Adversarial Training with Complementary Labels: On the Benefit of Gradually Informative Attacks

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

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Jianan Zhou, Jianing Zhu, Jingfeng ZHANG, Tongliang Liu, Gang Niu, Bo Han, Masashi Sugiyama


Adversarial training (AT) with imperfect supervision is significant but receives limited attention. To push AT towards more practical scenarios, we explore a brand new yet challenging setting, i.e., AT with complementary labels (CLs), which specify a class that a data sample does not belong to. However, the direct combination of AT with existing methods for CLs results in consistent failure, but not on a simple baseline of two-stage training. In this paper, we further explore the phenomenon and identify the underlying challenges of AT with CLs as intractable adversarial optimization and low-quality adversarial examples. To address the above problems, we propose a new learning strategy using gradually informative attacks, which consists of two critical components: 1) Warm-up Attack (Warm-up) gently raises the adversarial perturbation budgets to ease the adversarial optimization with CLs; 2) Pseudo-Label Attack (PLA) incorporates the progressively informative model predictions into a corrected complementary loss. Extensive experiments are conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of our method on a range of benchmarked datasets. The code is publicly available at: