Exactly Computing the Local Lipschitz Constant of ReLU Networks

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Matt Jordan, Alexandros G. Dimakis


The local Lipschitz constant of a neural network is a useful metric with applications in robustness, generalization, and fairness evaluation. We provide novel analytic results relating the local Lipschitz constant of nonsmooth vector-valued functions to a maximization over the norm of the generalized Jacobian. We present a sufficient condition for which backpropagation always returns an element of the generalized Jacobian, and reframe the problem over this broad class of functions. We show strong inapproximability results for estimating Lipschitz constants of ReLU networks, and then formulate an algorithm to compute these quantities exactly. We leverage this algorithm to evaluate the tightness of competing Lipschitz estimators and the effects of regularized training on the Lipschitz constant.