Phase Transition from Clean Training to Adversarial Training

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Yue Xing, Qifan Song, Guang Cheng


Adversarial training is one important algorithm to achieve robust machine learning models. However, numerous empirical results show a great performance degradation from clean training to adversarial training (e.g., 90+\% vs 67\% testing accuracy on CIFAR-10 dataset), which does not match the theoretical guarantee delivered by the existing studies. Such a gap inspires us to explore the existence of an (asymptotic) phase transition phenomenon with respect to the attack strength: adversarial training is as well behaved as clean training in the small-attack regime, but there is a sharp transition from clean training to adversarial training in the large-attack regime. We validate this conjecture in linear regression models, and conduct comprehensive experiments in deep neural networks.