When are Non-parametric Methods Robust?

ICML 2020

When are Non-parametric Methods Robust?

Jul 12, 2020
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A growing body of research has shown that many classifiers are susceptible to {\em{adversarial examples}} -- small strategic modifications to test inputs that lead to misclassification. In this work, we study general non-parametric methods, with a view towards understanding when they are robust to these modifications. We establish general conditions under which non-parametric methods are r-consistent -- in the sense that they converge to optimally robust and accurate classifiers in the large sample limit. Concretely, our results show that when data is well-separated, nearest neighbors and kernel classifiers are r-consistent, while histograms are not. For general data distributions, we prove that preprocessing by Adversarial Pruning (Yang et. al., 2019) -- that makes data well-separated -- followed by nearest neighbors or kernel classifiers also leads to r-consistency. Speakers: Robi Bhattacharjee, Kamalika Chaudhuri

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