- Keywords: weights update, weights importance, weight freezing
- TL;DR: An experimental paper that proves the amount of redundant weights that can be freezed from the third epoch only, with only a very slight drop in accuracy.
- Abstract: In the context of optimization, a gradient of a neural network indicates the amount a specific weight should change with respect to the loss. Therefore, small gradients indicate a good value of the weight that requires no change and can be kept frozen during training. This paper provides an experimental study on the importance of a neural network weights, and to which extent do they need to be updated. We wish to show that starting from the third epoch, freezing weights which have no informative gradient and are less likely to be changed during training, results in a very slight drop in the overall accuracy (and in sometimes better). We experiment on the MNIST, CIFAR10 and Flickr8k datasets using several architectures (VGG19, ResNet-110 and DenseNet-121). On CIFAR10, we show that freezing 80% of the VGG19 network parameters from the third epoch onwards results in 0.24% drop in accuracy, while freezing 50% of Resnet-110 parameters results in 0.9% drop in accuracy and finally freezing 70% of Densnet-121 parameters results in 0.57% drop in accuracy. Furthermore, to experiemnt with real-life applications, we train an image captioning model with attention mechanism on the Flickr8k dataset using LSTM networks, freezing 60% of the parameters from the third epoch onwards, resulting in a better BLEU-4 score than the fully trained model. Our source code can be found in the appendix.