A Statistical Approach to Assessing Neural Network Robustness

Stefan Webb, Tom Rainforth, Yee Whye Teh, M. Pawan Kumar

Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: We present a new approach to assessing the robustness of neural networks based on estimating the proportion of inputs for which a property is violated. Specifically, we estimate the probability of the event that the property is violated under an input model. Our approach critically varies from the formal verification framework in that when the property can be violated, it provides an informative notion of how robust the network is, rather than just the conventional assertion that the network is not verifiable. Furthermore, it provides an ability to scale to larger networks than formal verification approaches. Though the framework still provides a formal guarantee of satisfiability whenever it successfully finds one or more violations, these advantages do come at the cost of only providing a statistical estimate of unsatisfiability whenever no violation is found. Key to the practical success of our approach is an adaptation of multi-level splitting, a Monte Carlo approach for estimating the probability of rare events, to our statistical robustness framework. We demonstrate that our approach is able to emulate formal verification procedures on benchmark problems, while scaling to larger networks and providing reliable additional information in the form of accurate estimates of the violation probability.
  • Keywords: neural network verification, multi-level splitting, formal verification
  • TL;DR: We introduce a statistical approach to assessing neural network robustness that provides an informative notion of how robust a network is, rather than just the conventional binary assertion of whether or not of property is violated.
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