Stochastic Activation Pruning for Robust Adversarial Defense

Neural networks are known to be vulnerable to adversarial examples. Carefully chosen perturbations to real images, while imperceptible to humans, induce misclassification and threaten the reliability of deep learning systems in the wild... To guard against adversarial examples, we take inspiration from game theory and cast the problem as a minimax zero-sum game between the adversary and the model. In general, for such games, the optimal strategy for both players requires a stochastic policy, also known as a mixed strategy. In this light, we propose Stochastic Activation Pruning (SAP), a mixed strategy for adversarial defense. SAP prunes a random subset of activations (preferentially pruning those with smaller magnitude) and scales up the survivors to compensate. We can apply SAP to pretrained networks, including adversarially trained models, without fine-tuning, providing robustness against adversarial examples. Experiments demonstrate that SAP confers robustness against attacks, increasing accuracy and preserving calibration. read more

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