Vanilla Feature Distillation for Improving the Accuracy-Robustness Trade-Off in Adversarial Training

5 Jun 2022  ·  Guodong Cao, Zhibo Wang, Xiaowei Dong, Zhifei Zhang, Hengchang Guo, Zhan Qin, Kui Ren ·

Adversarial training has been widely explored for mitigating attacks against deep models. However, most existing works are still trapped in the dilemma between higher accuracy and stronger robustness since they tend to fit a model towards robust features (not easily tampered with by adversaries) while ignoring those non-robust but highly predictive features. To achieve a better robustness-accuracy trade-off, we propose the Vanilla Feature Distillation Adversarial Training (VFD-Adv), which conducts knowledge distillation from a pre-trained model (optimized towards high accuracy) to guide adversarial training towards higher accuracy, i.e., preserving those non-robust but predictive features. More specifically, both adversarial examples and their clean counterparts are forced to be aligned in the feature space by distilling predictive representations from the pre-trained/clean model, while previous works barely utilize predictive features from clean models. Therefore, the adversarial training model is updated towards maximally preserving the accuracy as gaining robustness. A key advantage of our method is that it can be universally adapted to and boost existing works. Exhaustive experiments on various datasets, classification models, and adversarial training algorithms demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed method.

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