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ICSE 2020
Wed 24 June - Thu 16 July 2020

Image classifiers have become an important component of today’s software, from consumer and business applications to safety-critical domains. The advent of Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) is the key catalyst behind such wide-spread success. However, wide adoption comes with serious concerns about the robustness of software systems dependent on image classification DNNs, as several severe erroneous behaviors have been reported under sensitive and critical circumstances. We argue that developers need to rigorously test their software’s image classifiers and delay deployment until acceptable. We present an approach to testing image classifier robustness based on class property violations.

We have found that many of the reported erroneous cases in popular DNN image classifiers occur because the trained models confuse one class with another or show biases towards some classes over others. These bugs usually violate some class properties of one or more of those classes. Most DNN testing techniques focus on per-image violations and thus fail to detect such class-level confusions or biases.

We developed a testing approach to automatically detect class-based confusion and bias errors in DNN-driven image classification software. We evaluated our implementation, DeepInspect, on several popular image classifiers with precision up to 100% (avg. 72.6%) for confusion errors, and up to 84.3% (avg. 66.8%) for bias errors. DeepInspect found hundreds of classification mistakes in widely-used models, many of which expose errors indicating confusion or bias.