Stylist: Style-Driven Feature Ranking for Robust Novelty Detection

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Stylist: Style-Driven Feature Ranking for Robust Novelty Detection


Stefan Smeu, Elena Burceanu, Emanuela Haller, Andrei Liviu Nicolicioiu


Novelty detection aims at finding samples that differ in some form from the distribution of seen samples. But not all changes are created equal. Data can suffer a multitude of distribution shifts, and we might want to detect only some types of relevant changes. Similar to works in out-of-distribution generalization, we propose to use the formalization of separating into semantic or content changes, that are relevant to our task, and style changes, that are irrelevant. Within this formalization, we define the robust novelty detection as the task of finding semantic changes while being robust to style distributional shifts. Leveraging pretrained, large-scale model representations, we introduce Stylist, a novel method that focuses on dropping environment-biased features. First, we compute a per-feature score based on the feature distribution distances between environments. Next, we show that our selection manages to remove features responsible for spurious correlations and improve novelty detection performance. For evaluation, we adapt domain generalization datasets to our task and analyze the methods behaviors. We additionally built a large synthetic dataset where we have control over the spurious correlations degree. We prove that our selection mechanism improves novelty detection algorithms across multiple datasets, containing both stylistic and content shifts.

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