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Unlocking Feature Visualization for Deep Network with MAgnitude Constrained Optimization

Thomas FEL · Thibaut Boissin · Victor Boutin · Agustin PICARD · Paul Novello · Julien Colin · Drew Linsley · Tom ROUSSEAU · Remi Cadene · Lore Goetschalckx · Laurent Gardes · Thomas Serre

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #1908
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[ Paper [ Poster [ OpenReview
Wed 13 Dec 8:45 a.m. PST — 10:45 a.m. PST


Feature visualization has gained significant popularity as an explainability method, particularly after the influential work by Olah et al. in 2017. Despite its success, its widespread adoption has been limited due to issues in scaling to deeper neural networks and the reliance on tricks to generate interpretable images. Here, we describe MACO, a simple approach to address these shortcomings. It consists in optimizing solely an image's phase spectrum while keeping its magnitude constant to ensure that the generated explanations lie in the space of natural images. Our approach yields significantly better results -- both qualitatively and quantitatively -- unlocking efficient and interpretable feature visualizations for state-of-the-art neural networks. We also show that our approach exhibits an attribution mechanism allowing to augment feature visualizations with spatial importance. Furthermore, we enable quantitative evaluation of feature visualizations by introducing 3 metrics: transferability, plausibility, and alignment with natural images. We validate our method on various applications and we introduce a website featuring MACO visualizations for all classes of the ImageNet dataset, which will be made available upon acceptance. Overall, our study unlocks feature visualizations for the largest, state-of-the-art classification networks without resorting to any parametric prior image model, effectively advancing a field that has been stagnating since 2017 (Olah et al, 2017).

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