To Filter Prune, or to Layer Prune, That Is The Question

Sara Elkerdawy, Mostafa Elhoushi, Abhineet Singh, Hong Zhang, Nilanjan Ray; Proceedings of the Asian Conference on Computer Vision (ACCV), 2020


Recent advances in pruning of neural networks have made it possible to remove a large number of filters or weights without any perceptible drop in accuracy. The number of parameters and that of FLOPs are usually the reported metrics to measure the quality of the pruned models. However, the gain in speed for these pruned models is often overlooked in the literature due to the complex nature of latency measurements. In this paper, we show the limitation of filter pruning methods in terms of latency reduction and propose LayerPrune framework. LayerPrune presents a set of layer pruning methods based on different criteria that achieve higher latency reduction than filter pruning methods on similar accuracy. The advantage of layer pruning over filter pruning in terms of latency reduction is a result of the fact that the former is not constrained by the original model's depth and thus allows for a larger range of latency reduction. For each filter pruning method we examined, we use the same filter importance criterion to calculate a per-layer importance score in one-shot. We then prune the least important layers and fine-tune the shallower model which obtains comparable or better accuracy than its filter-based pruning counterpart. This one-shot process allows to remove layers from single path networks like VGG before fine-tuning, unlike in iterative filter pruning, a minimum number of filters per layer is required to allow for data flow which constraint the search space. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to examine the effect of pruning methods on latency metric instead of FLOPs for multiple networks, datasets and hardware targets. LayerPrune also outperforms handcrafted architectures such as Shufflenet, MobileNet, MNASNet and ResNet18 by 7.3%, 4.6%, 2.8% and 0.5% respectively on similar latency budget on ImageNet dataset.

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@InProceedings{Elkerdawy_2020_ACCV, author = {Elkerdawy, Sara and Elhoushi, Mostafa and Singh, Abhineet and Zhang, Hong and Ray, Nilanjan}, title = {To Filter Prune, or to Layer Prune, That Is The Question}, booktitle = {Proceedings of the Asian Conference on Computer Vision (ACCV)}, month = {November}, year = {2020} }