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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Statistically Consistent Saliency Estimation - Dr. Barut

Biostatistics Branch Seminar Series

February 5, 2020 | 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

NCI Shady Grove 6E032/034 Rockville, Maryland

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Emre Barut, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Statistics
George Washington University


The use of deep learning for a wide range of data problems has increased the need for understanding and diagnosing these models, and deep learning interpretation techniques have become an essential tool for data analysts. Although numerous model interpretation methods have been proposed in recent years, most of these procedures are based on heuristics with little or no theoretical guarantees. In this work, we propose a statistical framework for saliency estimation for black box computer vision models. We build a model-agnostic estimation procedure that is statistically consistent and passes the saliency checks of Adebayo et al. (2018). Our method requires solving a linear program, whose solution can be efficiently computed in polynomial time. Through our theoretical analysis, we establish an upper bound on the number of model evaluations needed to recover the region of importance with high probability, and build a new perturbation scheme for estimation of local gradients that is shown to be more efficient than the commonly used random perturbation schemes. Validity of the new method is demonstrated through sensitivity analysis.

**The mission of the Biostatistics Branch (BB) is to be an outstanding biostatistics unit that can contribute to the understanding of cancer etiology and to improve public health by the development and application of quantitative methods.  The BB Investigators develop statistical methods and data resources to strengthen observational studies, intervention trials, and laboratory investigations of cancer.**