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Improving KernelSHAP: Practical Shapley Value Estimation Using Linear Regression

Ian Covert · Su-In Lee

Keywords: [ Ethics and Safety ] [ Interpretable Statistics and Machine Learning ]


The Shapley value concept from cooperative game theory has become a popular technique for interpreting ML models, but efficiently estimating these values remains challenging, particularly in the model-agnostic setting. Here, we revisit the idea of estimating Shapley values via linear regression to understand and improve upon this approach. By analyzing the original KernelSHAP alongside a newly proposed unbiased version, we develop techniques to detect its convergence and calculate uncertainty estimates. We also find that the original version incurs a negligible increase in bias in exchange for significantly lower variance, and we propose a variance reduction technique that further accelerates the convergence of both estimators. Finally, we develop a version of KernelSHAP for stochastic cooperative games that yields fast new estimators for two global explanation methods.

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