Confidence and Dispersity Speak: Characterizing Prediction Matrix for Unsupervised Accuracy Estimation
Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 202:7658-7674, 2023.
This work aims to assess how well a model performs under distribution shifts without using labels. While recent methods study prediction confidence, this work reports prediction dispersity is another informative cue. Confidence reflects whether the individual prediction is certain; dispersity indicates how the overall predictions are distributed across all categories. Our key insight is that a well-performing model should give predictions with high confidence and high dispersity. That is, we need to consider both properties so as to make more accurate estimates. To this end, we use nuclear norm that has been shown to be effective in characterizing both properties. Extensive experiments validate the effectiveness of nuclear norm for various models (e.g., ViT and ConvNeXt), different datasets (e.g., ImageNet and CUB-200), and diverse types of distribution shifts (e.g., style shift and reproduction shift). We show that nuclear norm is more accurate and robust in accuracy estimation than existing methods. Furthermore, we validate the feasibility of other measurements (e.g., mutual information maximization) for characterizing dispersity and confidence. Lastly, we investigate the limitation of the nuclear norm, study its improved variant under severe class imbalance, and discuss potential directions.