Using MaxSAT for Efficient Explanations of Tree Ensembles


  • Alexey Ignatiev Monash University, Australia
  • Yacine Izza University of Toulouse, France
  • Peter J. Stuckey Monash University, Australia
  • Joao Marques-Silva IRIT, CNRS, France



Constraint Satisfaction And Optimization (CSO), Machine Learning (ML), Philosophy And Ethics Of AI (PEAI)


Tree ensembles (TEs) denote a prevalent machine learning model that do not offer guarantees of interpretability, that represent a challenge from the perspective of explainable artificial intelligence. Besides model agnostic approaches, recent work proposed to explain TEs with formally-defined explanations, which are computed with oracles for propositional satisfiability (SAT) and satisfiability modulo theories. The computation of explanations for TEs involves linear constraints to express the prediction. In practice, this deteriorates scalability of the underlying reasoners. Motivated by the inherent propositional nature of TEs, this paper proposes to circumvent the need for linear constraints and instead employ an optimization engine for pure propositional logic to efficiently handle the prediction. Concretely, the paper proposes to use a MaxSAT solver and exploit the objective function to determine a winning class. This is achieved by devising a propositional encoding for computing explanations of TEs. Furthermore, the paper proposes additional heuristics to improve the underlying MaxSAT solving procedure. Experimental results obtained on a wide range of publicly available datasets demonstrate that the proposed MaxSAT-based approach is either on par or outperforms the existing reasoning-based explainers, thus representing a robust and efficient alternative for computing formal explanations for TEs.




How to Cite

Ignatiev, A., Izza, Y., Stuckey, P. J., & Marques-Silva, J. (2022). Using MaxSAT for Efficient Explanations of Tree Ensembles. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 36(4), 3776-3785.



AAAI Technical Track on Constraint Satisfaction and Optimization