Batch Normalization is a Cause of Adversarial Vulnerability

Batch Normalization is a Cause of Adversarial Vulnerability

Angus Galloway Anna Golubeva Thomas Tanay Work done while at University College London. Huawei Noah’s Ark Lab Medhat Moussa School of Engineering, University of Guelph Graham W. Taylor

Batch normalization (batch norm) is often used in an attempt to stabilize and accelerate training in deep neural networks. In many cases it indeed decreases the number of parameter updates required to achieve low training error. However, it also reduces robustness to small adversarial input perturbations and noise by double-digit percentages, as we show on five standard datasets. Furthermore, substituting weight decay for batch norm is sufficient to nullify the relationship between adversarial vulnerability and the input dimension. Our work is consistent with a mean-field analysis that found that batch norm causes exploding gradients.

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