Stabilizing DARTS with Amended Gradient Estimation on Architectural ParametersDownload PDF

25 Sep 2019 (modified: 24 Dec 2019)ICLR 2020 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
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  • TL;DR: An improved optimization of differentiable NAS that largely improves search stability
  • Abstract: Differentiable neural architecture search has been a popular methodology of exploring architectures for deep learning. Despite the great advantage of search efficiency, it often suffers weak stability, which obstacles it from being applied to a large search space or being flexibly adjusted to different scenarios. This paper investigates DARTS, the currently most popular differentiable search algorithm, and points out an important factor of instability, which lies in its approximation on the gradients of architectural parameters. In the current status, the optimization algorithm can converge to another point which results in dramatic inaccuracy in the re-training process. Based on this analysis, we propose an amending term for computing architectural gradients by making use of a direct property of the optimality of network parameter optimization. Our approach mathematically guarantees that gradient estimation follows a roughly correct direction, which leads the search stage to converge on reasonable architectures. In practice, our algorithm is easily implemented and added to DARTS-based approaches efficiently. Experiments on CIFAR and ImageNet demonstrate that our approach enjoys accuracy gain and, more importantly, enables DARTS-based approaches to explore much larger search spaces that have not been studied before.
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  • Keywords: Neural Architecture Search, DARTS, Stability
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