Using the Tsetlin Machine to Learn Human-Interpretable Rules for High-Accuracy Text Categorization with Medical Applications

Geir Thore Berge, Ole-Christoffer Granmo, Tor Oddbjorn Tveit, Morten Goodwin, Lei Jiao, Bernt Viggo Matheussen
Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research, University of Agder, Grimstad, Norway
arXiv:1809.04547 [cs.LG], (12 Sep 2018)


   title={Using the Tsetlin Machine to Learn Human-Interpretable Rules for High-Accuracy Text Categorization with Medical Applications},

   author={Berge, Geir Thore and Granmo, Ole-Christoffer and Tveit, Tor Oddbjorn and Goodwin, Morten and Jiao, Lei and Matheussen, Bernt Viggo},






Medical applications challenge today’s text categorization techniques by demanding both high accuracy and ease-of-interpretation. Although deep learning has provided a leap ahead in accuracy, this leap comes at the sacrifice of interpretability. To address this accuracy-interpretability challenge, we here introduce, for the first time, a text categorization approach that leverages the recently introduced Tsetlin Machine. In all brevity, we represent the terms of a text as propositional variables. From these, we capture categories using simple propositional formulae, such as: if "rash" and "reaction" and "penicillin" then Allergy. The Tsetlin Machine learns these formulae from a labelled text, utilizing conjunctive clauses to represent the particular facets of each category. Indeed, even the absence of terms (negated features) can be used for categorization purposes. Our empirical results are quite conclusive. The Tsetlin Machine either performs on par with or outperforms all of the evaluated methods on both the 20 Newsgroups and IMDb datasets, as well as on a non-public clinical dataset. On average, the Tsetlin Machine delivers the best recall and precision scores across the datasets. The GPU implementation of the Tsetlin Machine is further 8 times faster than the GPU implementation of the neural network. We thus believe that our novel approach can have a significant impact on a wide range of text analysis applications, forming a promising starting point for deeper natural language understanding with the Tsetlin Machine.
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