Quantifying and Understanding Adversarial Examples in Discrete Input Spaces [article]

Volodymyr Kuleshov, Evgenii Nikishin, Shantanu Thakoor, Tingfung Lau, Stefano Ermon
2021 arXiv   pre-print
Modern classification algorithms are susceptible to adversarial examples--perturbations to inputs that cause the algorithm to produce undesirable behavior. In this work, we seek to understand and extend adversarial examples across domains in which inputs are discrete, particularly across new domains, such as computational biology. As a step towards this goal, we formalize a notion of synonymous adversarial examples that applies in any discrete setting and describe a simple domain-agnostic
more » ... thm to construct such examples. We apply this algorithm across multiple domains--including sentiment analysis and DNA sequence classification--and find that it consistently uncovers adversarial examples. We seek to understand their prevalence theoretically and we attribute their existence to spurious token correlations, a statistical phenomenon that is specific to discrete spaces. Our work is a step towards a domain-agnostic treatment of discrete adversarial examples analogous to that of continuous inputs.
arXiv:2112.06276v1 fatcat:4e7jle5r25flnmgmckqg5w2xca