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Double-Win Quant: Aggressively Winning Robustness of Quantized Deep Neural Networks via Random Precision Training and Inference

Yonggan Fu · Qixuan Yu · Meng Li · Vikas Chandra · Yingyan Lin

Keywords: [ Algorithms ] [ Adversarial Examples ]


Quantization is promising in enabling powerful yet complex deep neural networks (DNNs) to be deployed into resource constrained platforms. However, quantized DNNs are vulnerable to adversarial attacks unless being equipped with sophisticated techniques, leading to a dilemma of struggling between DNNs' efficiency and robustness. In this work, we demonstrate a new perspective regarding quantization's role in DNNs' robustness, advocating that quantization can be leveraged to largely boost DNNs’ robustness, and propose a framework dubbed Double-Win Quant that can boost the robustness of quantized DNNs over their full precision counterparts by a large margin. Specifically, we for the first time identify that when an adversarially trained model is quantized to different precisions in a post-training manner, the associated adversarial attacks transfer poorly between different precisions. Leveraging this intriguing observation, we further develop Double-Win Quant integrating random precision inference and training to further reduce and utilize the poor adversarial transferability, enabling an aggressive ``win-win" in terms of DNNs' robustness and efficiency. Extensive experiments and ablation studies consistently validate Double-Win Quant's effectiveness and advantages over state-of-the-art (SOTA) adversarial training methods across various attacks/models/datasets. Our codes are available at:

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