Can convolutional ResNets approximately preserve input distances? A frequency analysis perspective

Published in preprint, 2021

ResNets constrained to be bi-Lipschitz, that is, approximately distance preserving, have been a crucial component of recently proposed techniques for deterministic uncertainty quantification in neural models. We show that theoretical justifications for recent regularisation schemes trying to enforce such a constraint suffer from a crucial flaw – the theoretical link between the regularisation scheme used and bi-Lipschitzness is only valid under conditions which do not hold in practice, rendering existing theory of limited use, despite the strong empirical performance of these models. We provide a theoretical explanation for the effectiveness of these regularisation schemes using a frequency analysis perspective, showing that under mild conditions these schemes will enforce a lower Lipschitz bound on the low-frequency projection of images. We then provide empirical evidence supporting our theoretical claims, and perform further experiments which demonstrate that our broader conclusions appear to hold when some of the mathematical assumptions of our proof are relaxed, corresponding to the setup used in prior work. In addition, we present a simple constructive algorithm to search for counter examples to the distance preservation condition, and discuss possible implications of our theory for future model design.

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