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Machine Unlearning in Computer Vision: Foundations and Applications

Sijia Liu · Yang Liu · Nathalie Baracaldo · Eleni Triantafillou

Arch 305
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Mon 17 Jun 9 a.m. PDT — noon PDT


This tutorial aims to offer a comprehensive understanding of emerging machine unlearning (MU) techniques. These techniques are designed to accurately assess the impact of specific data points, classes, or concepts (e.g., related to copyrighted information, biases and stereotypes, and personally identifying data) on model performance and efficiently eliminate their potentially harmful influence within a pre-trained model. With the recent shift to foundation models, MU has become indispensable, as re-training from scratch is prohibitively costly in terms of time, computational resources, and finances. Despite increasing research interest, MU for vision tasks remains significantly underexplored compared to its prominence in the security and privacy (SP) field. Within this tutorial, we will delve into the algorithmic foundations of MU methods, including techniques such as localization-informed unlearning, unlearning-focused finetuning, and vision model-specific optimizers. We will provide a comprehensive and clear overview of the diverse range of applications for MU in CV. Furthermore, we will emphasize the importance of unlearning from an industry perspective, where modifying the model during its life-cycle is preferable to re-training it entirely, and where metrics to verify the unlearning process become paramount. Our tutorial will furnish the general audience with sufficient background information to grasp the motivation, research progress, opportunities, and ongoing challenges in MU.

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