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Boundary Unlearning: Rapid Forgetting of Deep Networks via Shifting the Decision Boundary

Min Chen · Weizhuo Gao · Gaoyang Liu · Kai Peng · Chen Wang

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 348


The practical needs of the “right to be forgotten” and poisoned data removal call for efficient machine unlearning techniques, which enable machine learning models to unlearn, or to forget a fraction of training data and its lineage. Recent studies on machine unlearning for deep neural networks (DNNs) attempt to destroy the influence of the forgetting data by scrubbing the model parameters. However, it is prohibitively expensive due to the large dimension of the parameter space. In this paper, we refocus our attention from the parameter space to the decision space of the DNN model, and propose Boundary Unlearning, a rapid yet effective way to unlearn an entire class from a trained DNN model. The key idea is to shift the decision boundary of the original DNN model to imitate the decision behavior of the model retrained from scratch. We develop two novel boundary shift methods, namely Boundary Shrink and Boundary Expanding, both of which can rapidly achieve the utility and privacy guarantees. We extensively evaluate Boundary Unlearning on CIFAR-10 and Vggface2 datasets, and the results show that Boundary Unlearning can effectively forget the forgetting class on image classification and face recognition tasks, with an expected speed-up of 17× and 19×, respectively, compared with retraining from the scratch.

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