Verifying Attention Robustness of Deep Neural Networks against Semantic Perturbations


It is known that deep neural networks (DNNs) classify an input image by paying particular attention to certain specific pixels; a graphical representation of the magnitude of attention to each pixel is called a saliency-map. Saliency-maps are used to check the validity of the classification decision basis, e.g., it is not a valid basis for classification if a DNN pays more attention to the background rather than the subject of an image. Semantic perturbations can significantly change the saliency- map. In this work, we propose the first verification method for attention robustness, i.e., the local robustness of the changes in the saliency-map against combinations of semantic perturbations. Specifically, our method determines the range of the perturbation parameters (e.g., the brightness change) that maintains the difference between the actual saliency-map change and the expected saliency-map change below a given threshold value. Our method is based on activation region traversals, focusing on the outermost robust boundary for scalability on larger DNNs. We empirically evaluate the effectiveness and performance of our method on DNNs trained on popular image classification datasets.