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Self-ensemble Adversarial Training for Improved Robustness

Hongjun Wang · Yisen Wang


Keywords: [ adversarial training ] [ adversarial example ]


Due to numerous breakthroughs in real-world applications brought by machine intelligence, deep neural networks (DNNs) are widely employed in critical applications. However, predictions of DNNs are easily manipulated with imperceptible adversarial perturbations, which impedes the further deployment of DNNs and may result in profound security and privacy implications. By incorporating adversarial samples into the training data pool, adversarial training is the strongest principled strategy against various adversarial attacks among all sorts of defense methods. Recent works mainly focus on developing new loss functions or regularizers, attempting to find the unique optimal point in the weight space. But none of them taps the potentials of classifiers obtained from standard adversarial training, especially states on the searching trajectory of training. In this work, we are dedicated to the weight states of models through the training process and devise a simple but powerful \emph{Self-Ensemble Adversarial Training} (SEAT) method for yielding a robust classifier by averaging weights of history models. This considerably improves the robustness of the target model against several well known adversarial attacks, even merely utilizing the naive cross-entropy loss to supervise. We also discuss the relationship between the ensemble of predictions from different adversarially trained models and the prediction of weight-ensembled models, as well as provide theoretical and empirical evidence that the proposed self-ensemble method provides a smoother loss landscape and better robustness than both individual models and the ensemble of predictions from different classifiers. We further analyze a subtle but fatal issue in the general settings for the self-ensemble model, which causes the deterioration of the weight-ensembled method in the late phases.

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