NICE: noise injection and clamping estimation for neural network quantization

Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) are very popular in many fields including computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing, to name a few. Though deep learning leads to groundbreaking performance in these domains, the networks used are very demanding computationally and are far from real-time even on a GPU, which is not power efficient and therefore does not suit low power systems such as mobile devices. To overcome this challenge, some solutions have been proposed for quantizing the weights and activations of these networks, which accelerate the runtime significantly. Yet, this acceleration comes at the cost of a larger error. The NICE method proposed in this work trains quantized neural networks by noise injection and a learned clamping, which improve the accuracy. This leads to state-of-the-art results on various regression and classification tasks, e.g., ImageNet classification with architectures such as ResNet-18/34/50 with low as 3-bit weights and 3 -bit activations. We implement the proposed solution on an FPGA to demonstrate its applicability for low power real-time applications.
  • Keywords: Efficient inference, Hardware-efficient model architectures, Quantization
  • TL;DR: Combine noise injection, gradual quantization and activation clamping learning to achieve state-of-the-art 3,4 and 5 bit quantization
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