Distribution Consistent Neural Architecture Search

Junyi Pan, Chong Sun, Yizhou Zhou, Ying Zhang, Chen Li; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2022, pp. 10884-10893


Recent progress on neural architecture search (NAS) has demonstrated exciting results on automating deep network architecture designs. In order to overcome the unaffordable complexity of training each candidate architecture from scratch, the state-of-the-art one-shot NAS approaches adopt a weight-sharing strategy to improve training efficiency. Although the computational cost is greatly reduced, such one-shot process introduces a severe weight coupling problem that largely degrades the evaluation accuracy of each candidate. The existing approaches often address the problem by shrinking the search space, model distillation, or few-shot training. Instead, in this paper, we propose a novel distribution consistent one-shot neural architecture search algorithm. We first theoretically investigate how the weight coupling problem affects the network searching performance from a parameter distribution perspective, and then propose a novel supernet training strategy with a Distribution Consistent Constraint that can provide a good measurement for the extent to which two architectures can share weights. Our strategy optimizes the supernet through iteratively inferring network weights and corresponding local sharing states. Such joint optimization of supernet's weights and topologies can diminish the discrepancy between the weights inherited from the supernet and the ones that are trained with a stand-alone model. As a result, it enables a more accurate model evaluation phase and leads to a better searching performance. We conduct extensive experiments on benchmark datasets with multiple searching spaces. The resulting architecture achieves superior performance over the current state-of-the-art NAS algorithms with comparable search costs, which demonstrates the efficacy of our approach.

Related Material

@InProceedings{Pan_2022_CVPR, author = {Pan, Junyi and Sun, Chong and Zhou, Yizhou and Zhang, Ying and Li, Chen}, title = {Distribution Consistent Neural Architecture Search}, booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)}, month = {June}, year = {2022}, pages = {10884-10893} }