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Conserve-Update-Revise to Cure Generalization and Robustness Trade-off in Adversarial Training

Shruthi Gowda · Bahram Zonooz · Elahe Arani

Halle B #107
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Tue 7 May 7:30 a.m. PDT — 9:30 a.m. PDT


Adversarial training improves the robustness of neural networks against adversarial attacks, albeit at the expense of the trade-off between standard and robust generalization. To unveil the underlying factors driving this phenomenon, we examine the layer-wise learning capabilities of neural networks during the transition from a standard to an adversarial setting. Our empirical findings demonstrate that selectively updating specific layers while preserving others can substantially enhance the network's learning capacity. We, therefore, propose CURE, a novel training framework that leverages a gradient prominence criterion to perform selective conservation, updating, and revision of weights. Importantly, CURE is designed to be dataset- and architecture-agnostic, ensuring its applicability across various scenarios. It effectively tackles both memorization and overfitting issues, thus enhancing the trade-off between robustness and generalization and additionally, this training approach also aids in mitigating "robust overfitting". Furthermore, our study provides valuable insights into the mechanisms of selective adversarial training and offers a promising avenue for future research.

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