Nicholas Cheney, Martin Schrimpf, Gabriel Kreiman. On the Robustness of Convolutional Neural Networks to Internal Architecture and Weight Perturbations. CoRR abs/1703.08245 (2017).

Cheney et al. study the robustness of deep neural networks, especially AlexNet, with regard to randomly dropping or perturbing weights. In particular, the authors consider three types of perturbations: synapse knockouts set random weights to zero, node knockouts set all weights corresponding to a set of neurons to zero, and weight perturbations add random Gaussian noise to the weights of a specific layer. These perturbations are studied on AlexNet, considering the top-5 accuracy on ImageNet; perturbations are considered per layer. For example, Figure 1 (left) shows the influence on accuracy when knocking out synapses. As can be seen, the lower layers, especially the first convolutional layer, are impacted significantly by these perturbations. Similar observations, Figure 1 (right) are made for random perturbations of weights; although the impact is less significant. Especially high-level features, i.e., the corresponding layers, seem to be robust to these kind of perturbations. The authors also provide evidence that these results extend to the top-1 accuracy, as well as other architectures. For VGG, however, the impact is significantly less pronounced which may also be due to the employed dropout layers.

Figure 1: Left: Influence of setting weights in the corresponding layers to zero. Right: Influence of randomly perturbing weights of specific layers. Experiments are on ImageNet using AlexNet.

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