Growing a Brain: Fine-Tuning by Increasing Model Capacity

Yu-Xiong Wang, Deva Ramanan, Martial Hebert; Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2017, pp. 2471-2480


CNNs have made an undeniable impact on computer vision through the ability to learn high-capacity models with large annotated training sets. One of their remarkable properties is the ability to transfer knowledge from a large source dataset to a (typically smaller) target dataset. This is usually accomplished through fine-tuning a fixed-size network on new target data. Indeed, virtually every contemporary visual recognition system makes use of fine-tuning to transfer knowledge from ImageNet. In this work, we analyze what components and parameters change during fine-tuning, and discover that increasing model capacity allows for more natural model adaptation through fine-tuning. By making an analogy to developmental learning, we demonstrate that growing a CNN with additional units, either by widening existing layers or deepening the overall network, significantly outperforms classic fine-tuning approaches. But in order to properly grow a network, we show that newly-added units must be appropriately normalized to allow for a pace of learning that is consistent with existing units. We empirically validate our approach on several benchmark datasets, producing state-of-the-art results.

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[pdf] [arXiv]
author = {Wang, Yu-Xiong and Ramanan, Deva and Hebert, Martial},
title = {Growing a Brain: Fine-Tuning by Increasing Model Capacity},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
month = {July},
year = {2017}