Deeply-Supervised Knowledge Synergy

Dawei Sun, Anbang Yao, Aojun Zhou, Hao Zhao; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2019, pp. 6997-7006


Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) have become deeper and more complicated compared with the pioneering AlexNet. However, current prevailing training scheme follows the previous way of adding supervision to the last layer of the network only and propagating error information up layer-by-layer. In this paper, we propose Deeply-supervised Knowledge Synergy (DKS), a new method aiming to train CNNs with improved generalization ability for image classification tasks without introducing extra computational cost during inference. Inspired by the deeply-supervised learning scheme, we first append auxiliary supervision branches on top of certain intermediate network layers. While properly using auxiliary supervision can improve model accuracy to some degree, we go one step further to explore the possibility of utilizing the probabilistic knowledge dynamically learnt by the classifiers connected to the backbone network as a new regularization to improve the training. A novel synergy loss, which considers pairwise knowledge matching among all supervision branches, is presented. Intriguingly, it enables dense pairwise knowledge matching operations in both top-down and bottom-up directions at each training iteration, resembling a dynamic synergy process for the same task. We evaluate DKS on image classification datasets using state-of-the-art CNN architectures, and show that the models trained with it are consistently better than the corresponding counterparts. For instance, on the ImageNet classification benchmark, our ResNet-152 model outperforms the baseline model with a 1.47% margin in Top-1 accuracy. Code is available at

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author = {Sun, Dawei and Yao, Anbang and Zhou, Aojun and Zhao, Hao},
title = {Deeply-Supervised Knowledge Synergy},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
month = {June},
year = {2019}