A Less Biased Evaluation of Out-of-distribution Sample Detectors

Alireza Shafaei (The University of British Columbia), Mark Schmidt (University of British Columbia), Jim Little (University of British Columbia)

In the real world, a learning system could receive an input that is unlike anything it has seen during training. Unfortunately, out-of-distribution samples can lead to unpredictable behaviour. We need to know whether any given input belongs to the population distribution of the training/evaluation data to prevent unpredictable behaviour in deployed systems. A recent surge of interest in this problem has led to the development of sophisticated techniques in the deep learning literature. However, due to the absence of a standard problem definition or an exhaustive evaluation, it is not evident if we can rely on these methods. What makes this problem different from a typical supervised learning setting is that the distribution of outliers used in training may not be the same as the distribution of outliers encountered in the application. Classical approaches that learn inliers vs. outliers with only two datasets can yield optimistic results. We introduce OD-test, a three-dataset evaluation scheme as a more reliable strategy to assess progress on this problem. We present an exhaustive evaluation of a broad set of methods from related areas on image classification tasks. Contrary to the existing results, we show that for realistic applications of high-dimensional images the previous techniques have low accuracy and are not reliable in practice.


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title={A Less Biased Evaluation of Out-of-distribution Sample Detectors},
author={Alireza Shafaei and Mark Schmidt and Jim Little},
booktitle={Proceedings of the British Machine Vision Conference (BMVC)},
publisher={BMVA Press},
editor={Kirill Sidorov and Yulia Hicks},