Learning Filter Pruning Criteria for Deep Convolutional Neural Networks Acceleration

CVPR 2020

Authors: Yang He, Yuhang Ding, Ping Liu, Linchao Zhu, Hanwang Zhang, Yi Yang Description: Filter pruning has been widely applied to neural network compression and acceleration. Existing methods usually utilize pre-defined pruning criteria, such as Lp-norm, to prune unimportant filters. There are two major limitations to these methods. First, existing methods fail to consider the variety of filter distribution across layers. To extract features of the coarse level to the fine level, the filters of different layers have various distributions. Therefore, it is not suitable to utilize the same pruning criteria to different functional layers. Second, prevailing layer-by-layer pruning methods process each layer independently and sequentially, failing to consider that all the layers in the network collaboratively make the final prediction. In this paper, we propose Learning Filter Pruning Criteria (LFPC) to solve the above problems. Specifically, we develop a differentiable pruning criteria sampler. This sampler is learnable and optimized by the validation loss of the pruned network obtained from the sampled criteria. In this way, we could adaptively select the appropriate pruning criteria for different functional layers. Besides, when evaluating the sampled criteria, LFPC comprehensively consider the contribution of all the layers at the same time. Experiments validate our approach on three image classification benchmarks. Notably, on ILSVRC-2012, our LFPC reduces more than 60% FLOPs on ResNet-50 with only 0.83% top-5 accuracy loss.