Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Committee Chair

Nasser M. Nasrabadi

Committee Co-Chair

Jeremy Dawson

Committee Member

Jeremy Dawson

Committee Member

Matthew C. Valenti

Committee Member

Xin Li

Committee Member

Omid Dehzangi


Deep learning has witnessed astonishing advancement in the last decade and revolutionized many fields ranging from computer vision to natural language processing. A prominent field of research that enabled such achievements is adversarial learning, investigating the behavior and functionality of a learning model in presence of an adversary. Adversarial learning consists of two major trends. The first trend analyzes the susceptibility of machine learning models to manipulation in the decision-making process and aims to improve the robustness to such manipulations. The second trend exploits adversarial games between components of the model to enhance the learning process. This dissertation aims to provide an analysis on these two sides of adversarial learning and harness their potential for improving the robustness and generalization of deep models.

In the first part of the dissertation, we study the adversarial susceptibility of deep learning models. We provide an empirical analysis on the extent of vulnerability by proposing two adversarial attacks that explore the geometric and frequency-domain characteristics of inputs to manipulate deep decisions. Afterward, we formalize the susceptibility of deep networks using the first-order approximation of the predictions and extend the theory to the ensemble classification scheme. Inspired by theoretical findings, we formalize a reliable and practical defense against adversarial examples to robustify ensembles. We extend this part by investigating the shortcomings of \gls{at} and highlight that the popular momentum stochastic gradient descent, developed essentially for natural training, is not proper for optimization in adversarial training since it is not designed to be robust against the chaotic behavior of gradients in this setup. Motivated by these observations, we develop an optimization method that is more suitable for adversarial training. In the second part of the dissertation, we harness adversarial learning to enhance the generalization and performance of deep networks in discriminative and generative tasks. We develop several models for biometric identification including fingerprint distortion rectification and latent fingerprint reconstruction. In particular, we develop a ridge reconstruction model based on generative adversarial networks that estimates the missing ridge information in latent fingerprints. We introduce a novel modification that enables the generator network to preserve the ID information during the reconstruction process. To address the scarcity of data, {\it e.g.}, in latent fingerprint analysis, we develop a supervised augmentation technique that combines input examples based on their salient regions. Our findings advocate that adversarial learning improves the performance and reliability of deep networks in a wide range of applications.