Introducing a differentiable measure of pointwise shared information

Abdullah Makkeh, Aaron J. Gutknecht, Michael Wibral

Partial information decomposition (PID) of the multivariate mutual information describes the distinct ways in which a set of source variables contains information about a target variable. The groundbreaking work of Williams and Beer has shown that this decomposition cannot be determined from classic information theory without making additional assumptions, and several candidate measures have been proposed, often drawing on principles from related fields such as decision theory. None of these measures is differentiable with respect to the underlying probability mass function. We here present a novel measure that satisfies this property, emerges solely from information-theoretic principles, and has the form of a local mutual information. We show how the measure can be understood from the perspective of exclusions of probability mass, a principle that is foundational to the original definition of the mutual information by Fano. Since our measure is well-defined for individual realizations of the random variables it lends itself for example to local learning in artificial neural networks. We also show that it has a meaningful M\"{o}bius inversion on a redundancy lattice and obeys a target chain rule. We give an operational interpretation of the measure based on the decisions that an agent should take if given only the shared information.

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