Low-Bit Quantization Needs Good Distribution

Haibao Yu, Tuopu Wen, Guangliang Cheng, Jiankai Sun, Qi Han, Jianping Shi; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) Workshops, 2020, pp. 680-681


Low-bit quantization is challenging to maintain high performance with limited model capacity (e.g., 4-bit for both weights and activations). Naturally, the distribution of both weights and activations in deep neural network are Gaussian-like. Nevertheless, due to the limited bitwidth of low-bit model, uniform-like distributed weights and activations have been proved to be more friendly to quantization while preserving accuracy. Motivated by this, we propose Scale-Clip, a Distribution Reshaping technique that can reshape weights or activations into a uniform-like distribution in a dynamic manner. Furthermore, to increase the model capability for a low-bit model, a novel Group-based Quantization algorithm is proposed to split the filters into several groups. Different groups can learn different quantization parameters, which can be elegantly merged into batch normalization layer without extra computational cost in the inference stage. Finally, we integrate Scale-Clip technique with Group-based Quantization algorithm and propose the Group-based Distribution Reshaping Quantization (GDRQ) framework to further improve the quantization performance. Experiments on various networks (e.g. VGGNet and ResNet) and vision tasks (e.g. classification, detection, and segmentation) demonstrate that our framework achieves much better performance than state-of-the-art quantization methods. Specifically, the ResNet-50 model with 2-bit weights and 4-bit activations obtained by our framework achieves less than 1% accuracy drop on ImageNet classification task, which is a new state-of-the-art to our best knowledge.

Related Material

author = {Yu, Haibao and Wen, Tuopu and Cheng, Guangliang and Sun, Jiankai and Han, Qi and Shi, Jianping},
title = {Low-Bit Quantization Needs Good Distribution},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) Workshops},
month = {June},
year = {2020}