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Oral 1 Track 4: Social Aspects of Machine Learning

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Mon 1 May 1:00 - 1:10 PDT

In-Person Oral presentation / top 25% paper
Quantifying Memorization Across Neural Language Models

Nicholas Carlini · Daphne Ippolito · Matthew Jagielski · Katherine Lee · Florian Tramer · Chiyuan Zhang

Large language models (LMs) have been shown to memorize parts of their training data, and when prompted appropriately, they will emit the memorized training data verbatim. This is undesirable because memorization violates privacy (exposing user data), degrades utility (repeated easy-to-memorize text is often low quality), and hurts fairness (some texts are memorized over others).We describe three log-linear relationships that quantify the degree to which LMs emit memorized training data. Memorization significantly grows as we increase (1) the capacity of a model, (2) the number of times an example has been duplicated, and (3) the number of tokens of context used to prompt the model. Surprisingly, we find the situation becomes complicated when generalizing these results across model families. On the whole, we find that memorization in LMs is more prevalent than previously believed and will likely get worse as models continues to scale, at least without active mitigations.

Mon 1 May 1:10 - 1:20 PDT

In-Person Oral presentation / top 25% paper
Human-Guided Fair Classification for Natural Language Processing

Florian Eddie Dorner · Momchil Peychev · Nikola Konstantinov · Naman Goel · Elliott Ash · Martin Vechev

Text classifiers have promising applications in high-stake tasks such as resume screening and content moderation. These classifiers must be fair and avoid discriminatory decisions by being invariant to perturbations of sensitive attributes such as gender or ethnicity. However, there is a gap between human intuition about these perturbations and the formal similarity specifications capturing them. While existing research has started to address this gap, current methods are based on hardcoded word replacements, resulting in specifications with limited expressivity or ones that fail to fully align with human intuition (e.g., in cases of asymmetric counterfactuals). This work proposes novel methods for bridging this gap by discovering expressive and intuitive individual fairness specifications. We show how to leverage unsupervised style transfer and GPT-3's zero-shot capabilities to automatically generate expressive candidate pairs of semantically similar sentences that differ along sensitive attributes. We then validate the generated pairs via an extensive crowdsourcing study, which confirms that a lot of these pairs align with human intuition about fairness in the context of toxicity classification. Finally, we show how limited amounts of human feedback can be leveraged to learn a similarity specification that can be used to train downstream fairness-aware models.

Mon 1 May 1:20 - 1:30 PDT

In-Person Oral presentation / top 25% paper
Is Adversarial Training Really a Silver Bullet for Mitigating Data Poisoning?

Rui Wen · Zhengyu Zhao · Zhuoran Liu · Michael Backes · Tianhao Wang · Yang Zhang

Indiscriminate data poisoning can decrease the clean test accuracy of a deep learning model by slightly perturbing its training samples.There is a consensus that such poisons can hardly harm adversarially-trained (AT) models when the adversarial training budget is no less than the poison budget, i.e., $\epsilon_\mathrm{adv}\geq\epsilon_\mathrm{poi}$. This consensus, however, is challenged in this paper based on our new attack strategy that induces \textit{entangled features} (EntF). The existence of entangled features makes the poisoned data become less useful for training a model, no matter if AT is applied or not. We demonstrate that for attacking a CIFAR-10 AT model under a reasonable setting with $\epsilon_\mathrm{adv}=\epsilon_\mathrm{poi}=8/255$, our EntF yields an accuracy drop of $13.31\%$, which is $7\times$ better than existing methods and equal to discarding $83\%$ training data. We further show the generalizability of EntF to more challenging settings, e.g., higher AT budgets, partial poisoning, unseen model architectures, and stronger (ensemble or adaptive) defenses. We finally provide new insights into the distinct roles of non-robust vs. robust features in poisoning standard vs. AT models and demonstrate the possibility of using a hybrid attack to poison standard and AT models simultaneously. Our code is available at~\url{}.

Mon 1 May 1:30 - 1:40 PDT

In-Person Oral presentation / top 5% paper
Is the Performance of My Deep Network Too Good to Be True? A Direct Approach to Estimating the Bayes Error in Binary Classification

Takashi Ishida · Ikko Yamane · Nontawat Charoenphakdee · Gang Niu · Masashi Sugiyama

There is a fundamental limitation in the prediction performance that a machine learning model can achieve due to the inevitable uncertainty of the prediction target. In classification problems, this can be characterized by the Bayes error, which is the best achievable error with any classifier. The Bayes error can be used as a criterion to evaluate classifiers with state-of-the-art performance and can be used to detect test set overfitting. We propose a simple and direct Bayes error estimator, where we just take the mean of the labels that show \emph{uncertainty} of the class assignments. Our flexible approach enables us to perform Bayes error estimation even for weakly supervised data. In contrast to others, our method is model-free and even instance-free. Moreover, it has no hyperparameters and gives a more accurate estimate of the Bayes error than several baselines empirically. Experiments using our method suggest that recently proposed deep networks such as the Vision Transformer may have reached, or is about to reach, the Bayes error for benchmark datasets. Finally, we discuss how we can study the inherent difficulty of the acceptance/rejection decision for scientific articles, by estimating the Bayes error of the ICLR papers from 2017 to 2023.

Mon 1 May 1:40 - 1:50 PDT

In-Person Oral presentation / top 25% paper
UNICORN: A Unified Backdoor Trigger Inversion Framework

Zhenting Wang · Kai Mei · Juan Zhai · Shiqing Ma

The backdoor attack, where the adversary uses inputs stamped with triggers (e.g., a patch) to activate pre-planted malicious behaviors, is a severe threat to Deep Neural Network (DNN) models. Trigger inversion is an effective way of identifying backdoor models and understanding embedded adversarial behaviors. A challenge of trigger inversion is that there are many ways of constructing the trigger. Existing methods cannot generalize to various types of triggers by making certain assumptions or attack-specific constraints. The fundamental reason is that existing work does not formally define the trigger and the inversion problem. This work formally defines and analyzes the trigger and the inversion problem. Then, it proposes a unified framework to invert backdoor triggers based on the formalization of triggers and the identified inner behaviors of backdoor models from our analysis. Our prototype UNICORN is general and effective in inverting backdoor triggers in DNNs. The code can be found at

Mon 1 May 1:50 - 2:00 PDT

In-Person Oral presentation / top 25% paper
Canary in a Coalmine: Better Membership Inference with Ensembled Adversarial Queries

Yuxin Wen · Arpit Bansal · hamid kazemi · Eitan Borgnia · Micah Goldblum · Jonas Geiping · Tom Goldstein

As industrial applications are increasingly automated by machine learning models, enforcing personal data ownership and intellectual property rights requires tracing training data back to their rightful owners. Membership inference algorithms approach this problem by using statistical techniques to discern whether a target sample was included in a model's training set. However, existing methods only utilize the unaltered target sample or simple augmentations of the target to compute statistics. Such a sparse sampling of the model's behavior carries little information, leading to poor inference capabilities. In this work, we use adversarial tools to directly optimize for queries that are discriminative and diverse. Our improvements achieve significantly more accurate membership inference than existing methods, especially in offline scenarios and in the low false-positive regime which is critical in legal settings.

Mon 1 May 2:00 - 2:10 PDT

In-Person Oral presentation / top 25% paper
Learning to Estimate Shapley Values with Vision Transformers

Ian Covert · Chanwoo Kim · Su-In Lee

Transformers have become a default architecture in computer vision, but understanding what drives their predictions remains a challenging problem. Current explanation approaches rely on attention values or input gradients, but these provide a limited view of a model’s dependencies. Shapley values offer a theoretically sound alternative, but their computational cost makes them impractical for large, high-dimensional models. In this work, we aim to make Shapley values practical for vision transformers (ViTs). To do so, we first leverage an attention masking approach to evaluate ViTs with partial information, and we then develop a procedure to generate Shapley value explanations via a separate, learned explainer model. Our experiments compare Shapley values to many baseline methods (e.g., attention rollout, GradCAM, LRP), and we find that our approach provides more accurate explanations than existing methods for ViTs.

Mon 1 May 2:10 - 2:20 PDT

In-Person Oral presentation / top 25% paper
Provable Defense Against Geometric Transformations

Rem Yang · Jacob Laurel · Sasa Misailovic · Gagandeep Singh

Geometric image transformations that arise in the real world, such as scaling and rotation, have been shown to easily deceive deep neural networks (DNNs). Hence, training DNNs to be certifiably robust to these perturbations is critical. However, no prior work has been able to incorporate the objective of deterministic certified robustness against geometric transformations into the training procedure, as existing verifiers are exceedingly slow. To address these challenges, we propose the first provable defense for deterministic certified geometric robustness. Our framework leverages a novel GPU-optimized verifier that can certify images between 60$\times$ to 42,600$\times$ faster than existing geometric robustness verifiers, and thus unlike existing works, is fast enough for use in training. Across multiple datasets, our results show that networks trained via our framework consistently achieve state-of-the-art deterministic certified geometric robustness and clean accuracy. Furthermore, for the first time, we verify the geometric robustness of a neural network for the challenging, real-world setting of autonomous driving.