BulletTrain: Accelerating Robust Neural Network Training via Boundary Example Mining

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

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Authors

Weizhe Hua, Yichi Zhang, Chuan Guo, Zhiru Zhang, G. Edward Suh

Abstract

Neural network robustness has become a central topic in machine learning in recent years. Most training algorithms that improve the model's robustness to adversarial and common corruptions also introduce a large computational overhead, requiring as many as ten times the number of forward and backward passes in order to converge. To combat this inefficiency, we propose BulletTrain, a boundary example mining technique to drastically reduce the computational cost of robust training. Our key observation is that only a small fraction of examples are beneficial for improving robustness. BulletTrain dynamically predicts these important examples and optimizes robust training algorithms to focus on the important examples. We apply our technique to several existing robust training algorithms and achieve a 2.2x speed-up for TRADES and MART on CIFAR-10 and a 1.7x speed-up for AugMix on CIFAR-10-C and CIFAR-100-C without any reduction in clean and robust accuracy.