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  1. In response to recent data regulation requirements, machine unlearning (MU) has emerged as a critical process to remove the influence of specific examples from a given model. Although exact unlearning can be achieved through complete model retraining using the remaining dataset, the associated computational costs have driven the development of efficient, approximate unlearning techniques. Moving beyond data-centric MU approaches, our study introduces a novel model-based perspective: model sparsification via weight pruning, which is capable of reducing the gap between exact unlearning and approximate unlearning. We show in both theory and practice that model sparsity can boost the multi-criteria unlearning performance of an approximate unlearner, closing the approximation gap, while continuing to be efficient. This leads to a new MU paradigm, termed prune first, then unlearn, which infuses a sparse model prior into the unlearning process. Building on this insight, we also develop a sparsity-aware unlearning method that utilizes sparsity regularization to enhance the training process of approximate unlearning. Extensive experiments show that our proposals consistently benefit MU in various unlearning scenarios. A notable highlight is the 77% unlearning efficacy gain of fine-tuning (one of the simplest unlearning methods) when using sparsity-aware unlearning. Furthermore, we demonstrate the practical impact of our proposed MU methods in addressing other machine learning challenges, such as defending against backdoor attacks and enhancing transfer learning. Codes are available at this https URL. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 9, 2024
  2. The local explanation provides heatmaps on images to explain how Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) derive their output. Due to its visual straightforwardness, the method has been one of the most popular explainable AI (XAI) methods for diagnosing CNNs. Through our formative study (S1), however, we captured ML engineers' ambivalent perspective about the local explanation as a valuable and indispensable envision in building CNNs versus the process that exhausts them due to the heuristic nature of detecting vulnerability. Moreover, steering the CNNs based on the vulnerability learned from the diagnosis seemed highly challenging. To mitigate the gap, we designed DeepFuse, the first interactive design that realizes the direct feedback loop between a user and CNNs in diagnosing and revising CNN's vulnerability using local explanations. DeepFuse helps CNN engineers to systemically search unreasonable local explanations and annotate the new boundaries for those identified as unreasonable in a labor-efficient manner. Next, it steers the model based on the given annotation such that the model doesn't introduce similar mistakes. We conducted a two-day study (S2) with 12 experienced CNN engineers. Using DeepFuse, participants made a more accurate and reasonable model than the current state-of-the-art. Also, participants found the way DeepFuse guides case-based reasoning can practically improve their current practice. We provide implications for design that explain how future HCI-driven design can move our practice forward to make XAI-driven insights more actionable.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 28, 2024
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  7. Pre-training serves as a broadly adopted starting point for transfer learning on various downstream tasks. Recent investigations of lottery tickets hypothesis (LTH) demonstrate such enormous pre-trained models can be replaced by extremely sparse subnetworks (a.k.a. matching subnetworks) without sacrificing transferability. However, practical security-crucial applications usually pose more challenging requirements beyond standard transfer, which also demand these subnetworks to overcome adversarial vulnerability. In this paper, we formulate a more rigorous concept, Double-Win Lottery Tickets, in which a located subnetwork from a pre-trained model can be independently transferred on diverse downstream tasks, to reach BOTH the same standard and robust generalization, under BOTH standard and adversarial training regimes, as the full pre-trained model can do. We comprehensively examine various pre-training mechanisms and find that robust pre-training tends to craft sparser double-win lottery tickets with superior performance over the standard counterparts. For example, on downstream CIFAR-10/100 datasets, we identify double-win matching subnetworks with the standard, fast adversarial, and adversarial pre-training from ImageNet, at 89.26%/73.79%, 89.26%/79.03%, and 91.41%/83.22% sparsity, respectively. Furthermore, we observe the obtained double-win lottery tickets can be more data-efficient to transfer, under practical data-limited (e.g., 1% and 10%) downstream schemes. Our results show that the benefits from robust pre-training are amplified by the lottery ticket scheme, as well as the data-limited transfer setting. 
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