Frequency Attention for Knowledge Distillation

Cuong Pham, Van-Anh Nguyen, Trung Le, Dinh Phung, Gustavo Carneiro, Thanh-Toan Do; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision (WACV), 2024, pp. 2277-2286


Knowledge distillation is an attractive approach for learning compact deep neural networks, which learns a lightweight student model by distilling knowledge from a complex teacher model. Attention-based knowledge distillation is a specific form of intermediate feature-based knowledge distillation that uses attention mechanisms to encourage the student to better mimic the teacher. However, most of the previous attention-based distillation approaches perform attention in the spatial domain, which primarily affects local regions in the input image. This may not be sufficient when we need to capture the broader context or global information necessary for effective knowledge transfer. In frequency domain, since each frequency is determined from all pixels of the image in spatial domain, it can contain global information about the image. Inspired by the benefits of the frequency domain, we propose a novel module that functions as an attention mechanism in the frequency domain. The module consists of a learnable global filter that can adjust the frequencies of student's features under the guidance of the teacher's features, which encourages the student's features to have patterns similar to the teacher's features. We then propose an enhanced knowledge review-based distillation model by leveraging the proposed frequency attention module. The extensive experiments with various teacher and student architectures on image classification and object detection benchmark datasets show that the proposed approach outperforms other knowledge distillation methods.

Related Material

[pdf] [supp]
@InProceedings{Pham_2024_WACV, author = {Pham, Cuong and Nguyen, Van-Anh and Le, Trung and Phung, Dinh and Carneiro, Gustavo and Do, Thanh-Toan}, title = {Frequency Attention for Knowledge Distillation}, booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision (WACV)}, month = {January}, year = {2024}, pages = {2277-2286} }