Consistent Non-Parametric Methods for Maximizing Robustness

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Robi Bhattacharjee, Kamalika Chaudhuri


Learning classifiers that are robust to adversarial examples has received a great deal of recent attention. A major drawback of the standard robust learning framework is the imposition of an artificial robustness radius $r$ that applies to all inputs, and ignores the fact that data may be highly heterogeneous. In particular, it is plausible that robustness regions should be larger in some regions of data, and smaller in other. In this paper, we address this limitation by proposing a new limit classifier, called the neighborhood optimal classifier, that extends the Bayes optimal classifier outside its support by using the label of the closest in-support point. We then argue that this classifier maximizes the size of its robustness regions subject to the constraint of having accuracy equal to the Bayes optimal. We then present sufficient conditions under which general non-parametric methods that can be represented as weight functions converge towards this limit object, and show that both nearest neighbors and kernel classifiers (under certain assumptions) suffice.