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Adversarially Robust Generalization Requires More Data
Ludwig Schmidt · Shibani Santurkar · Dimitris Tsipras · Kunal Talwar · Aleksander Madry

Tue Dec 04 01:15 PM -- 01:20 PM (PST) @ Room 517 CD

Machine learning models are often susceptible to adversarial perturbations of their inputs. Even small perturbations can cause state-of-the-art classifiers with high "standard" accuracy to produce an incorrect prediction with high confidence. To better understand this phenomenon, we study adversarially robust learning from the viewpoint of generalization. We show that already in a simple natural data model, the sample complexity of robust learning can be significantly larger than that of "standard" learning. This gap is information theoretic and holds irrespective of the training algorithm or the model family. We complement our theoretical results with experiments on popular image classification datasets and show that a similar gap exists here as well. We postulate that the difficulty of training robust classifiers stems, at least partially, from this inherently larger sample complexity.

Author Information

Ludwig Schmidt (MIT)
Shibani Santurkar (MIT)
Dimitris Tsipras (MIT)
Kunal Talwar (Google)
Aleksander Madry (MIT)

Aleksander Madry is the NBX Associate Professor of Computer Science in the MIT EECS Department and a principal investigator in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He received his PhD from MIT in 2011 and, prior to joining the MIT faculty, he spent some time at Microsoft Research New England and on the faculty of EPFL. Aleksander's research interests span algorithms, continuous optimization, science of deep learning and understanding machine learning from a robustness perspective. His work has been recognized with a number of awards, including an NSF CAREER Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, an ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award Honorable Mention, and 2018 Presburger Award.

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