Learning to Prune Deep Neural Networks via Reinforcement Learning

ICML 2020

This paper proposes PuRL - a deep reinforcement learning (RL) based algorithm for pruning neural networks. Unlike current RL based model compression approaches where feedback is given only at the end of each episode to the agent, PuRL provides rewards at every pruning step. This enables PuRL to achieve sparsity and accuracy comparable to current state-of-the-art methods, while having a much shorter training cycle. PuRL achieves more than 80% sparsity on the ResNet-50 model while retaining a Top-1 accuracy of 75.37% on the ImageNet dataset. Through our experiments we show that PuRL is also able to sparsify already efficient architectures like MobileNet-V2. In addition to performance characterisation experiments, we also provide a discussion and analysis of the various RL design choices that went into the tuning of the Markov Decision Process underlying PuRL. Lastly, we point out that PuRL is simple to use and can be easily adapted for various architectures. Speakers: Manas Gupta, Siddharth Aravindan, Aleksandra Kalisz, Vijay Chandrasekhar, Lin Jie