Predictive Uncertainty Estimation via Prior Networks

Neural Information Processing Systems

Estimating how uncertain an AI system is in its predictions is important to improve the safety of such systems. Uncertainty in predictive can result from uncertainty in model parameters, irreducible \emph{data uncertainty} and uncertainty due to distributional mismatch between the test and training data distributions. Different actions might be taken depending on the source of the uncertainty so it is important to be able to distinguish between them. Recently, baseline tasks and metrics have been defined and several practical methods to estimate uncertainty developed. These methods, however, attempt to model uncertainty due to distributional mismatch either implicitly through \emph{model uncertainty} or as \emph{data uncertainty}. This work proposes a new framework for modeling predictive uncertainty called Prior Networks (PNs) which explicitly models \emph{distributional uncertainty}. PNs do this by parameterizing a prior distribution over predictive distributions. This work focuses on uncertainty for classification and evaluates PNs on the tasks of identifying out-of-distribution (OOD) samples and detecting misclassification on the MNIST and CIFAR-10 datasets, where they are found to outperform previous methods. Experiments on synthetic and MNIST and CIFAR-10 data show that unlike previous non-Bayesian methods PNs are able to distinguish between data and distributional uncertainty.


Predictive Uncertainty Estimation via Prior Networks

Neural Information Processing Systems

Estimating how uncertain an AI system is in its predictions is important to improve the safety of such systems. Uncertainty in predictive can result from uncertainty in model parameters, irreducible \emph{data uncertainty} and uncertainty due to distributional mismatch between the test and training data distributions. Different actions might be taken depending on the source of the uncertainty so it is important to be able to distinguish between them. Recently, baseline tasks and metrics have been defined and several practical methods to estimate uncertainty developed. These methods, however, attempt to model uncertainty due to distributional mismatch either implicitly through \emph{model uncertainty} or as \emph{data uncertainty}. This work proposes a new framework for modeling predictive uncertainty called Prior Networks (PNs) which explicitly models \emph{distributional uncertainty}. PNs do this by parameterizing a prior distribution over predictive distributions. This work focuses on uncertainty for classification and evaluates PNs on the tasks of identifying out-of-distribution (OOD) samples and detecting misclassification on the MNIST and CIFAR-10 datasets, where they are found to outperform previous methods. Experiments on synthetic and MNIST and CIFAR-10 data show that unlike previous non-Bayesian methods PNs are able to distinguish between data and distributional uncertainty.


Predictive Uncertainty Estimation via Prior Networks

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Estimating uncertainty is important to improving the safety of AI systems. Recently baseline tasks and metrics have been defined and several practical methods for estimating uncertainty developed. However, these approaches attempt to model distributional uncertainty either implicitly through model uncertainty or as data uncertainty. This work proposes a new framework for modeling predictive uncertainty called Prior Networks (PNs) which explicitly models distributional uncertainty. PNs do this by parameterizing a prior distribution over predictive distributions. This work focuses on uncertainty for classification and evaluates PNs on the tasks of identifying out-of-distribution (OOD) samples and detecting misclassification on the MNIST dataset, where they are found to outperform previous methods. Experiments on synthetic and MNIST data show that unlike previous methods PNs are able to distinguish between data and distributional uncertainty.


Prior Networks for Detection of Adversarial Attacks

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Adversarial examples are considered a serious issue for safety critical applications of AI, such as finance, autonomous vehicle control and medicinal applications. Though significant work has resulted in increased robustness of systems to these attacks, systems are still vulnerable to well-crafted attacks. To address this problem, several adversarial attack detection methods have been proposed. However, a system can still be vulnerable to adversarial samples that are designed to specifically evade these detection methods. One recent detection scheme that has shown good performance is based on uncertainty estimates derived from Monte-Carlo dropout ensembles. Prior Networks, a new method of estimating predictive uncertainty, has been shown to outperform Monte-Carlo dropout on a range of tasks. One of the advantages of this approach is that the behaviour of a Prior Network can be explicitly tuned to, for example, predict high uncertainty in regions where there are no training data samples. In this work, Prior Networks are applied to adversarial attack detection using measures of uncertainty in a similar fashion to Monte-Carlo Dropout. Detection based on measures of uncertainty derived from DNNs and Monte-Carlo dropout ensembles are used as a baseline. Prior Networks are shown to significantly out-perform these baseline approaches over a range of adversarial attacks in both detection of whitebox and blackbox configurations. Even when the adversarial attacks are constructed with full knowledge of the detection mechanism, it is shown to be highly challenging to successfully generate an adversarial sample.


Simple and Scalable Predictive Uncertainty Estimation using Deep Ensembles

Neural Information Processing Systems

Deep neural networks (NNs) are powerful black box predictors that have recently achieved impressive performance on a wide spectrum of tasks. Quantifying predictive uncertainty in NNs is a challenging and yet unsolved problem. Bayesian NNs, which learn a distribution over weights, are currently the state-of-the-art for estimating predictive uncertainty; however these require significant modifications to the training procedure and are computationally expensive compared to standard (non-Bayesian) NNs. We propose an alternative to Bayesian NNs that is simple to implement, readily parallelizable, requires very little hyperparameter tuning, and yields high quality predictive uncertainty estimates. Through a series of experiments on classification and regression benchmarks, we demonstrate that our method produces well-calibrated uncertainty estimates which are as good or better than approximate Bayesian NNs. To assess robustness to dataset shift, we evaluate the predictive uncertainty on test examples from known and unknown distributions, and show that our method is able to express higher uncertainty on out-of-distribution examples. We demonstrate the scalability of our method by evaluating predictive uncertainty estimates on ImageNet.