Identifying and eliminating bugs in learned predictive models
fetched at March 28, 2019

One in a series of posts explaining the theories underpinning our research. Bugs and software have gone hand in hand since the beginning of computer programming. Over time, software developers have established a set of best practices for testing and debugging before deployment, but these practices are not suited for modern deep learning systems. Today, the prevailing practice in machine learning is to train a system on a training data set, and then test it on another set. While this reveals the average-case performance of models, it is also crucial to ensure robustness, or acceptably high performance even in the worst case. In this article, we describe three approaches for rigorously identifying and eliminating bugs in learned predictive models: adversarial testing, robust learning, and formal verification.Machine learning systems are not robust by default. Even systems that outperform humans in a particular domain can fail at solving simple problems if subtle differences are introduced. For example, consider the problem of image perturbations: a neural network that can classify images better than a human can be easily fooled into believing that sloth is a race car if a small amount of carefully calculated noise is added to the input image.

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