A Closer Look at Memorization in Deep Networks

arXiv.org Machine Learning

We examine the role of memorization in deep learning, drawing connections to capacity, generalization, and adversarial robustness. While deep networks are capable of memorizing noise data, our results suggest that they tend to prioritize learning simple patterns first. In our experiments, we expose qualitative differences in gradient-based optimization of deep neural networks (DNNs) on noise vs. real data. We also demonstrate that for appropriately tuned explicit regularization (e.g., dropout) we can degrade DNN training performance on noise datasets without compromising generalization on real data. Our analysis suggests that the notions of effective capacity which are dataset independent are unlikely to explain the generalization performance of deep networks when trained with gradient based methods because training data itself plays an important role in determining the degree of memorization.


The Secret Sharer: Measuring Unintended Neural Network Memorization & Extracting Secrets

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning models based on neural networks and deep learning are being rapidly adopted for many purposes. What those models learn, and what they may share, is a significant concern when the training data may contain secrets and the models are public -- e.g., when a model helps users compose text messages using models trained on all users' messages. This paper presents exposure: a simple-to-compute metric that can be applied to any deep learning model for measuring the memorization of secrets. Using this metric, we show how to extract those secrets efficiently using black-box API access. Further, we show that unintended memorization occurs early, is not due to over-fitting, and is a persistent issue across different types of models, hyperparameters, and training strategies. We experiment with both real-world models (e.g., a state-of-the-art translation model) and datasets (e.g., the Enron email dataset, which contains users' credit card numbers) to demonstrate both the utility of measuring exposure and the ability to extract secrets. Finally, we consider many defenses, finding some ineffective (like regularization), and others to lack guarantees. However, by instantiating our own differentially-private recurrent model, we validate that by appropriately investing in the use of state-of-the-art techniques, the problem can be resolved, with high utility.


DNN or $k$-NN: That is the Generalize vs. Memorize Question

arXiv.org Machine Learning

This paper studies the relationship between the classification performed by deep neural networks and the $k$-NN decision at the embedding space of these networks. This simple important connection shown here provides a better understanding of the relationship between the ability of neural networks to generalize and their tendency to memorize the training data, which are traditionally considered to be contradicting to each other and here shown to be compatible and complementary. Our results support the conjecture that deep neural networks approach Bayes optimal error rates.


Leveraging Random Label Memorization for Unsupervised Pre-Training

arXiv.org Machine Learning

We present a novel approach to leverage large unlabeled datasets by pre-training state-of-the-art deep neural networks on randomly-labeled datasets. Specifically, we train the neural networks to memorize arbitrary labels for all the samples in a dataset and use these pre-trained networks as a starting point for regular supervised learning. Our assumption is that the "memorization infrastructure" learned by the network during the random-label training proves to be beneficial for the conventional supervised learning as well. We test the effectiveness of our pre-training on several video action recognition datasets (HMDB51, UCF101, Kinetics) by comparing the results of the same network with and without the random label pre-training. Our approach yields an improvement - ranging from 1.5% on UCF-101 to 5% on Kinetics - in classification accuracy, which calls for further research in this direction.


Neural Network Memorization Dissection

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Deep neural networks (DNNs) can easily fit a random labeling of the training data with zero training error. What is the difference between DNNs trained with random labels and the ones trained with true labels? Our paper answers this question with two contributions. First, we study the memorization properties of DNNs. Our empirical experiments shed light on how DNNs prioritize the learning of simple input patterns. In the second part, we propose to measure the similarity between what different DNNs have learned and memorized. With the proposed approach, we analyze and compare DNNs trained on data with true labels and random labels. The analysis shows that DNNs have \textit{One way to Learn} and \textit{N ways to Memorize}. We also use gradient information to gain an understanding of the analysis results.