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A novel channel pruning method for deep neural network compression

arXiv.org Machine Learning

In recent years, deep neural networks have achieved great success in the field of computer vision. However, it is still a big challenge to deploy these deep models on resource-constrained embedded devices such as mobile robots, smart phones and so on. Therefore, network compression for such platforms is a reasonable solution to reduce memory consumption and computation complexity. In this paper, a novel channel pruning method based on genetic algorithm is proposed to compress very deep Convolution Neural Networks (CNNs). Firstly, a pre-trained CNN model is pruned layer by layer according to the sensitivity of each layer. After that, the pruned model is fine-tuned based on knowledge distillation framework. These two improvements significantly decrease the model redundancy with less accuracy drop. Channel selection is a combinatorial optimization problem that has exponential solution space. In order to accelerate the selection process, the proposed method formulates it as a search problem, which can be solved efficiently by genetic algorithm. Meanwhile, a two-step approximation fitness function is designed to further improve the efficiency of genetic process. The proposed method has been verified on three benchmark datasets with two popular CNN models: VGGNet and ResNet. On the CIFAR-100 and ImageNet datasets, our approach outperforms several state-of-the-art methods. On the CIFAR-10 and SVHN datasets, the pruned VGGNet achieves better performance than the original model with 8 times parameters compression and 3 times FLOPs reduction.


PruneNet: Channel Pruning via Global Importance

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Channel pruning is one of the predominant approaches for accelerating deep neural networks. Most existing pruning methods either train from scratch with a sparsity inducing term such as group lasso, or prune redundant channels in a pretrained network and then fine tune the network. Both strategies suffer from some limitations: the use of group lasso is computationally expensive, difficult to converge and often suffers from worse behavior due to the regularization bias. The methods that start with a pretrained network either prune channels uniformly across the layers or prune channels based on the basic statistics of the network parameters. These approaches either ignore the fact that some CNN layers are more redundant than others or fail to adequately identify the level of redundancy in different layers. In this work, we investigate a simple-yet-effective method for pruning channels based on a computationally light-weight yet effective data driven optimization step that discovers the necessary width per layer. Experiments conducted on ILSVRC-$12$ confirm effectiveness of our approach. With non-uniform pruning across the layers on ResNet-$50$, we are able to match the FLOP reduction of state-of-the-art channel pruning results while achieving a $0.98\%$ higher accuracy. Further, we show that our pruned ResNet-$50$ network outperforms ResNet-$34$ and ResNet-$18$ networks, and that our pruned ResNet-$101$ outperforms ResNet-$50$.


PruneTrain: Gradual Structured Pruning from Scratch for Faster Neural Network Training

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Model pruning is a popular mechanism to make a network more efficient for inference. In this paper, we explore the use of pruning to also make the training of such neural networks more efficient. Unlike all prior model pruning methods that sparsify a pre-trained model and then prune it, we train the network from scratch, while gradually and structurally pruning parameters during the training. We build on our key observations: 1) once parameters are sparsified via regularization, they rarely re-appear in later steps, and 2) setting the appropriate regularization penalty at the beginning of training effectively converges the loss. We train ResNet and VGG networks on CIFAR10/100 and ImageNet datasets from scratch, and achieve 30-50% improvement in training FLOPs and 20-30% improvement in measured training time on modern GPUs.


SMOF: Squeezing More Out of Filters Yields Hardware-Friendly CNN Pruning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

For many years, the family of convolutional neural networks (CNNs) has been a workhorse in deep learning. Recently, many novel CNN structures have been designed to address increasingly challenging tasks. To make them work efficiently on edge devices, researchers have proposed various structured network pruning strategies to reduce their memory and computational cost. However, most of them only focus on reducing the number of filter channels per layer without considering the redundancy within individual filter channels. In this work, we explore pruning from another dimension, the kernel size. We develop a CNN pruning framework called SMOF, which Squeezes More Out of Filters by reducing both kernel size and the number of filter channels. Notably, SMOF is friendly to standard hardware devices without any customized low-level implementations, and the pruning effort by kernel size reduction does not suffer from the fixed-size width constraint in SIMD units of general-purpose processors. The pruned networks can be deployed effortlessly with significant running time reduction. We also support these claims via extensive experiments on various CNN structures and general-purpose processors for mobile devices.


Holistic Filter Pruning for Efficient Deep Neural Networks

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Deep neural networks (DNNs) are usually over-parameterized to increase the likelihood of getting adequate initial weights by random initialization. Consequently, trained DNNs have many redundancies which can be pruned from the model to reduce complexity and improve the ability to generalize. Structural sparsity, as achieved by filter pruning, directly reduces the tensor sizes of weights and activations and is thus particularly effective for reducing complexity. We propose "Holistic Filter Pruning" (HFP), a novel approach for common DNN training that is easy to implement and enables to specify accurate pruning rates for the number of both parameters and multiplications. After each forward pass, the current model complexity is calculated and compared to the desired target size. By gradient descent, a global solution can be found that allocates the pruning budget over the individual layers such that the desired target size is fulfilled. In various experiments, we give insights into the training and achieve state-of-the-art performance on CIFAR-10 and ImageNet (HFP prunes 60% of the multiplications of ResNet-50 on ImageNet with no significant loss in the accuracy). We believe our simple and powerful pruning approach to constitute a valuable contribution for users of DNNs in low-cost applications.