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Explaining Anomalies using Denoising Autoencoders for Financial Tabular Data

Timur Sattarov; Dayananda Herurkar; Jörn Hees
arXiv, 9/2022.


Recent advances in Explainable AI (XAI) increased the demand for deployment of safe and interpretable AI models in various industry sectors. Despite the latest success of deep neural networks in a variety of domains, understanding the decision-making process of such complex models still remains a challenging task for domain experts. Especially in the financial domain, merely pointing to an anomaly composed of often hundreds of mixed type columns, has limited value for experts. Hence, in this paper, we propose a framework for explaining anomalies using denoising autoencoders designed for mixed type tabular data. We specifically focus our technique on anomalies that are erroneous observations. This is achieved by localizing individual sample columns (cells) with potential errors and assigning corresponding confidence scores. In addition, the model provides the expected cell value estimates to fix the errors. We evaluate our approach based on three standard public tabular datasets (Credit Default, Adult, IEEE Fraud) and one proprietary dataset (Holdings). We find that denoising autoencoders applied to this task already outperform other approaches in the cell error detection rates as well as in the expected value rates. Additionally, we analyze how a specialized loss designed for cell error detection can further improve these metrics. Our framework is designed for a domain expert to understand abnormal characteristics of an anomaly, as well as to improve in-house data quality management processes.


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