Sparsity Winning Twice: Better Robust Generalization from More Efficient TrainingDownload PDF


Sep 29, 2021 (edited Nov 21, 2021)ICLR 2022 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
  • Abstract: Recent studies demonstrate the deep networks, even robustified by the state-of-the-art adversarial training (AT), still suffer from large robust generalization gaps, in addition to the much more expensive training costs than standard training. In this paper, we investigate this intriguing problem from a new perspective, i.e., $\textit{injecting appropriate forms of sparsity}$ during adversarial training. We introduce two alternatives for sparse adversarial training: (i) $\textit{static sparsity}$, by leveraging recent results from the lottery ticket hypothesis to identify critical sparse subnetworks arising from the early training; (ii) $\textit{dynamic sparsity}$, by allowing the sparse subnetwork to adaptively adjust its connectivity pattern (while sticking to the same sparsity ratio) throughout training. We find both static and dynamic sparse methods to yield win-win: substantially shrinking the robust generalization gap and alleviating the robust overfitting, meanwhile significantly saving training and inference FLOPs. Extensive experiments validate our proposals with multiple network architectures on diverse datasets, including CIFAR-10/100 and Tiny-ImageNet. For example, our methods reduce robust generalization gap and overfitting by $34.44\%$ and $4.02\%$, with comparable robust/standard accuracy boosts and $87.83\%$/$87.82\%$ training/inference FLOPs savings on CIFAR-100 with ResNet-18. Besides, our approaches can be organically combined with existing regularizers, establishing new state-of-the-art results in AT. All codes are included.
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