Semidefinite relaxations for certifying robustness to adversarial examples

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

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Aditi Raghunathan, Jacob Steinhardt, Percy S. Liang


Despite their impressive performance on diverse tasks, neural networks fail catastrophically in the presence of adversarial inputs—imperceptibly but adversarially perturbed versions of natural inputs. We have witnessed an arms race between defenders who attempt to train robust networks and attackers who try to construct adversarial examples. One promise of ending the arms race is developing certified defenses, ones which are provably robust against all attackers in some family. These certified defenses are based on convex relaxations which construct an upper bound on the worst case loss over all attackers in the family. Previous relaxations are loose on networks that are not trained against the respective relaxation. In this paper, we propose a new semidefinite relaxation for certifying robustness that applies to arbitrary ReLU networks. We show that our proposed relaxation is tighter than previous relaxations and produces meaningful robustness guarantees on three different foreign networks whose training objectives are agnostic to our proposed relaxation.