications.  This tutorial assumes only a basic understanding of probability and statistics and no knowledge of programming.  Participants familiar with experimental and quasi-experimental designs will gain a new understanding of the benefits and assumptions of these methods, and participants without that knowledge will learn about multiple methods for inferring causality within a single unifying framework.

Instructor: David Jensen is a Professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  He serves as the Associate Director of the Computational Social Science Institute, an interdisciplinary effort at UMass to study social phenomena using computational tools and concepts.  His current research focuses on machine learning and data science for analyzing large social, technological, and computational systems.  In particular, his work focuses on methods for constructing accurate causal models from observational and experimental data, with applications to social science, fraud detection, security and systems management.  His research is supported by many organizations, including the National Science Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity.

Questions? For more information about this or any of the ISSR Summer Methodology Workshops, please contact ISSR Methodologist Jessica Pearlman (jpearlman@issr.umass.edu).


Registration is now closed for this workshop.

Five College Students and Faculty

  • Five College Undergraduate and Graduate Students…………………………..$150/person
  • Five College Faculty………………………………………………………………....$300/person

Non-Five College Students and Faculty

  • Non-Five College Undergraduate and Graduate Students…………………………..$300/person
  • Non-Five College Faculty………………………………………………………………....$425/person

Registration note: The Five Colleges include: UMass Amherst, Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College. Registration closes for each workshop 2 full business days prior to the start date. Please note: payment of registration does not guarantee a spot in these space-limited workshops. You will receive an email confirming the names of workshops for which your registration has been accepted. If a workshop you have registered for is over-subscribed, you will be refunded and offered placement on a wait-list.. If paying with departmental funds or personal checks, contact Karen Mason (mason@issr.umass.edu).

Cancellation note: In cases where enrollment is 5 or less, we reserve the right to cancel the workshop.  In cases where the registrant cancels prior to the workshop, a full refund will be given with two weeks notice, and 50% refund will be given with one week notice.  We will not be able to refund in cases where registrant does not notify us of cancellation at least one week prior to the beginning date of the workshop.