Part of Proceedings of the International Conference on Machine Learning 1 pre-proceedings (ICML 2020)

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*Greg Yang, Tony Duan, J. Edward Hu, Hadi Salman, Ilya Razenshteyn, Jerry Li*

Randomized smoothing is the current state-of-the-art defense with provable robustness against $\ell_2$ adversarial attacks. Many works have devised new randomized smoothing schemes for other metrics, such as $\ell_1$ or $\ell_\infty$; however, substantial effort was needed to derive such new guarantees. This begs the question: can we find a general theory for randomized smoothing? We propose a novel framework for devising and analyzing randomized smoothing schemes, and validate its effectiveness in practice. Our theoretical contributions are: (1) we show that for an appropriate notion of "optimal", the optimal smoothing distributions for any "nice" norms have level sets given by the norm's *Wulff Crystal*; (2) we propose two novel and complementary methods for deriving provably robust radii for any smoothing distribution; and, (3) we show fundamental limits to current randomized smoothing techniques via the theory of *Banach space cotypes*. By combining (1) and (2), we significantly improve the state-of-the-art certified accuracy in $\ell_1$ on standard datasets. Meanwhile, we show using (3) that with only label statistics under random input perturbations, randomized smoothing cannot achieve nontrivial certified accuracy against perturbations of $\ell_p$-norm $\Omega(\min(1, d^{\frac{1}{p} - \frac{1}{2}}))$, when the input dimension $d$ is large. We provide code in github.com/tonyduan/rs4a.

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