Regularization Effect of Fast Gradient Sign Method and its Generalization

Chandler Zuo

Fast Gradient Sign Method (FGSM) is a popular method to generate adversarial examples that make neural network models robust against perturbations. Despite its empirical success, its theoretical property is not well understood. This paper develops theory to explain the regularization effect of Generalized FGSM, a class of methods to generate adversarial examples. Motivated from the relationship between FGSM and LASSO penalty, the asymptotic properties of Generalized FGSM are derived in the Generalized Linear Model setting, which is essentially the 1-layer neural network setting with certain activation functions. In such simple neural network models, I prove that Generalized FGSM estimation is root n-consistent and weakly oracle under proper conditions. The asymptotic results are also highly similar to penalized likelihood estimation. Nevertheless, Generalized FGSM introduces additional bias when data sampling is not sign neutral, a concept I introduce to describe the balance-ness of the noise signs. Although the theory in this paper is developed under simple neural network settings, I argue that it may give insights and justification for FGSM in deep neural network settings as well.

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