Projection Regret: Reducing Background Bias for Novelty Detection via Diffusion Models

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Sungik Choi, Hankook Lee, Honglak Lee, Moontae Lee


Novelty detection is a fundamental task of machine learning which aims to detect abnormal (i.e. out-of-distribution (OOD)) samples. Since diffusion models have recently emerged as the de facto standard generative framework with surprising generation results, novelty detection via diffusion models has also gained much attention. Recent methods have mainly utilized the reconstruction property of in-distribution samples. However, they often suffer from detecting OOD samples that share similar background information to the in-distribution data. Based on our observation that diffusion models can project any sample to an in-distribution sample with similar background information, we propose Projection Regret (PR), an efficient novelty detection method that mitigates the bias of non-semantic information. To be specific, PR computes the perceptual distance between the test image and its diffusion-based projection to detect abnormality. Since the perceptual distance often fails to capture semantic changes when the background information is dominant, we cancel out the background bias by comparing it against recursive projections. Extensive experiments demonstrate that PR outperforms the prior art of generative-model-based novelty detection methods by a significant margin.