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Fast Certification of Vision-Language Models Using Incremental Randomized Smoothing

A K Nirala (1)A Joshi (2)C Hegde (2)S Sarkar (1) ((1) Iowa State University(2) New York University)
Nov 2023
A key benefit of deep vision-language models such as CLIP is that they enable zero-shot open vocabulary classification; the user has the ability to define novel class labels via natural language prompts at inference time. However, while CLIP-based zero-shot classifiers have demonstrated competitive performance across a range of domain shifts, they remain highly vulnerable to adversarial attacks. Therefore, ensuring the robustness of such models is crucial for their reliable deployment in the wild. In this work, we introduce Open Vocabulary Certification (OVC), a fast certification method designed for open-vocabulary models like CLIP via randomized smoothing techniques. Given a base "training" set of prompts and their corresponding certified CLIP classifiers, OVC relies on the observation that a classifier with a novel prompt can be viewed as a perturbed version of nearby classifiers in the base training set. Therefore, OVC can rapidly certify the novel classifier using a variation of incremental randomized smoothing. By using a caching trick, we achieve approximately two orders of magnitude acceleration in the certification process for novel prompts. To achieve further (heuristic) speedups, OVC approximates the embedding space at a given input using a multivariate normal distribution bypassing the need for sampling via forward passes through the vision backbone. We demonstrate the effectiveness of OVC on through experimental evaluation using multiple vision-language backbones on the CIFAR-10 and ImageNet test datasets.
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