Interpreting Convolutional Sequence Model by Learning Local Prototypes with Adaptation Regularization

Publication Date: 11/5/2021

Event: 30th ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM 2021)

Reference: pp. 1-10, 2021

Authors: Jingchao Ni, NEC Laboratories America, Inc.; Wei Cheng, NEC Laboratories America, Inc.; Bo Zong, Salesforce; Zhengzhang Chen, NEC Laboratories America, Inc.; Dongjin Song, NEC Laboratories America, Inc.; Yanchi Liu, NEC Laboratories America, Inc.; Xuchao Zhang, NEC Laboratories America, Inc.; Haifeng Chen, NEC Laboratories America, Inc.

Abstract: In many high-stakes applications of machine learning models, outputting only predictions or providing statistical confidence is usually insufficient to gain trust from end users, who often prefer a transparent reasoning paradigm. Despite the recent encouraging developments on deep networks for sequential data modeling, due to the highly recursive functions, the underlying rationales of their predictions are difficult to explain. Thus, in this paper, we aim to develop a sequence modeling approach that explains its own predictions by breaking input sequences down into evidencing segments (i.e., sub-sequences) in its reasoning. To this end, we build our model upon convolutional neural networks, which, in their vanilla forms, associates local receptive fields with outputs in an obscure manner. To unveil it, we resort to case-based reasoning, and design prototype modules whose units (i.e., prototypes) resemble exemplar segments in the problem domain. Each prediction is obtained by combining the comparisons between the prototypes and the segments of an input. To enhance interpretability, we propose a training objective that delicately adapts the distribution of prototypes to the data distribution in latent spaces, and design an algorithm to map prototypes to human-understandable segments. Through extensive experiments in a variety of domains, we demonstrate that our model can achieve high interpretability generally, together with a competitive accuracy to the state-of-the-art approaches.

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