Abstract: There has been a proliferation of artificial intelligence applications, where model training is key to promising high-quality services for these applications. However, the model training process is both time-intensive and energy-intensive, inevitably affecting the user's demand for application efficiency. Layer freezing, an efficient model training technique, has been proposed to improve training efficiency. Although existing layer freezing methods demonstrate the great potential to reduce model training costs, they still remain shortcomings such as lacking generalizability and compromised accuracy. For instance, existing layer freezing methods either require the freeze configurations to be manually defined before training, which does not apply to different networks, or use heuristic freezing criteria that is hard to guarantee decent accuracy in different scenarios. Therefore, there lacks a generic and smart layer freezing method that can automatically perform ``in-situation'' layer freezing for different networks during training processes. To this end, we propose a generic and efficient training framework (SmartFRZ). The core proposed technique in SmartFRZ is attention-guided layer freezing, which can automatically select the appropriate layers to freeze without compromising accuracy. Experimental results show that SmartFRZ effectively reduces the amount of computation in training and achieves significant training acceleration, and outperforms the state-of-the-art layer freezing approaches.
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