Confident Classification using a Hybrid between Deterministic and Probabilistic Convolutional Neural Networks

Muhammad Naseer Bajwa, Suleman Khurram, Mohsin Munir, Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, Muhammad Imran Malik, Andreas Dengel, Sheraz Ahmed

In: IEEE Access 10 Pages 1-10 IEEE 2020.


Traditional neural networks trained using point-based maximum likelihood estimation are deterministic models and have exhibited near-human performance in many image classification tasks. However, their insistence on representing network parameters with point-estimates renders them incapable of capturing all possible combinations of the weights; consequently, resulting in a biased predictor towards their initialisation. Most importantly, these deterministic networks are inherently unable to provide any uncertainty estimate for their prediction which is highly sought after in many critical application areas. On the other hand, Bayesian neural networks place a probability distribution on network weights and give a built-in regularisation effect making these models able to learn well from small datasets without overfitting. These networks provide a way of generating posterior distribution which can be used for model’s uncertainty estimation. However, Bayesian estimation is computationally very expensive since it greatly widens the parameter space. This paper proposes a hybrid convolutional neural network which combines high accuracy of deterministic models with posterior distribution approximation of Bayesian neural networks. This hybrid architecture is validated on 13 publicly available benchmark classification datasets from a wide range of domains and different modalities like natural scene images, medical images, and time-series. Our results show that the proposed hybrid approach performs better than both deterministic and Bayesian methods in terms of classification accuracy and also provides an estimate of uncertainty for every prediction. We further employ this uncertainty to filter out unconfident predictions and achieve significant additional gain in accuracy for the remaining predictions.


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German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz