Google Research

Revisiting One-vs-All Classifiers for Predictive Uncertainty and Out-of-Distribution Detection in Neural Networks


Accurate estimation of predictive uncertainty in modern neural networks is critical to achieve well calibrated predictions and detect out-of-distribution inputs. The most promising approaches have been predominantly focused on improving model uncertainty (e.g. deep ensembles and Bayesian neural networks) and post-processing techniques for out-of-distribution detection (e.g. ODIN and Mahalanobis distance). However, there has been relatively little investigation into how the parametrization of the probabilities in discriminative classifiers affects the uncertainty estimates, and the dominant method, softmax cross-entropy, results in misleadingly high confidences on out-of-distribution data and under covariate shift. We investigate alternative ways of formulating probabilities using (1) a one-vs-all formulation to capture the notion of “none of the above”, and (2) a distance-based logit representation to encode uncertainty as a function of distance to the training manifold. We show that one-vs-all formulations can match the predictive performance of softmax without incurring any additional training or test-time complexity, and improve calibration on image classification tasks.

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