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Understanding Global Feature Contributions Through Additive Importance Measures

by   Ian Covert, et al.

Understanding the inner workings of complex machine learning models is a long-standing problem, with recent research focusing primarily on local interpretability. To assess the role of individual input features in a global sense, we propose a new feature importance method, Shapley Additive Global importancE (SAGE), a model-agnostic measure of feature importance based on the predictive power associated with each feature. SAGE relates to prior work through the novel framework of additive importance measures, a perspective that unifies numerous other feature importance methods and shows that only SAGE properly accounts for complex feature interactions. We define SAGE using the Shapley value from cooperative game theory, which leads to numerous intuitive and desirable properties. Our experiments apply SAGE to eight datasets, including MNIST and breast cancer subtype classification, and demonstrate its advantages through quantitative and qualitative evaluations.


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