PACT: Parameterized Clipping Activation for Quantized Neural Networks


Nov 03, 2017 (modified: Dec 12, 2017) ICLR 2018 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Deep learning algorithms achieve high classification accuracy at the expense of significant computation cost. To address this cost, a number of quantization schemeshave been proposed - but most of these techniques focused on quantizing weights, which are relatively smaller in size compared to activations. This paper proposes a novel quantization scheme for activations during training - that enables neural networks to work well with ultra low precision weights and activations without any significant accuracy degradation. This technique, PArameterized Clipping acTi-vation (PACT), uses an activation clipping parameter α that is optimized duringtraining to find the right quantization scale. PACT allows quantizing activations toarbitrary bit precisions, while achieving much better accuracy relative to publishedstate-of-the-art quantization schemes. We show, for the first time, that both weights and activations can be quantized to 4-bits of precision while still achieving accuracy comparable to full precision networks across a range of popular models and datasets. We also show that exploiting these reduced-precision computational units in hardware can enable a super-linear improvement in inferencing performance dueto a significant reduction in the area of accelerator compute engines coupled with the ability to retain the quantized model and activation data in on-chip memories.
  • TL;DR: A new way of quantizing activation of Deep Neural Network via parameterized clipping which optimizes the quantization scale via stochastic gradient descent.
  • Keywords: deep learning, quantized deep neural network, activation quantization