Towards A Unified Min-Max Framework for Adversarial Exploration and Robustness

Jingkang Wang, Tianyun Zhang, Sijia Liu, Pin-Yu Chen, Jiacen Xu, Makan Fardad, Bo Li

The worst-case training principle that minimizes the maximal adversarial loss, also known as adversarial training (AT), has shown to be a state-of-the-art approach for enhancing adversarial robustness against norm-ball bounded input perturbations. Nonetheless, min-max optimization beyond the purpose of AT has not been rigorously explored in the research of adversarial attack and defense. In particular, given a set of risk sources (domains), minimizing the maximal loss induced from the domain set can be reformulated as a general min-max problem that is different from AT. Examples of this general formulation include attacking model ensembles, devising universal perturbation under multiple inputs or data transformations, and generalized AT over different types of attack models. We show that these problems can be solved under a unified and theoretically principled min-max optimization framework. We also show that the self-adjusted domain weights learned from our method provides a means to explain the difficulty level of attack and defense over multiple domains. Extensive experiments show that our approach leads to substantial performance improvement over the conventional averaging strategy.

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