Making Attention Mechanisms More Robust and Interpretable with Virtual Adversarial Training


Although attention mechanisms have become fundamental components of deep learning models, they are vulnerable to perturbations, which may degrade the prediction performance and model interpretability. Adversarial training (AT) for attention mechanisms has successfully reduced such drawbacks by considering adversarial perturbations. However, this technique requires label information, and thus, its use is limited to supervised settings. In this study, we explore the concept of incorporating virtual AT (VAT) into the attention mechanisms, by which adversarial perturbations can be computed even from unlabeled data. To realize this approach, we propose two general training techniques, namely VAT for attention mechanisms (Attention VAT) and ``interpretable’’ VAT for attention mechanisms (Attention iVAT), which extend AT for attention mechanisms to a semi-supervised setting. In particular, Attention iVAT focuses on the differences in attention; thus, it can efficiently learn clearer attention and improve model interpretability, even with unlabeled data. Empirical experiments based on six public datasets revealed that our techniques provide better prediction performance than conventional AT-based as well as VAT-based techniques, and stronger agreement with evidence that is provided by humans in detecting important words in sentences. Moreover, our proposal offers these advantages without needing to add the careful selection of unlabeled data. That is, even if the model using our VAT-based technique is trained on unlabeled data from a source other than the target task, both the prediction performance and model interpretability can be improved.

Applied Intelligence
arXiv Springer SCImago
SCImago Journal & Country Rank
Shunsuke Kitada, Ph.D.
Shunsuke Kitada, Ph.D.
Research Scientist working on Vision & Language with Deep Learning

My research interests include deep learning-based natural language processing, computer vision, medical image processing, and computational advertising.