Accepted Papers

Explainable classification of brain networks via contrast subgraphs

Tommaso Lanciano: La Sapienza University of Rome; Francesco Bonchi: Fondazione ISI; Aristides Gionis: KTH Royal Institute of Technology


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Mining human-brain networks to discover patterns that can be used to discriminate between healthy individuals and patients affected by some neurological disorder, is a fundamental task in neuro-science. Learning simple and interpretable models is as important as mere classification accuracy. In this paper we introduce a novel approach for classifying brain networks based on extracting contrast subgraphs, i.e., a set of vertices whose induced subgraphs are dense in one class of graphs and sparse in the other. We formally define the problem and present an algorithmic solution for extracting contrast subgraphs. We then apply our method to a brain-network dataset consisting of children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder and children Typically Developed. Our analysis confirms the interestingness of the discovered patterns, which match background knowledge in the neuro-science literature. Further analysis on other classification tasks confirm the simplicity, soundness, and high explainability of our proposal, which also exhibits superior classification accuracy, to more complex state-of-the-art methods.

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