Understanding Out-of-Distribution Accuracies through Quantifying Difficulty of Test Samples


Existing works show that although modern neural networks achieve remarkable generalization performance on the in-distribution (ID) dataset, the accuracy drops significantly on the out-of-distribution (OOD) datasets [recht2018cifar, recht2019imagenet]. To understand why a variety of models consistently make more mistakes in the OOD datasets, we propose a new metric to quantify the difficulty of the test images (either ID or OOD) that depends on the interaction of the training dataset and the model. In particular, we introduce confusion score as a label-free measure of image difficulty which quantifies the amount of disagreement on a given test image based on the class conditional probabilities estimated by an ensemble of trained models. Using the confusion score, we investigate CIFAR-10 and its OOD derivatives. Next, by partitioning test and OOD datasets via their confusion scores, we predict the relationship between ID and OOD accuracies for various architectures. This allows us to obtain an estimator of the OOD accuracy of a given model only using ID test labels. Our observations indicate that the biggest contribution to the accuracy drop comes from images with high confusion scores. Upon further inspection, we report on the nature of the misclassified images grouped by their confusion scores: (i) images with high confusion scores contain weak spurious correlations that appear in multiple classes in the training data and lack clear class-specific features, and (ii) images with low confusion scores exhibit spurious correlations that belong to another class, namely class-specific spurious correlations.

arXiv:2203.15100 [cs.LG]
comments powered by Disqus