Shutterstock Computer Science Distinguished Lecture Series - Patrick McDaniel - The Challenges of Machine Learning in Adversarial Settings

Advances in AI and machine learning have enabled new applications and services to interpret and process inputs in previously unthinkable complex environments. Autonomous cars, data analytics, adaptive communication and self-aware software systems are now revolutionizing markets by achieving or exceeding human performance. In this talk, I consider the evolving use of machine learning in security-sensitive contexts and explore why many systems are vulnerable to nonobvious and potentially dangerous manipulation. Here, we examine sensitivity in any application whose misuse might lead to harm—for instance, forcing adaptive network in an unstable state, crashing an autonomous vehicle or bypassing an adult content filter. I explore the use of machine learning in this area particularly in light of recent discoveries in the creation of adversarial samples and defenses against them and posit on future attacks on machine learning. The talk is concluded with a discussion of the technological and societal challenges we face as a result of current and future advances in intelligent computing.


Patrick McDaniel is the William L. Weiss Professor of Information and Communications Technology and Director of the Institute for Networking and Security Research in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Pennsylvania State University. Professor McDaniel is also a Fellow of the IEEE and ACM and the director of the NSF Frontier Center for Trustworthy Machine Learning. He also served as the program manager and lead scientist for the Army Research Laboratory's Cyber-Security Collaborative Research Alliance from 2013 to 2018. Patrick's research centrally focuses on a wide range of topics in computer and network security and technical public policy. Prior to joining Penn State in 2004, he was a senior research staff member at AT&T Labs-Research.