Importance Estimation for Neural Network Pruning

Pavlo Molchanov, Arun Mallya, Stephen Tyree, Iuri Frosio, Jan Kautz; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2019, pp. 11264-11272


Structural pruning of neural network parameters reduces computational, energy, and memory transfer costs during inference. We propose a novel method that estimates the contribution of a neuron (filter) to the final loss and iteratively removes those with smaller scores. We describe two variations of our method using the first and second-order Taylor expansions to approximate a filter's contribution. Both methods scale consistently across any network layer without requiring per-layer sensitivity analysis and can be applied to any kind of layer, including skip connections. For modern networks trained on ImageNet, we measured experimentally a high (>93%) correlation between the contribution computed by our methods and a reliable estimate of the true importance. Pruning with the proposed methods led to an improvement over state-of-the-art in terms of accuracy, FLOPs, and parameter reduction. On ResNet-101, we achieve a 40% FLOPS reduction by removing 30% of the parameters, with a loss of 0.02% in the top-1 accuracy on ImageNet.

Related Material

[pdf] [supp]
author = {Molchanov, Pavlo and Mallya, Arun and Tyree, Stephen and Frosio, Iuri and Kautz, Jan},
title = {Importance Estimation for Neural Network Pruning},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
month = {June},
year = {2019}