Singapore Institute of Technology
Pahde_Optimizing_Explanations_by_Network_Canonization_and_Hyperparameter_Search_CVPRW_2023_paper.pdf (2.8 MB)

Optimizing Explanations by Network Canonization and Hyperparameter Search

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conference contribution
posted on 2023-11-08, 06:15 authored by Frederik Pahde, Galip Ümit Yolcu, Alexander BinderAlexander Binder, Wojciech Samek, Sebastian Lapuschkin

Explainable AI (XAI) is slowly becoming a key component for many AI applications. Rule-based and modified backpropagation XAI approaches however often face challenges when being applied to modern model architectures including innovative layer building blocks, which is caused by two reasons. Firstly, the high flexibility of rule-based XAI methods leads to numerous potential parameterizations. Secondly, many XAI methods break the implementation-invariance axiom because they struggle with certain model components, e.g., BatchNorm layers. The latter can be addressed with model canonization, which is the process of re-structuring the model to disregard problematic components without changing the underlying function. While model canonization is straightforward for simple architectures (e.g., VGG, ResNet), it can be challenging for more complex and highly interconnected models (e.g., DenseNet). Moreover, there is only little quantifiable evidence that model canonization is beneficial for XAI. In this work, we propose canonizations for currently relevant model blocks applicable to popular deep neural network architectures, including VGG, ResNet, EfficientNet, DenseNets, as well as Relation Networks. We further suggest a XAI evaluation framework with which we quantify and compare the effects of model canonization for various XAI methods in image classification tasks on the Pascal VOC and ILSVRC2017 datasets, as well as for Visual Question Answering using CLEVR-XAI. Moreover, addressing the former issue outlined above, we demonstrate how our evaluation framework can be applied to perform hyperparameter search for XAI methods to optimize the quality of explanations. Code is available on


Journal/Conference/Book title

2023 IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 17-24 June 2023, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

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  • Post-print

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  • Magazine article

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