18th AIAI 2022, 17 - 20 June 2022, Greece

Feature Selection Methods for Uplift Modeling and Heterogeneous Treatment Effect

Zhenyu Zhao, Yumin Zhang, Totte Harinen, Mike Yung


  Uplift modeling is a causal learning technique that estimates subgroup-level treatment effects. It is commonly used in industry and elsewhere for tasks such as targeting ads. In a typical setting, uplift models can take thousands of features as inputs, which is costly and results in problems such as overfitting and poor model interpretability. Consequently, there is a need to select a subset of the most important features for modeling. However, traditional methods for doing feature selection are not fit for the task because they are designed for standard machine learning models whose target is importantly different from uplift models. To address this, this paper introduces a set of feature selection methods explicitly designed for uplift modeling, drawing inspiration from statistics and information theory. Empirical evaluations are conducted on the proposed methods on publicly available datasets, demonstrating the advantages of the proposed methods compared to traditional feature selection. We make the proposed methods publicly available as a part of the CausalML open-source package.  

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