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On the Impact of Knowledge Distillation for Model Interpretability

Hyeongrok Han · Siwon Kim · Hyun-Soo Choi · Sungroh Yoon

Exhibit Hall 1 #611
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Several recent studies have elucidated why knowledge distillation (KD) improves model performance. However, few have researched the other advantages of KD in addition to its improving model performance. In this study, we have attempted to show that KD enhances the interpretability as well as the accuracy of models. We measured the number of concept detectors identified in network dissection for a quantitative comparison of model interpretability. We attributed the improvement in interpretability to the class-similarity information transferred from the teacher to student models. First, we confirmed the transfer of class-similarity information from the teacher to student model via logit distillation. Then, we analyzed how class-similarity information affects model interpretability in terms of its presence or absence and degree of similarity information. We conducted various quantitative and qualitative experiments and examined the results on different datasets, different KD methods, and according to different measures of interpretability. Our research showed that KD models by large models could be used more reliably in various fields. The code is available at

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