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Statistical inference using machine learning and classical techniques based on accumulated local effects (ALE)
2023, arXiv
accumulated local effects (ALE)
machine learning
interpretable machine learning (IML)
explainable artificial intelligence (XAI)
statistical inference
confidence intervals
effect size
Accumulated Local Effects (ALE) is a model-agnostic approach for global explanations of the results of black-box machine learning (ML) algorithms. There are at least three challenges with conducting statistical inference based on ALE: ensuring the reliability of ALE analyses, especially in the context of small datasets; intuitively characterizing a variable's overall effect in ML; and making robust inferences from ML data analysis. In response, we introduce innovative tools and techniques for statistical inference using ALE, establishing bootstrapped confidence intervals tailored to dataset size and introducing ALE effect size measures that intuitively indicate effects on both the outcome variable scale and a normalized scale. Furthermore, we demonstrate how to use these tools to draw reliable statistical inferences, reflecting the flexible patterns ALE adeptly highlights, with implementations available in the 'ale' package in R. This work propels the discourse on ALE and its applicability in ML and statistical analysis forward, offering practical solutions to prevailing challenges in the field.
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