Trade-off Between Efficiency and Consistency for Removal-based Explanations

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Yifan Zhang, Haowei He, Zhiquan Tan, Yang Yuan


In the current landscape of explanation methodologies, most predominant approaches, such as SHAP and LIME, employ removal-based techniques to evaluate the impact of individual features by simulating various scenarios with specific features omitted. Nonetheless, these methods primarily emphasize efficiency in the original context, often resulting in general inconsistencies. In this paper, we demonstrate that such inconsistency is an inherent aspect of these approaches by establishing the Impossible Trinity Theorem, which posits that interpretability, efficiency, and consistency cannot hold simultaneously. Recognizing that the attainment of an ideal explanation remains elusive, we propose the utilization of interpretation error as a metric to gauge inefficiencies and inconsistencies. To this end, we present two novel algorithms founded on the standard polynomial basis, aimed at minimizing interpretation error. Our empirical findings indicate that the proposed methods achieve a substantial reduction in interpretation error, up to 31.8 times lower when compared to alternative techniques.