A Systematic Review of Robustness in Deep Learning for Computer Vision: Mind the gap?

1 Dec 2021  ·  Nathan Drenkow, Numair Sani, Ilya Shpitser, Mathias Unberath ·

Deep neural networks for computer vision are deployed in increasingly safety-critical and socially-impactful applications, motivating the need to close the gap in model performance under varied, naturally occurring imaging conditions. Robustness, ambiguously used in multiple contexts including adversarial machine learning, refers here to preserving model performance under naturally-induced image corruptions or alterations. We perform a systematic review to identify, analyze, and summarize current definitions and progress towards non-adversarial robustness in deep learning for computer vision. We find this area of research has received disproportionately less attention relative to adversarial machine learning, yet a significant robustness gap exists that manifests in performance degradation similar in magnitude to adversarial conditions. Toward developing a more transparent definition of robustness, we provide a conceptual framework based on a structural causal model of the data generating process and interpret non-adversarial robustness as pertaining to a model's behavior on corrupted images corresponding to low-probability samples from the unaltered data distribution. We identify key architecture-, data augmentation-, and optimization tactics for improving neural network robustness. This robustness perspective reveals that common practices in the literature correspond to causal concepts. We offer perspectives on how future research may mind this evident and significant non-adversarial robustness gap.

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