Neuron Shapley: Discovering the Responsible Neurons

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Amirata Ghorbani, James Y. Zou


We develop Neuron Shapley as a new framework to quantify the contribution of individual neurons to the prediction and performance of a deep network. By accounting for interactions across neurons, Neuron Shapley is more effective in identifying important filters compared to common approaches based on activation patterns. Interestingly, removing just 30 filters with the highest Shapley scores effectively destroys the prediction accuracy of Inception-v3 on ImageNet. Visualization of these few critical filters provides insights into how the network functions. Neuron Shapley is a flexible framework and can be applied to identify responsible neurons in many tasks. We illustrate additional applications of identifying filters that are responsible for biased prediction in facial recognition and filters that are vulnerable to adversarial attacks. Removing these filters is a quick way to repair models. Computing exact Shapley values is computationally infeasible and therefore sampling-based approximations are used in practice. We introduce a new multi-armed bandit algorithm that is able to efficiently  detect neurons with the largest Shapley value orders of magnitude faster than existing Shapley value approximation methods.