Few Sample Knowledge Distillation for Efficient Network Compression

CVPR 2020

Authors: Tianhong Li, Jianguo Li, Zhuang Liu, Changshui Zhang Description: Deep neural network compression techniques such as pruning and weight tensor decomposition usually require fine-tuning to recover the prediction accuracy when the compression ratio is high. However, conventional fine-tuning suffers from the requirement of a large training set and the time-consuming training procedure. This paper proposes a novel solution for knowledge distillation from label-free few samples to realize both data efficiency and training/processing efficiency. We treat the original network as teacher-net and the compressed network as student-net. A 1x1 convolution layer is added at the end of each layer block of the student-net, and we fit the block-level outputs of the student-net to the teacher-net by estimating the parameters of the added layers. We prove that the added layer can be merged without adding extra parameters and computation cost during inference. Experiments on multiple datasets and network architectures verify the method's effectiveness on student-nets obtained by various network pruning and weight decomposition methods. Our method can recover student-net's accuracy to the same level as conventional fine-tuning methods in minutes while using only 1% label-free data of the full training data.