MaskConvNet: Training Efficient ConvNets from Scratch via Budget-constrained Filter PruningDownload PDF

25 Sep 2019 (modified: 24 Dec 2019)ICLR 2020 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
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  • Abstract: In this paper, we propose a framework, called MaskConvNet, for ConvNets filter pruning. MaskConvNet provides elegant support for training budget-aware pruned networks from scratch, by adding a simple mask module to a ConvNet architecture. MaskConvNet enjoys several advantages - (1) Flexible, the mask module can be integrated with any ConvNets in a plug-and-play manner. (2) Simple, the mask module is implemented by a hard Sigmoid function with a small number of trainable mask variables, adding negligible memory and computational overheads to the networks during training. (3) Effective, it is able to achieve competitive pruning rate while maintaining comparable accuracy with the baseline ConvNets without pruning, regardless of the datasets and ConvNet architectures used. (4) Fast, it is observed that the number of training epochs required by MaskConvNet is close to training a baseline without pruning. (5) Budget-aware, with a sparsity budget on target metric (e.g. model size and FLOP), MaskConvNet is able to train in a way that the optimizer can adaptively sparsify the network and automatically maintain sparsity level, till the pruned network produces good accuracy and fulfill the budget constraint simultaneously. Results on CIFAR-10 and ImageNet with several ConvNet architectures show that MaskConvNet works competitively well compared to previous pruning methods, with budget-constraint well respected. Code is available at We hope MaskConvNet, as a simple and general pruning framework, can address the gaps in existing literate and advance future studies to push the boundaries of neural network pruning.
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  • Keywords: Structured Pruning, Sparsity Regularization, Budget-Aware
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