Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: State-of-the-art deep neural networks (DNNs) typically have tens of millions of parameters, which might not fit into the upper levels of the memory hierarchy, thus increasing the inference time and energy consumption significantly, and prohibiting their use on edge devices such as mobile phones. The compression of DNN models has therefore become an active area of research recently, with \emph{connection pruning} emerging as one of the most successful strategies. A very natural approach is to prune connections of DNNs via $\ell_1$ regularization, but recent empirical investigations have suggested that this does not work as well in the context of DNN compression. In this work, we revisit this simple strategy and analyze it rigorously, to show that: (a) any \emph{stationary point} of an $\ell_1$-regularized layerwise-pruning objective has its number of non-zero elements bounded by the number of penalized prediction logits, regardless of the strength of the regularization; (b) successful pruning highly relies on an accurate optimization solver, and there is a trade-off between compression speed and distortion of prediction accuracy, controlled by the strength of regularization. Our theoretical results thus suggest that $\ell_1$ pruning could be successful provided we use an accurate optimization solver. We corroborate this in our experiments, where we show that simple $\ell_1$ regularization with an Adamax-L1(cumulative) solver gives pruning ratio competitive to the state-of-the-art.
  • Keywords: L1 regularization, deep neural network, deep compression
  • TL;DR: We revisit the simple idea of pruning connections of DNNs through $\ell_1$ regularization achieving state-of-the-art results on multiple datasets with theoretic guarantees.
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