Explainable Multivariate Time Series Classification: A Deep Neural Network Which Learns To Attend To Important Variables As Well As Informative Time Intervals

Tsung-Yu Hsieh, Suhang Wang, Yiwei Sun, Vasant Honavar

Time series data is prevalent in a wide variety of real-world applications and it calls for trustworthy and explainable models for people to understand and fully trust decisions made by AI solutions. We consider the problem of building explainable classifiers from multi-variate time series data. A key criterion to understand such predictive models involves elucidating and quantifying the contribution of time varying input variables to the classification. Hence, we introduce a novel, modular, convolution-based feature extraction and attention mechanism that simultaneously identifies the variables as well as time intervals which determine the classifier output. We present results of extensive experiments with several benchmark data sets that show that the proposed method outperforms the state-of-the-art baseline methods on multi-variate time series classification task. The results of our case studies demonstrate that the variables and time intervals identified by the proposed method make sense relative to available domain knowledge.

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