Accepted Papers

Interpretable and Steerable Sequence Learning via Prototypes

Yao Ming (The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology);Panpan Xu (Bosch Research North America);Huamin Qu (The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology);Liu Ren (Bosch Research North America);


One of the major challenges in machine learning nowadays is to provide predictions with not only high accuracy but also user-friendly explanations. Although in recent years we have witnessed increasingly popular use of deep neural networks for sequence modeling, it is still challenging to explain the rationales behind the model outputs, which is essential for building trust and supporting the domain experts to validate, critique and refine the model.

We propose ProSeNet, an interpretable and steerable deep sequence model with natural explanations derived from case-based reasoning. The prediction is obtained by comparing the inputs to a few prototypes, which are exemplar cases in the problem domain. For better interpretability, we define several criteria for constructing the prototypes, including simplicity, diversity, and sparsity and propose the learning objective and the optimization procedure. ProSeNet also provides a user-friendly approach to model steering: domain experts without any knowledge on the underlying model or parameters can easily incorporate their intuition and experience by manually refining the prototypes.We conduct experiments on a wide range of real-world applications, including predictive diagnostics for automobiles, ECG, and protein sequence classification and sentiment analysis on texts. The result shows that ProSeNet can achieve accuracy on par with state-of-the-art deep learning models. We also evaluate the interpretability of the results with concrete case studies. Finally, through user study on Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), we demonstrate that the model selects high-quality prototypes which align well with human knowledge and can be interactively refined for better interpretability without loss of performance.

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