Neural networks do not readily provide an explanation of the knowledge stored in their weights as part of their information processing. Until recently, neural networks were considered to be black boxes, with the knowledge stored in their weights not readily accessible. Since then, research has resulted in a number of algorithms for extracting knowledge in symbolic form from trained neural networks. This article addresses the extraction of knowledge in symbolic form from recurrent neural networks trained to behave like deterministic finite-state automata (DFAs). To date, methods used to extract knowledge from such networks have relied on the hypothesis that networks' states tend to cluster and that clusters of network states correspond to DFA states. The computational complexity of such a cluster analysis has led to heuristics that either limit the number of clusters that may form during training or limit the exploration of the space of hidden recurrent state neurons. These limitations, while necessary, may lead to decreased fidelity, in which the extracted knowledge may not model the true behavior of a trained network, perhaps not even for the training set. The method proposed here uses a polynomial time, symbolic learning algorithm to infer DFAs solely from the observation of a trained network's input-output behavior. Thus, this method has the potential to increase the fidelity of the extracted knowledge.

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