Leveraging Unlabeled Data to Predict Out-of-Distribution PerformanceDownload PDF

09 Oct 2021, 14:49 (modified: 05 Dec 2021, 15:25)NeurIPS 2021 Workshop DistShift PosterReaders: Everyone
Keywords: Distribution Shift, OOD error prediction, Deep Learning
TL;DR: Given only labeled source data and unlabeled target data, we proposed a simple method ATC to predict target accuracy. We also explore the foundations, proving that, in general, identifying accuracy is as hard as identifying the optimal predictor.
Abstract: Real-world machine learning deployments are characterized by mismatches between the source (training) and target (test) distributions that may cause performance drops. In this work, we investigate methods for predicting the target domain accuracy using only labeled source data and unlabeled target data. We propose Average Thresholded Confidence (ATC), a practical method that learns a \emph{threshold} on the model's confidence, predicting accuracy as the fraction of unlabeled examples for which model confidence exceeds that threshold. ATC outperforms previous methods across several model architectures, types of distribution shifts (e.g., due to synthetic corruptions, dataset reproduction, or novel subpopulations), and datasets (\textsc{Wilds}, ImageNet, \breeds, CIFAR, and MNIST). In our experiments, ATC estimates target performance $2\text{--}4\times$ more accurately than prior methods. We also explore the theoretical foundations of the problem, proving that, in general, identifying the accuracy is just as hard as identifying the optimal predictor and thus, the efficacy of any method rests upon (perhaps unstated) assumptions on the nature of the shift. Finally, analyzing our method on some toy distributions, we provide insights concerning when it works.
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