Breaking Neural Reasoning Architectures With Metamorphic Relation-Based Adversarial Examples

Alvin Chan, Lei Ma, Felix Juefei-Xu, Yew Soon Ong, Xiaofei Xie, Minhui Xue, Yang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The ability to read, reason, and infer lies at the heart of neural reasoning architectures. After all, the ability to perform logical reasoning over language remains a coveted goal of Artificial Intelligence. To this end, models such as the Turing-complete differentiable neural computer (DNC) boast of real logical reasoning capabilities, along with the ability to reason beyond simple surface-level matching. In this brief, we propose the first probe into DNC's logical reasoning capabilities with a focus on text-based question answering (QA). More concretely, we propose a conceptually simple but effective adversarial attack based on metamorphic relations. Our proposed adversarial attack reduces DNCs' state-of-the-art accuracy from 100% to 1.5% in the worst case, exposing weaknesses and susceptibilities in modern neural reasoning architectures. We further empirically explore possibilities to defend against such attacks and demonstrate the utility of our adversarial framework as a simple scalable method to improve model adversarial robustness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6976-6982
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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