Training-Free Uncertainty Estimation for Dense Regression: Sensitivity as a Surrogate


  • Hao Wang Rutgers University
  • Yonglong Tian MIT CSAIL
  • Hao He MIT CSAIL
  • Nir N Shavit MIT CSAIL



Reasoning Under Uncertainty (RU), Computer Vision (CV)


Uncertainty estimation is an essential step in the evaluation of the robustness for deep learning models in computer vision, especially when applied in risk-sensitive areas. However, most state-of-the-art deep learning models either fail to obtain uncertainty estimation or need significant modification (e.g., formulating a proper Bayesian treatment) to obtain it. Most previous methods are not able to take an arbitrary model off the shelf and generate uncertainty estimation without retraining or redesigning it. To address this gap, we perform a systematic exploration into training-free uncertainty estimation for dense regression, an unrecognized yet important problem, and provide a theoretical construction justifying such estimations. We propose three simple and scalable methods to analyze the variance of outputs from a trained network under tolerable perturbations: infer-transformation, infer-noise, and infer-dropout. They operate solely during the inference, without the need to re-train, re-design, or fine-tune the models, as typically required by state-of-the-art uncertainty estimation methods. Surprisingly, even without involving such perturbations in training, our methods produce comparable or even better uncertainty estimation when compared to training-required state-of-the-art methods. Code is available at




How to Cite

Mi, L., Wang, H., Tian, Y., He, H., & Shavit, N. N. (2022). Training-Free Uncertainty Estimation for Dense Regression: Sensitivity as a Surrogate. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 36(9), 10042-10050.



AAAI Technical Track on Reasoning under Uncertainty