On the Complexity of SHAP-Score-Based Explanations: Tractability via Knowledge Compilation and Non-Approximability Results

16 Apr 2021  ·  Marcelo Arenas, Pablo Barceló, Leopoldo Bertossi, Mikaël Monet ·

In Machine Learning, the $\mathsf{SHAP}$-score is a version of the Shapley value that is used to explain the result of a learned model on a specific entity by assigning a score to every feature. While in general computing Shapley values is an intractable problem, we prove a strong positive result stating that the $\mathsf{SHAP}$-score can be computed in polynomial time over deterministic and decomposable Boolean circuits. Such circuits are studied in the field of Knowledge Compilation and generalize a wide range of Boolean circuits and binary decision diagrams classes, including binary decision trees and Ordered Binary Decision Diagrams (OBDDs). We also establish the computational limits of the SHAP-score by observing that computing it over a class of Boolean models is always polynomially as hard as the model counting problem for that class. This implies that both determinism and decomposability are essential properties for the circuits that we consider. It also implies that computing $\mathsf{SHAP}$-scores is intractable as well over the class of propositional formulas in DNF. Based on this negative result, we look for the existence of fully-polynomial randomized approximation schemes (FPRAS) for computing $\mathsf{SHAP}$-scores over such class. In contrast to the model counting problem for DNF formulas, which admits an FPRAS, we prove that no such FPRAS exists for the computation of $\mathsf{SHAP}$-scores. Surprisingly, this negative result holds even for the class of monotone formulas in DNF. These techniques can be further extended to prove another strong negative result: Under widely believed complexity assumptions, there is no polynomial-time algorithm that checks, given a monotone DNF formula $\varphi$ and features $x,y$, whether the $\mathsf{SHAP}$-score of $x$ in $\varphi$ is smaller than the $\mathsf{SHAP}$-score of $y$ in $\varphi$.

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