Disentangled Attribution Curves for Interpreting Random Forests and Boosted Trees

18 May 2019  ·  Summer Devlin, Chandan Singh, W. James Murdoch, Bin Yu ·

Tree ensembles, such as random forests and AdaBoost, are ubiquitous machine learning models known for achieving strong predictive performance across a wide variety of domains. However, this strong performance comes at the cost of interpretability (i.e. users are unable to understand the relationships a trained random forest has learned and why it is making its predictions). In particular, it is challenging to understand how the contribution of a particular feature, or group of features, varies as their value changes. To address this, we introduce Disentangled Attribution Curves (DAC), a method to provide interpretations of tree ensemble methods in the form of (multivariate) feature importance curves. For a given variable, or group of variables, DAC plots the importance of a variable(s) as their value changes. We validate DAC on real data by showing that the curves can be used to increase the accuracy of logistic regression while maintaining interpretability, by including DAC as an additional feature. In simulation studies, DAC is shown to out-perform competing methods in the recovery of conditional expectations. Finally, through a case-study on the bike-sharing dataset, we demonstrate the use of DAC to uncover novel insights into a dataset.

PDF Abstract


  Add Datasets introduced or used in this paper

Results from the Paper

  Submit results from this paper to get state-of-the-art GitHub badges and help the community compare results to other papers.