Abstract: Noisy labels (NL) and adversarial examples both undermine trained models, but
interestingly they have hitherto been studied independently. A recent
adversarial training (AT) study showed that the number of projected gradient
descent (PGD) steps to successfully attack a point (i.e., find an adversarial
example in its proximity) is an effective measure of the robustness of this
point. Given that natural data are clean, this measure reveals an intrinsic
geometric property -- how far a point is from its class boundary. Based on this
breakthrough, in this paper, we figure out how AT would interact with NL.
Firstly, we find if a point is too close to its noisy-class boundary (e.g., one
step is enough to attack it), this point is likely to be mislabeled, which
suggests to adopt the number of PGD steps as a new criterion for sample
selection for correcting NL. Secondly, we confirm AT with strong smoothing
effects suffers less from NL (without NL corrections) than standard training
(ST), which suggests AT itself is an NL correction. Hence, AT with NL is
helpful for improving even the natural accuracy, which again illustrates the
superiority of AT as a general-purpose robust learning criterion.