Energy-Based Open-World Uncertainty Modeling for Confidence Calibration

Yezhen Wang, Bo Li, Tong Che, Kaiyang Zhou, Ziwei Liu, Dongsheng Li

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Confidence calibration is of great importance to the reliability of decisions made by machine learning systems. However, discriminative classifiers based on deep neural networks are often criticized for producing overconfident predictions that fail to reflect the true correctness likelihood of classification accuracy. We argue that such an inability to model uncertainty is mainly caused by the closed-world nature in softmax: a model trained by the cross-entropy loss will be forced to classify input into one of K pre-defined categories with high probability. To address this problem, we for the first time propose a novel K+1-way softmax formulation, which incorporates the modeling of open-world uncertainty as the extra dimension. To unify the learning of the original K-way classification task and the extra dimension that models uncertainty, we 1) propose a novel energy-based objective function, and moreover, 2) theoretically prove that optimizing such an objective essentially forces the extra dimension to capture the marginal data distribution. Extensive experiments show that our approach, Energy-based Open-World Softmax (EOW-Softmax), is superior to existing state-of-the-art methods in improving confidence calibration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2021 IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision, ICCV 2021
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781665428125
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
Event18th IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision, ICCV 2021 - Virtual, Online, Canada
Duration: Oct 11 2021Oct 17 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision
ISSN (Print)1550-5499


Conference18th IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision, ICCV 2021
CityVirtual, Online

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


Dive into the research topics of 'Energy-Based Open-World Uncertainty Modeling for Confidence Calibration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this