A "Network Pruning Network'' Approach to Deep Model Compression

Vinay Kumar Verma, Pravendra Singh, Vinay Namboodri, Piyush Rai; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision (WACV), 2020, pp. 3009-3018


We present a filter pruning approach for deep model compression, using a multitask network. Our approach is based on learning a a pruner network to prune a pre-trained target network. The pruner is essentially a multitask deep neural network with binary outputs that help identify the filters from each layer of the original network that do not have any significant contribution to the model and can therefore be pruned. The pruner network has the same architecture as the original network except that it has a multitask/multi-output last layer containing binary-valued outputs (one per filter), which indicate which filters have to be pruned. The pruner's goal is to minimize the number of filters from the original network by assigning zero weights to the corresponding output feature-maps. In contrast to most of the existing methods, instead of relying on iterative pruning, our approach can prune the network (original network) in one go and, moreover, does not require specifying the degree of pruning for each layer (and can learn it instead). The compressed model produced by our approach is generic and does not need any special hardware/software support. Moreover, augmenting with other methods such as knowledge distillation, quantization, and connection pruning can increase the degree of compression for the proposed approach. We show the efficacy of our proposed approach for classification and object detection tasks.

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author = {Verma, Vinay Kumar and Singh, Pravendra and Namboodri, Vinay and Rai, Piyush},
title = {A "Network Pruning Network'' Approach to Deep Model Compression},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Winter Conference on Applications of Computer Vision (WACV)},
month = {March},
year = {2020}