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Evaluations and Methods for Explanation through Robustness Analysis

Cheng-Yu Hsieh
Chih-Kuan Yeh
Xuanqing Liu
Pradeep Ravikumar
Cho-Jui Hsieh
Google Scholar


Among multiple ways of interpreting a machine learning model, measuring the importance of a set of features tied to a prediction is probably one of the most intuitive ways to explain a model. In this paper, we establish the link between a set of features to a prediction with a new evaluation criterion, robustness analysis, which measures the minimum distortion distance of adversarial perturbation. By measuring the tolerance level for an adversarial attack, we can extract a set of features that provides the most robust support for a prediction, and also can extract a set of features that contrasts the current prediction to a target class by setting a targeted adversarial attack. By applying this methodology to various prediction tasks across multiple domains, we observe the derived explanations are indeed capturing the significant feature set qualitatively and quantitatively.