Explaining Convolutional Neural Networks through Attribution-Based Input Sampling and Block-Wise Feature Aggregation


  • Sam Sattarzadeh University of Toronto
  • Mahesh Sudhakar University of Toronto
  • Anthony Lem University of Toronto
  • Shervin Mehryar University of Toronto
  • Konstantinos N Plataniotis UofT
  • Jongseong Jang LG AI Research
  • Hyunwoo Kim LG AI Research
  • Yeonjeong Jeong LG AI Research
  • Sangmin Lee LG AI Research
  • Kyunghoon Bae LG AI Research




Accountability, Interpretability & Explainability


As an emerging field in Machine Learning, Explainable AI (XAI) has been offering remarkable performance in interpreting the decisions made by Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs). To achieve visual explanations for CNNs, methods based on class activation mapping and randomized input sampling have gained great popularity. However, the attribution methods based on these techniques provide lower-resolution and blurry explanation maps that limit their explanation power. To circumvent this issue, visualization based on various layers is sought. In this work, we collect visualization maps from multiple layers of the model based on an attribution-based input sampling technique and aggregate them to reach a fine-grained and complete explanation. We also propose a layer selection strategy that applies to the whole family of CNN-based models, based on which our extraction framework is applied to visualize the last layers of each convolutional block of the model. Moreover, we perform an empirical analysis of the efficacy of derived lower-level information to enhance the represented attributions. Comprehensive experiments conducted on shallow and deep models trained on natural and industrial datasets, using both ground-truth and model-truth based evaluation metrics validate our proposed algorithm by meeting or outperforming the state-of-the-art methods in terms of explanation ability and visual quality, demonstrating that our method shows stability regardless of the size of objects or instances to be explained.




How to Cite

Sattarzadeh, S., Sudhakar, M., Lem, A., Mehryar, S., Plataniotis, K. N., Jang, J., Kim, H., Jeong, Y., Lee, S., & Bae, K. (2021). Explaining Convolutional Neural Networks through Attribution-Based Input Sampling and Block-Wise Feature Aggregation. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 35(13), 11639-11647. https://doi.org/10.1609/aaai.v35i13.17384



AAAI Technical Track on Philosophy and Ethics of AI