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cartesian genetic programming, neural network, symbolic regression


Many recent studies focus on developing mechanisms to explain the black-box behaviors of neural networks (NNs). However, little work has been done to extract the potential hidden semantics (mathematical representation) of a neural network. A succinct and explicit mathematical representation of a NN model could improve the understanding and interpretation of its behaviors. To address this need, we propose a novel symbolic regression method for neural works (called SRNet) to discover the mathematical expressions of a NN. SRNet creates a Cartesian genetic programming (NNCGP) to represent the hidden semantics of a single layer in a NN. It then leverages a multi-chromosome NNCGP to represent hidden semantics of all layers of the NN. The method uses a (1+πœ†) evolutionary strategy (called MNNCGP-ES) to extract the final mathematical expressions of all layers in the NN. Experiments on 12 symbolic regression benchmarks and 5 classification benchmarks show that SRNet not only can reveal the complex relationships between each layer of a NN but also can extract the mathematical representation of the whole NN. Compared with LIME and MAPLE, SRNet has higher interpolation accuracy and trends to approximate the real model on the practical dataset.