Batch Normalization is a Cause of Adversarial Vulnerability

May 17, 2019 ICML 2019 Workshop Deep Phenomena Blind Submission readers: everyone
  • Keywords: batch normalization, adversarial examples, robustness
  • TL;DR: Batch normalization reduces adversarial robustness, as well as general robustness in many cases, particularly to noise corruptions.
  • Abstract: Batch normalization (batch norm) is often used in an attempt to stabilize and accelerate training in deep neural networks. In many cases it indeed decreases the number of parameter updates required to achieve low training error. However, it also reduces robustness to small adversarial input perturbations and noise by double-digit percentages, as we show on five standard datasets. Furthermore, substituting weight decay for batch norm is sufficient to nullify the relationship between adversarial vulnerability and the input dimension. Our work is consistent with a mean-field analysis that found that batch norm causes exploding gradients.
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