Can multi-label classification networks know what they don’t know?

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2021)

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Haoran Wang, Weitang Liu, Alex Bocchieri, Yixuan Li


Estimating out-of-distribution (OOD) uncertainty is a major challenge for safely deploying machine learning models in the open-world environment. Improved methods for OOD detection in multi-class classification have emerged, while OOD detection methods for multi-label classification remain underexplored and use rudimentary techniques. We propose JointEnergy, a simple and effective method, which estimates the OOD indicator scores by aggregating label-wise energy scores from multiple labels. We show that JointEnergy can be mathematically interpreted from a joint likelihood perspective. Our results show consistent improvement over previous methods that are based on the maximum-valued scores, which fail to capture joint information from multiple labels. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our method on three common multi-label classification benchmarks, including MS-COCO, PASCAL-VOC, and NUS-WIDE. We show that JointEnergy can reduce the FPR95 by up to 10.05% compared to the previous best baseline, establishing state-of-the-art performance.