Most ReLU Networks Suffer from $\ell^2$ Adversarial Perturbations

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2020)

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Amit Daniely, Hadas Shacham


We consider ReLU networks with random weights, in which the dimension decreases at each layer. We show that for most such networks, most examples $x$ admit an adversarial perturbation at an Euclidean distance of $O\left(\frac{\|x\|}{\sqrt{d}}\right)$, where $d$ is the input dimension. Moreover, this perturbation can be found via gradient flow, as well as gradient descent with sufficiently small steps. This result can be seen as an explanation to the abundance of adversarial examples, and to the fact that they are found via gradient descent.