Detection as Regression: Certified Object Detection with Median Smoothing

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Ping-yeh Chiang, Michael Curry, Ahmed Abdelkader, Aounon Kumar, John Dickerson, Tom Goldstein


Despite the vulnerability of object detectors to adversarial attacks, very few defenses are known to date. While adversarial training can improve the empirical robustness of image classifiers, a direct extension to object detection is very expensive. This work is motivated by recent progress on certified classification by randomized smoothing. We start by presenting a reduction from object detection to a regression problem. Then, to enable certified regression, where standard mean smoothing fails, we propose median smoothing, which is of independent interest. We obtain the first model-agnostic, training-free, and certified defense for object detection against $\ell_2$-bounded attacks.