Revisiting Adversarial Risk

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Arun Sai Suggala, Adarsh Prasad, Vaishnavh Nagarajan, Pradeep Ravikumar ;
Proceedings of Machine Learning Research, PMLR 89:2331-2339, 2019.

Abstract

Recent works on adversarial perturbations show that there is an inherent trade-off between standard test accuracy and adversarial accuracy. Specifically, they show that no classifier can simultaneously be robust to adversarial perturbations and achieve high standard test accuracy. However, this is contrary to the standard notion that on tasks such as image classification, humans are robust classifiers with low error rate. In this work, we show that the main reason behind this confusion is the inaccurate definition of adversarial perturbation that is used in the literature. To fix this issue, we propose a slight, yet important modification to the existing definition of adversarial perturbation. Based on the modified definition, we show that there is no trade-off between adversarial and standard accuracies; there exist classifiers that are robust and achieve high standard accuracy. We further study several properties of this new definition of adversarial risk and its relation to the existing definition.

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