Skip to yearly menu bar Skip to main content

Workshop: Workshop on Distribution Shifts: Connecting Methods and Applications

"Why did the Model Fail?": Attributing Model Performance Changes to Distribution Shifts

Haoran Zhang · Harvineet Singh · Marzyeh Ghassemi · Shalmali Joshi


Performance of machine learning models may differ significantly in novel environments compared to during training due to shifts in the underlying data distribution. Attributing performance changes to specific data shifts is critical for identifying sources of model failures and designing stable models. In this work, we design a novel method for attributing performance differences between environments to shifts in the underlying causal mechanisms. We formulate the problem as a cooperative game and derive an importance weighting method for computing the value of a coalition of distributions. The contribution of each distribution to the total performance change is then quantified as its Shapley value. We demonstrate the correctness and utility of our method on two synthetic datasets and two real-world case studies, showing its effectiveness in attributing performance changes to a wide range of distribution shifts.

Chat is not available.