Rademacher Complexity for Adversarially Robust Generalization

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Dong Yin, Ramchandran Kannan, Peter Bartlett ;
Proceedings of the 36th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 97:7085-7094, 2019.

Abstract

Many machine learning models are vulnerable to adversarial attacks; for example, adding adversarial perturbations that are imperceptible to humans can often make machine learning models produce wrong predictions with high confidence; moreover, although we may obtain robust models on the training dataset via adversarial training, in some problems the learned models cannot generalize well to the test data. In this paper, we focus on $\ell_\infty$ attacks, and study the adversarially robust generalization problem through the lens of Rademacher complexity. For binary linear classifiers, we prove tight bounds for the adversarial Rademacher complexity, and show that the adversarial Rademacher complexity is never smaller than its natural counterpart, and it has an unavoidable dimension dependence, unless the weight vector has bounded $\ell_1$ norm, and our results also extend to multi-class linear classifiers; in addition, for (nonlinear) neural networks, we show that the dimension dependence in the adversarial Rademacher complexity also exists. We further consider a surrogate adversarial loss for one-hidden layer ReLU network and prove margin bounds for this setting. Our results indicate that having $\ell_1$ norm constraints on the weight matrices might be a potential way to improve generalization in the adversarial setting. We demonstrate experimental results that validate our theoretical findings.

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