Heterogeneous Bitwidth Binarization in Convolutional Neural Networks

Josh Fromm, Matthai Philipose, Shwetak Patel

Feb 15, 2018 (modified: Oct 27, 2017) ICLR 2018 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Recent work has shown that performing inference with fast, very-low-bitwidth (e.g., 1 to 2 bits) representations of values in models can yield surprisingly accurate results. However, although 2-bit approximated networks have been shown to be quite accurate, 1 bit approximations, which are twice as fast, have restrictively low accuracy. We propose a method to train models whose weights are a mixture of bitwidths, that allows us to more finely tune the accuracy/speed trade-off. We present the “middle-out” criterion for determining the bitwidth for each value, and show how to integrate it into training models with a desired mixture of bitwidths. We evaluate several architectures and binarization techniques on the ImageNet dataset. We show that our heterogeneous bitwidth approximation achieves superlinear scaling of accuracy with bitwidth. Using an average of only 1.4 bits, we are able to outperform state-of-the-art 2-bit architectures.
  • TL;DR: We introduce fractional bitwidth approximation and show it has significant advantages.
  • Keywords: Deep Learning, Computer Vision, Approximation
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