Improving Calibration through the Relationship with Adversarial Robustness

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

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Yao Qin, Xuezhi Wang, Alex Beutel, Ed Chi


Neural networks lack adversarial robustness, i.e., they are vulnerable to adversarial examples that through small perturbations to inputs cause incorrect predictions. Further, trust is undermined when models give miscalibrated predictions, i.e., the predicted probability is not a good indicator of how much we should trust our model. In this paper, we study the connection between adversarial robustness and calibration and find that the inputs for which the model is sensitive to small perturbations (are easily attacked) are more likely to have poorly calibrated predictions. Based on this insight, we examine if calibration can be improved by addressing those adversarially unrobust inputs. To this end, we propose Adversarial Robustness based Adaptive Label Smoothing (AR-AdaLS) that integrates the correlations of adversarial robustness and calibration into training by adaptively softening labels for an example based on how easily it can be attacked by an adversary. We find that our method, taking the adversarial robustness of the in-distribution data into consideration, leads to better calibration over the model even under distributional shifts. In addition, AR-AdaLS can also be applied to an ensemble model to further improve model calibration.