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Publication# Robustness in deep learning: The good (width), the bad (depth), and the ugly (initialization)

Résumé

We study the average robustness notion in deep neural networks in (selected) wide and narrow, deep and shallow, as well as lazy and non-lazy training settings. We prove that in the under-parameterized setting, width has a negative effect while it improves robustness in the over-parameterized setting. The effect of depth closely depends on the initialization and the training mode. In particular, when initialized with LeCun initialization, depth helps robustness with the lazy training regime. In contrast, when initialized with Neural Tangent Kernel (NTK) and He-initialization, depth hurts the robustness. Moreover, under the non-lazy training regime, we demonstrate how the width of a two-layer ReLU network benefits robustness. Our theoretical developments improve the results by Huang et al. [2021], Wu et al. [2021] and are consistent with Bubeck and Sellke [2021], Bubeck et al. [2021].

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This paper provides a theoretical study of deep neural function approximation in reinforcement learning (RL) with the ϵ-greedy exploration under the online setting. This problem setting is motivated by the successful deep Q-networks (DQN) framework that falls in this regime. In this work, we provide an initial attempt on theoretical understanding deep RL from the perspective of function class and neural networks architectures (e.g., width and depth) beyond the ``linear'' regime. To be specific, we focus on the value based algorithm with the ϵ-greedy exploration via deep (and two-layer) neural networks endowed by Besov (and Barron) function spaces, respectively, which aims at approximating an α-smooth Q-function in a d-dimensional feature space. We prove that, with T episodes, scaling the width $m = \widetilde{\mathcal{O}}(T^{\frac{d}{2\alpha + d}})$ and the depth $L=\mathcal{O}(\log T)$ of the neural network for deep RL is sufficient for learning with sublinear regret in Besov spaces. Moreover, for a two layer neural network endowed by the Barron space, scaling the width $\Omega(\sqrt{T})$ is sufficient. To achieve this, the key issue in our analysis is how to estimate the temporal difference error under deep neural function approximation as the ϵ-greedy exploration is not enough to ensure "optimism". Our analysis reformulates the temporal difference error in an $L^2(\mathrm{d}\mu)$-integrable space over a certain averaged measure μ, and transforms it to a generalization problem under the non-iid setting. This might have its own interest in RL theory for better understanding $\epsilon$-greedy exploration in deep RL.

2022In the last decade, deep neural networks have achieved tremendous success in many fields of machine learning.However, they are shown vulnerable against adversarial attacks: well-designed, yet imperceptible, perturbations can make the state-of-the-art deep neural networks output incorrect results.Understanding adversarial attacks and designing algorithms to make deep neural networks robust against these attacks are key steps to building reliable artificial intelligence in real-life applications.In this thesis, we will first formulate the robust learning problem.Based on the notations of empirical robustness and verified robustness, we design new algorithms to achieve both of these types of robustness.Specifically, we investigate the robust learning problem from the optimization perspectives.Compared with classic empirical risk minimization, we show the slow convergence and large generalization gap in robust learning.Our theoretical and numerical analysis indicates that these challenges arise, respectively, from non-smooth loss landscapes and model's fitting hard adversarial instances.Our insights shed some light on designing algorithms for mitigating these challenges.Robust learning has other challenges, such as large model capacity requirements and high computational complexity.To solve the model capacity issue, we combine robust learning with model compression.We design an algorithm to obtain sparse and binary neural networks and make it robust.To decrease the computational complexity, we accelerate the existing adversarial training algorithm and preserve its performance stability.In addition to making models robust, our research provides other benefits.Our methods demonstrate that robust models, compared with non-robust ones, usually utilize input features in a way more similar to the way human beings use them, hence the robust models are more interpretable.To obtain verified robustness, our methods indicate the geometric similarity of the decision boundaries near data points.Our approaches towards reliable artificial intelligence can not only render deep neural networks more robust in safety-critical applications but also make us better aware of how they work.

One of the main goal of Artificial Intelligence is to develop models capable of providing valuable predictions in real-world environments. In particular, Machine Learning (ML) seeks to design such models by learning from examples coming from this same environment. However, the real world is most of the time not static, and the environment in which the model will be used can differ from the one in which it is trained. It is hence desirable to design models that are robust to changes of environments. This encapsulates a large family of topics in ML, such as adversarial robustness, meta-learning, domain adaptation and others, depending on the way the environment is perturbed.In this dissertation, we focus on methods for training models whose performance does not drastically degrade when applied to environments differing from the one the model has been trained in. Various types of environmental changes will be treated, differing in their structure or magnitude. Each setup defines a certain kind of robustness to certain environmental changes, and leads to a certain optimization problem to be solved. We consider 3 different setups, and propose algorithms for solving each associated problem using 3 different types of methods, namely, min-max optimization (Chapter 2), regularization (Chapter 3) and variable selection (Chapter 4).Leveraging the framework of distributionally robust optimization, which phrases the problem of robust training as a min-max optimization problem, we first aim to train robust models by directly solving the associated min-max problem. This is done by exploiting recent work on game theory as well as first-order sampling algorithms based on Langevin dynamics. Using this approach, we propose a method for training robust agents in the scope of Reinforcement Learning.We then treat the case of adversarial robustness, i.e., robustness to small arbitrary perturbation of the model's input. It is known that neural networks trained using classical optimization methods are particularly sensitive to this type of perturbations. The adversarial robustness of a model is tightly connected to its smoothness, which is quantified by its so-called Lipschitz constant. This constant measures how much the model's output changes upon any bounded input perturbation. We hence develop a method to estimate an upper bound on the Lipschitz constant of neural networks via polynomial optimization, which can serve as a robustness certificate against adversarial attacks. We then propose to penalize the Lipschitz constant during training by minimizing the 1-path-norm of the neural network, and we develop an algorithm for solving the resulting regularized problem by efficiently computing the proximal operator of the 1-path-norm term, which is non-smooth and non-convex.Finally, we consider a scenario where the environmental changes can be arbitrary large (as opposed to adversarial robustness), but need to preserve a certain causal structure. Recent works have demonstrated interesting connections between robustness and the use of causal variables. Assuming that certain mechanisms remain invariant under some change of the environment, it has been shown that knowing the underlying causal structure of the data at hand allows to train models that are invariant to such changes. Unfortunately, in many cases, the causal structure is unknown. We thus propose a causal discovery algorithm from observational data in the case of non-linear additive model.