Skip to yearly menu bar Skip to main content


Interpreting Robust Optimization via Adversarial Influence Functions

Zhun Deng · Cynthia Dwork · Jialiang Wang · Linjun Zhang

Keywords: [ Adversarial Examples ] [ Convex Optimization ] [ Robust Statistics and Machine Learning ] [ Statistical Learning Theory ] [ Trustworthy Machine Learning ]


Robust optimization has been widely used in nowadays data science, especially in adversarial training. However, little research has been done to quantify how robust optimization changes the optimizers and the prediction losses comparing to standard training. In this paper, inspired by the influence function in robust statistics, we introduce the Adversarial Influence Function (AIF) as a tool to investigate the solution produced by robust optimization. The proposed AIF enjoys a closed-form and can be calculated efficiently. To illustrate the usage of AIF, we apply it to study model sensitivity -- a quantity defined to capture the change of prediction losses on the natural data after implementing robust optimization. We use AIF to analyze how model complexity and randomized smoothing affect the model sensitivity with respect to specific models. We further derive AIF for kernel regressions, with a particular application to neural tangent kernels, and experimentally demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed AIF. Lastly, the theories of AIF will be extended to distributional robust optimization.

Chat is not available.