Multidimensional Uncertainty-Aware Evidential Neural Networks


  • Yibo Hu The University of Texas at Dallas
  • Yuzhe Ou The University of Texas at Dallas
  • Xujiang Zhao The University of Texas at Dallas
  • Jin-Hee Cho Virginia Tech
  • Feng Chen The University of Texas at Dallas



Calibration & Uncertainty Quantification


Traditional deep neural networks (NNs) have significantly contributed to the state-of-the-art performance in the task of classification under various application domains. However, NNs have not considered inherent uncertainty in data associated with the class probabilities where misclassification under uncertainty may easily introduce high risk in decision making in real-world contexts (e.g., misclassification of objects in roads leads to serious accidents). Unlike Bayesian NN that indirectly infer uncertainty through weight uncertainties, evidential NNs (ENNs) have been recently proposed to explicitly model the uncertainty of class probabilities and use them for classification tasks. An ENN offers the formulation of the predictions of NNs as subjective opinions and learns the function by collecting an amount of evidence that can form the subjective opinions by a deterministic NN from data. However, the ENN is trained as a black box without explicitly considering inherent uncertainty in data with their different root causes, such as vacuity (i.e., uncertainty due to a lack of evidence) or dissonance (i.e., uncertainty due to conflicting evidence). By considering the multidimensional uncertainty, we proposed a novel uncertainty-aware evidential NN called WGAN-ENN (WENN) for solving an out-of-distribution (OOD) detection problem. We took a hybrid approach that combines Wasserstein Generative Adversarial Network (WGAN) with ENNs to jointly train a model with prior knowledge of a certain class, which has high vacuity for OOD samples. Via extensive empirical experiments based on both synthetic and real-world datasets, we demonstrated that the estimation of uncertainty by WENN can significantly help distinguish OOD samples from boundary samples. WENN outperformed in OOD detection when compared with other competitive counterparts.




How to Cite

Hu, Y., Ou, Y., Zhao, X., Cho, J.-H., & Chen, F. (2021). Multidimensional Uncertainty-Aware Evidential Neural Networks. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 35(9), 7815-7822.



AAAI Technical Track on Machine Learning II