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Workshop: Associative Memory & Hopfield Networks in 2023

How Robust Are Energy-Based Models Trained With Equilibrium Propagation?

Siddharth Mansingh · Michal Kucer · Garrett Kenyon · Juston Moore · Michael Teti


Deep neural networks (DNNs) are easily fooled by adversarial perturbations that are imperceptible to humans. Adversarial training, a process where adversarial examples are added to the training set, is the current state-of-the-art defense against adversarial attacks, but it lowers the model's accuracy on clean inputs, is computationally expensive, and offers less robustness to natural noise. In contrast, energy-based models (EBMs), which were designed for efficient implementation in neuromorphic hardware and physical systems, incorporate feedback connections from each layer to the previous layer, yielding a recurrent, deep-attractor architecture which we hypothesize should make them naturally robust. Our work is the first to explore the robustness of EBMs to both natural corruptions and adversarial attacks, which we do using the CIFAR-10 and CIFAR-100 datasets. We demonstrate that EBMs are more robust than transformers and display comparable robustness to adversarially-trained DNNs on white-box, black-box, and natural perturbations without sacrificing clean accuracy, and without the need for adversarial training or additional training techniques.

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