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A Closer Look at the Adversarial Robustness of Deep Equilibrium Models

Zonghan Yang · Tianyu Pang · Yang Liu

Hall J (level 1) #213


Deep equilibrium models (DEQs) refrain from the traditional layer-stacking paradigm and turn to find the fixed point of a single layer. DEQs have achieved promising performance on different applications with featured memory efficiency. At the same time, the adversarial vulnerability of DEQs raises concerns. Several works propose to certify robustness for monotone DEQs. However, limited efforts are devoted to studying empirical robustness for general DEQs. To this end, we observe that an adversarially trained DEQ requires more forward steps to arrive at the equilibrium state, or even violates its fixed-point structure. Besides, the forward and backward tracks of DEQs are misaligned due to the black-box solvers. These facts cause gradient obfuscation when applying the ready-made attacks to evaluate or adversarially train DEQs. Given this, we develop approaches to estimate the intermediate gradients of DEQs and integrate them into the attacking pipelines. Our approaches facilitate fully white-box evaluations and lead to effective adversarial defense for DEQs. Extensive experiments on CIFAR-10 validate the adversarial robustness of DEQs competitive with deep networks of similar sizes.

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