- Keywords: Data Augmentation, Out-of-distribution, Robustness, Generalization, Computer Vision, Corruption
- TL;DR: Simple augmentation method overcomes robustness/accuracy trade-off observed in literature and opens questions about the effect of training distribution on out-of-distribution generalization.
- Abstract: Deploying machine learning systems in the real world requires both high accuracy on clean data and robustness to naturally occurring corruptions. While architectural advances have led to improved accuracy, building robust models remains challenging, involving major changes in training procedure and datasets. Prior work has argued that there is an inherent trade-off between robustness and accuracy, as exemplified by standard data augmentation techniques such as Cutout, which improves clean accuracy but not robustness, and additive Gaussian noise, which improves robustness but hurts accuracy. We introduce Patch Gaussian, a simple augmentation scheme that adds noise to randomly selected patches in an input image. Models trained with Patch Gaussian achieve state of the art on the CIFAR-10 and ImageNet Common Corruptions benchmarks while also maintaining accuracy on clean data. We find that this augmentation leads to reduced sensitivity to high frequency noise (similar to Gaussian) while retaining the ability to take advantage of relevant high frequency information in the image (similar to Cutout). We show it can be used in conjunction with other regularization methods and data augmentation policies such as AutoAugment. Finally, we find that the idea of restricting perturbations to patches can also be useful in the context of adversarial learning, yielding models without the loss in accuracy that is found with unconstrained adversarial training.