Skip to Main Content
The production of relatively large and opaque weight matrices by error backpropagation learning has inspired substantial research on how to extract symbolic human-readable rules from trained networks. While considerable progress has been made, the results at present are still relatively limited, in part due to the large numbers of symbolic rules that can be generated. Most past work to address this issue has focused on progressively more powerful methods for rule extraction (RE) that try to minimize the number of weights and/or improve rule expressiveness. In contrast, here we take a different approach in which we modify the error backpropagation training process so that it learns a different hidden layer representation of input patterns than would normally occur. Using five publicly available datasets, we show via computational experiments that the modified learning method helps to extract fewer rules without increasing individual rule complexity and without decreasing classification accuracy. We conclude that modifying error backpropagation so that it more effectively separates learned pattern encodings in the hidden layer is an effective way to improve contemporary RE methods.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2011