Gradients as a Measure of Uncertainty in Neural Networks

18 Aug 2020  ·  Jinsol Lee, Ghassan AlRegib ·

Despite tremendous success of modern neural networks, they are known to be overconfident even when the model encounters inputs with unfamiliar conditions. Detecting such inputs is vital to preventing models from making naive predictions that may jeopardize real-world applications of neural networks. In this paper, we address the challenging problem of devising a simple yet effective measure of uncertainty in deep neural networks. Specifically, we propose to utilize backpropagated gradients to quantify the uncertainty of trained models. Gradients depict the required amount of change for a model to properly represent given inputs, thus providing a valuable insight into how familiar and certain the model is regarding the inputs. We demonstrate the effectiveness of gradients as a measure of model uncertainty in applications of detecting unfamiliar inputs, including out-of-distribution and corrupted samples. We show that our gradient-based method outperforms state-of-the-art methods by up to 4.8% of AUROC score in out-of-distribution detection and 35.7% in corrupted input detection.

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