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Workshop: Machine Learning for Engineering Modeling, Simulation and Design

Exact Preimages of Neural Network Aircraft Collision Avoidance Systems

Kyle Matoba · François Fleuret


A common pattern of progress in engineering has seen deep neural networks displacing human-designed logic. There are many advantages to this approach, divorcing decisionmaking from human oversight and intuition has costs as well. One is that deep neural networks can map similar inputs to very different outputs in a way that makes their application to safety-critical problem problematic.

We present a method to check that the decisions of a deep neural network are as intended by constructing the exact preimage of its predictions. Preimages generalize verification in the sense that they can be used to verify a wide class of properties, and answer much richer questions besides. We examine the functioning of an aircraft collision avoidance system, and show how exact preimages reduce undue conservatism when examining dynamic safety.

Our method iterates backwards through the layers of piecewise linear deep neural networks. Uniquely, we compute \emph{all} intermediate values that correspond to a prediction, propagating this calculation through layers using analytical formulae for layer preimages.

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