An Algorithmic Information Calculus for Causal Discovery and Reprogramming Systems [article]

Hector Zenil, Narsis A. Kiani, Francesco Marabita, Yue Deng, Szabolcs Elias, Angelika Schmidt, Gordon Ball, Jesper Tegnér
<span title="2018-04-05">2018</span> <i > arXiv </i> &nbsp; <span class="release-stage" >pre-print</span>
We demonstrate that the algorithmic information content of a system is deeply connected to its potential dynamics, thus affording an avenue for moving systems in the information-theoretic space and controlling them in the phase space. To this end we performed experiments and validated the results on (1) a very large set of small graphs, (2) a number of larger networks with different topologies, and (3) biological networks from a widely studied and validated genetic network (e.coli) as well as
more &raquo; ... a significant number of differentiating (Th17) and differentiated human cells from high quality databases (Harvard's CellNet) with results conforming to experimentally validated biological data. Based on these results we introduce a conceptual framework, a model-based interventional calculus and a reprogrammability measure with which to steer, manipulate, and reconstruct the dynamics of non- linear dynamical systems from partial and disordered observations. The method consists in finding and applying a series of controlled interventions to a dynamical system to estimate how its algorithmic information content is affected when every one of its elements are perturbed. The approach represents an alternative to numerical simulation and statistical approaches for inferring causal mechanistic/generative models and finding first principles. We demonstrate the framework's capabilities by reconstructing the phase space of some discrete dynamical systems (cellular automata) as case study and reconstructing their generating rules. We thus advance tools for reprogramming artificial and living systems without full knowledge or access to the system's actual kinetic equations or probability distributions yielding a suite of universal and parameter-free algorithms of wide applicability ranging from causation, dimension reduction, feature selection and model generation.
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