Convergences & Divergences of Causal Inference Across Diff. Fields (19w5063)

Arriving in Banff, Alberta Sunday, November 24 and departing Friday November 29, 2019


Ian Shrier (McGill university)

Jennifer Hill (New York University)

(Université de Montréal)

(McGill University)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "Convergences and Divergences of Causal Inference Across Different Fields (HALF)" workshop in Banff from November 24 to November 29, 2019.

If we want to improve our health, economy, or any other aspect of life, we need to act. But when we study the effects (changes that occur) of our real-life actions, there are usually many other reasons aside from our actions that could have led to the changes that occurred, or may have prevented our actions from having an effect. How do we “control” for these other possibilities to know if our actions were indeed successful? The field of causal inference explores different ways to answer such questions. Over the last 30 years, there have been major advances in causal inference from different perspectives including computer science, economics, statistics and health research. However, much of this work is not being applied, partly because the different fields sometimes appear to be in conflict and to promote different approaches. This has created some confusion among those who are not specialists in these techniques.

The purpose of our 5-day workshop is to bring experts from these different fields together in order to determine 1) how common fundamental beliefs across fields lead to common statistical approaches, 2) which approaches should be recommended for which contexts, 3) which approaches are promising and likely to be ready soon, and 4) which approaches require substantial work before they should be marketed to the wider scientific community. We will present the results of the workshop as part of a book, in a series of articles targeted specifically to statisticians, and a series of articles targeted specifically to applied researchers.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).