Neural Network Robustness Certification with General Activation Functions



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Finding minimum distortion of adversarial examples and thus certifying robustness in neural networks classifiers is known to be a challenging problem. Nevertheless, recently it has been shown to be possible to give a non-trivial certified lower bound of minimum distortion, and some recent progress has been made towards this direction by exploiting the piece-wise linear nature of ReLU activations. However, a generic robustness certification for extit{general} activation functions still remains largely unexplored. To address this issue, in this paper we introduce CROWN, a general framework to certify robustness of neural networks with general activation functions. The novelty in our algorithm consists of bounding a given activation function with linear and quadratic functions, hence allowing it to tackle general activation functions including but not limited to the four popular choices: ReLU, tanh, sigmoid and arctan. In addition, we facilitate the search for a tighter certified lower bound by extit{adaptively} selecting appropriate surrogates for each neuron activation. Experimental results show that CROWN on ReLU networks can notably improve the certified lower bounds compared to the current state-of-the-art algorithm Fast-Lin, while having comparable computational efficiency. Furthermore, CROWN also demonstrates its effectiveness and flexibility on networks with general activation functions, including tanh, sigmoid and arctan.

Please cite our work using the BibTeX below.

title = {Efficient Neural Network Robustness Certification with General Activation Functions},
author = {Zhang, Huan and Weng, Tsui-Wei and Chen, Pin-Yu and Hsieh, Cho-Jui and Daniel, Luca},
booktitle = {Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31},
editor = {S. Bengio and H. Wallach and H. Larochelle and K. Grauman and N. Cesa-Bianchi and R. Garnett},
pages = {4939--4948},
year = {2018},
publisher = {Curran Associates, Inc.},
url = {}
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