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Workshop: New Frontiers in Adversarial Machine Learning

Saliency Guided Adversarial Training for Tackling Generalization Gap with Applications to Medical Imaging Classification System

Xin Li · Yao Qiang · CHNEGYIN LI · Sijia Liu · Dongxiao Zhu


This work tackles a central machine learning problem of performance degradation on out-of-distribution (OOD) test sets. The problem is particularly salient in medical imaging based diagnosis system that appears to be accurate but fails when tested in new hospitals/datasets. Recent studies indicate the system might learn shortcut and non-relevant features instead of generalizable features, so-called `good features'. We hypothesize that adversarial training can eliminate shortcut features whereas Saliency guided training can filter out non-relevant features; both are nuisance features accounting for the performance degradation on OOD test sets. With that, we formulate a novel model training scheme for the deep neural network to learn good features for classification and/or detection tasks ensuring a consistent generalization performance on OOD test sets. The experimental results qualitatively and quantitatively demonstrate the superior performance of our method using the benchmark CXR image data sets on classification tasks.

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