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  1. Feature attributions and counterfactual explanations are popular approaches to explain a ML model. The former assigns an importance score to each input feature, while the latter provides input examples with minimal changes to alter the model's predictions. To unify these approaches, we provide an interpretation based on the actual causality framework and present two key results in terms of their use. First, we present a method to generate feature attribution explanations from a set of counterfactual examples. These feature attributions convey how important a feature is to changing the classification outcome of a model, especially on whether a subset ofmore »features is necessary and/or sufficient for that change, which attribution-based methods are unable to provide. Second, we show how counterfactual examples can be used to evaluate the goodness of an attribution-based explanation in terms of its necessity and sufficiency. As a result, we highlight the complimentary of these two approaches. Our evaluation on three benchmark datasets --- Adult-Income, LendingClub, and German-Credit --- confirms the complimentary. Feature attribution methods like LIME and SHAP and counterfactual explanation methods like Wachter et al. and DiCE often do not agree on feature importance rankings. In addition, by restricting the features that can be modified for generating counterfactual examples, we find that the top-k features from LIME or SHAP are often neither necessary nor sufficient explanations of a model's prediction. Finally, we present a case study of different explanation methods on a real-world hospital triage problem.« less
  2. Post-hoc explanations of machine learning models are crucial for people to understand and act on algorithmic predictions. An intriguing class of explanations is through counterfactuals, hypothetical examples that show people how to obtain a different prediction. We posit that effective counterfactual explanations should satisfy two properties: feasibility of the counterfactual actions given user context and constraints, and diversity among the counterfactuals presented. To this end, we propose a framework for generating and evaluating a diverse set of counterfactual explanations based on determinantal point processes. To evaluate the actionability of counterfactuals, we provide metrics that enable comparison of counterfactual-based methods tomore »other local explanation methods. We further address necessary tradeoffs and point to causal implications in optimizing for counterfactuals. Our experiments on four real-world datasets show that our framework can generate a set of counterfactuals that are diverse and well approximate local decision boundaries, outperforming prior approaches to generating diverse counterfactuals. We provide an implementation of the framework at https://github.com/microsoft/DiCE.« less