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Explaining the decisions of machine learning algorithms

Being both statistician and machine learning practitioner, I have always been interested in combining the predictive power of (black box) machine learning algorithms and the interpretability of statistical models.

I thought the only way to combine predictive power and interpretability is by using methods that are somewhat in the middle between 'easy to understand' and 'flexible enough', like decision trees or the RuleFit algorithm or, additionally, by using techniques like partial dependency plots to understand the influence of single features. Then I read the paper "Why Should I Trust You" Explaining the Predictions of Any Classifier [1], which offers a really decent alternative for explaining decisions made by black boxes.

What is LIME? The authors propose LIME, an algorithm for Local Interpretable Model-agnostic Explanations. LIME can explain why a black box algorithm assigned a specific classification/prediction to one datapoint (image/text/tabular data) b…
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My first deep learning steps with Google and Udacity

I did my first steps in deep learning by taking the deep learning course at Udacity.

Deep learning is a hot topic. Deep neural networks can classify images, describe scenes, translate text and do so much more. It's great that Google and Udacity offer this course which helped me getting started with learning about deep learning.

How does the course work? The course consists of dozens 1-2 minute videos and assignments accompanying the videos.

Well, actually it's the other way round: The assignments are the heart of the course and the videos just give you the basic understanding you need to get started building networks. There are no exams.

The course covers basic neural networks, softmax, stochastic gradient descent, backpropagation, ReLU units, hidden layers, regularization, dropout, convolutional networks, recurrent networks, LSTM cells and more. Building deep neural networks is a bit like playing Legos and the course shows you the building bricks and teaches you how to use th…