Knowledge Distillation via Route Constrained Optimization

Xiao Jin, Baoyun Peng, Yichao Wu, Yu Liu, Jiaheng Liu, Ding Liang, Junjie Yan, Xiaolin Hu; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2019, pp. 1345-1354


Distillation-based learning boosts the performance of the miniaturized neural network based on the hypothesis that the representation of a teacher model can be used as structured and relatively weak supervision, and thus would be easily learned by a miniaturized model. However, we find that the representation of a converged heavy model is still a strong constraint for training a small student model, which leads to a higher lower bound of congruence loss. In this work, we consider the knowledge distillation from the perspective of curriculum learning by teacher's routing. Instead of supervising the student model with a converged teacher model, we supervised it with some anchor points selected from the route in parameter space that the teacher model passed by, as we called route constrained optimization (RCO). We experimentally demonstrate this simple operation greatly reduces the lower bound of congruence loss for knowledge distillation, hint and mimicking learning. On close-set classification tasks like CIFAR and ImageNet, RCO improves knowledge distillation by 2.14% and 1.5% respectively. For the sake of evaluating the generalization, we also test RCO on the open-set face recognition task MegaFace. RCO achieves 84.3% accuracy on one-to-million task with only 0.8 M parameters, which push the SOTA by a large margin.

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author = {Jin, Xiao and Peng, Baoyun and Wu, Yichao and Liu, Yu and Liu, Jiaheng and Liang, Ding and Yan, Junjie and Hu, Xiaolin},
title = {Knowledge Distillation via Route Constrained Optimization},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)},
month = {October},
year = {2019}