Proceedings of the IEEE - Popular - Samek

Proceedings of the IEEE - Popular - Samek

Explaining Deep Neural Networks and Beyond: A Review of Methods and Applications

Published in March 2021



W. Samek, G. Montavon, S. Lapuschkin, C. J. Anders, and K.-R. Müller


With the broader and highly successful usage of machine learning (ML) in industry and the sciences, there has been a growing demand for explainable artificial intelligence (XAI). Interpretability and explanation methods for gaining a better understanding of the problem-solving abilities and strategies of nonlinear ML, in particular, deep neural networks, are, therefore, receiving increased attention. In this work, we aim to: 1) provide a timely overview of this active emerging field, with a focus on “post hoc” explanations, and explain its theoretical foundations; 2) put interpretability algorithms to a test both from a theory and comparative evaluation perspective using extensive simulations; 3) outline best practice aspects, i.e., how to best include interpretation methods into the standard usage of ML; and 4) demonstrate successful usage of XAI in a representative selection of application scenarios. Finally, we discuss challenges and possible future directions of this exciting foundational field of ML.