Explainability Methods for Graph Convolutional Neural Networks

Phillip E. Pope, Soheil Kolouri, Mohammad Rostami, Charles E. Martin, Heiko Hoffmann; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2019, pp. 10772-10781


With the growing use of graph convolutional neural networks (GCNNs) comes the need for explainability. In this paper, we introduce explainability methods for GCNNs. We develop the graph analogues of three prominent explainability methods for convolutional neural networks: contrastive gradient-based (CG) saliency maps, Class Activation Mapping (CAM), and Excitation Back-Propagation (EB) and their variants, gradient-weighted CAM (Grad-CAM) and contrastive EB (c-EB). We show a proof-of-concept of these methods on classification problems in two application domains: visual scene graphs and molecular graphs. To compare the methods, we identify three desirable properties of explanations: (1) their importance to classification, as measured by the impact of occlusions, (2) their contrastivity with respect to different classes, and (3) their sparseness on a graph. We call the corresponding quantitative metrics fidelity, contrastivity, and sparsity and evaluate them for each method. Lastly, we analyze the salient subgraphs obtained from explanations and report frequently occurring patterns.

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author = {Pope, Phillip E. and Kolouri, Soheil and Rostami, Mohammad and Martin, Charles E. and Hoffmann, Heiko},
title = {Explainability Methods for Graph Convolutional Neural Networks},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
month = {June},
year = {2019}