[edit]

# RetrievalGuard: Provably Robust 1-Nearest Neighbor Image Retrieval

*Proceedings of the 39th International Conference on Machine Learning*, PMLR 162:24266-24279, 2022.

#### Abstract

Recent research works have shown that image retrieval models are vulnerable to adversarial attacks, where slightly modified test inputs could lead to problematic retrieval results. In this paper, we aim to design a provably robust image retrieval model which keeps the most important evaluation metric Recall@1 invariant to adversarial perturbation. We propose the first 1-nearest neighbor (NN) image retrieval algorithm, RetrievalGuard, which is provably robust against adversarial perturbations within an $\ell_2$ ball of calculable radius. The challenge is to design a provably robust algorithm that takes into consideration the 1-NN search and the high-dimensional nature of the embedding space. Algorithmically, given a base retrieval model and a query sample, we build a smoothed retrieval model by carefully analyzing the 1-NN search procedure in the high-dimensional embedding space. We show that the smoothed retrieval model has bounded Lipschitz constant and thus the retrieval score is invariant to $\ell_2$ adversarial perturbations. Experiments on on image retrieval tasks validate the robustness of our RetrievalGuard method.