Data-Efficient Double-Win Lottery Tickets from Robust Pre-training

Tianlong Chen · Zhenyu Zhang · Sijia Liu · Yang Zhang · Shiyu Chang · Zhangyang “Atlas” Wang

Room 307
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Pre-training serves as a broadly adopted starting point for transfer learning on various downstream tasks. Recent investigations of lottery tickets hypothesis (LTH) demonstrate such enormous pre-trained models can be replaced by extremely sparse subnetworks (a.k.a. matching subnetworks) without sacrificing transferability. However, practical security-crucial applications usually pose more challenging requirements beyond standard transfer, which also demand these subnetworks to overcome adversarial vulnerability. In this paper, we formulate a more rigorous concept, Double-Win Lottery Tickets, in which a located subnetwork from a pre-trained model can be independently transferred on diverse downstream tasks, to reach BOTH the same standard and robust generalization, under BOTH standard and adversarial training regimes, as the full pre-trained model can do. We comprehensively examine various pre-training mechanisms and find that robust pre-training tends to craft sparser double-win lottery tickets with superior performance over the standard counterparts. For example, on downstream CIFAR-10/100 datasets, we identify double-win matching subnetworks with the standard, fast adversarial, and adversarial pre-training from ImageNet, at 89.26%/73.79%, 89.26%/79.03%, and 91.41%/83.22% sparsity, respectively. Furthermore, we observe the obtained double-win lottery tickets can be more data-efficient to transfer, under practical data-limited (e.g., 1% and 10%) downstream schemes. Our results show that the benefits from robust pre-training are amplified by the lottery ticket scheme, as well as the data-limited transfer setting. Codes are available at

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