Detection of data drift and outliers affecting machine learning model performance over time

A trained ML model is deployed on another `test' dataset where target feature values (labels) are unknown. Drift is distribution change between the training and deployment data, which is concerning if model performance changes. For a cat/dog image classifier, for instance, drift during deployment could be rabbit images (new class) or cat/dog images with changed characteristics (change in distribution). We wish to detect these changes but can't measure accuracy without deployment data labels. We instead detect drift indirectly by nonparametrically testing the distribution of model prediction confidence for changes. This generalizes our method and sidesteps domain-specific feature representation. We address important statistical issues, particularly Type-1 error control in sequential testing, using Change Point Models (CPMs; see Adams and Ross 2012). We also use nonparametric outlier methods to show the user suspicious observations for model diagnosis, since the before/after change confidence distributions overlap significantly. In experiments to demonstrate robustness, we train on a subset of MNIST digit classes, then insert drift (e.g., unseen digit class) in deployment data in various settings (gradual/sudden changes in the drift proportion). A novel loss function is introduced to compare the performance (detection delay, Type-1 and 2 errors) of a drift detector under different levels of drift class contamination.

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