skip to main content

Title: pSConv: A Pre-defined Sparse Kernel Based Convolution for Deep CNNs
The high demand for computational and storage resources severely impedes the deployment of deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) in limited resource devices. Recent CNN architectures have proposed reduced complexity versions (e.g,. SuffleNet and MobileNet) but at the cost of modest decreases in accuracy. This paper proposes pSConv, a pre-defined sparse 2D kernel based convolution, which promises significant improvements in the trade-off between complexity and accuracy for both CNN training and inference. To explore the potential of this approach, we have experimented with two widely accepted datasets, CIFAR-10 and Tiny ImageNet, in sparse variants of both the ResNet18 and VGG16 architectures. Our approach shows a parameter count reduction of up to 4.24× with modest degradation in classification accuracy relative to that of standard CNNs. Our approach outperforms a popular variant of ShuffleNet using a variant of ResNet18 with pSConv having 3 × 3 kernels with only four of nine elements not fixed at zero. In particular, the parameter count is reduced by 1.7× for CIFAR-10 and 2.29× for Tiny ImageNet with an increased accuracy of ~ 4%.
; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
2019 57th Annual Allerton Conference on Communication, Control, and Computing (Allerton)
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
100 to 107
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. The high energy cost of processing deep convolutional neural networks impedes their ubiquitous deployment in energy-constrained platforms such as embedded systems and IoT devices. This article introduces convolutional layers with pre-defined sparse 2D kernels that have support sets that repeat periodically within and across filters. Due to the efficient storage of our periodic sparse kernels, the parameter savings can translate into considerable improvements in energy efficiency due to reduced DRAM accesses, thus promising significant improvements in the trade-off between energy consumption and accuracy for both training and inference. To evaluate this approach, we performed experiments with two widely accepted datasets, CIFAR-10 and Tiny ImageNet in sparse variants of the ResNet18 and VGG16 architectures. Compared to baseline models, our proposed sparse variants require up to ∼82% fewer model parameters with 5.6× fewer FLOPs with negligible loss in accuracy for ResNet18 on CIFAR-10. For VGG16 trained on Tiny ImageNet, our approach requires 5.8× fewer FLOPs and up to ∼83.3% fewer model parameters with a drop in top-5 (top-1) accuracy of only 1.2% ( ∼2.1% ). We also compared the performance of our proposed architectures with that of ShuffleNet and MobileNetV2. Using similar hyperparameters and FLOPs, our ResNet18 variants yield an average accuracymore »improvement of ∼2.8% .« less
  2. CNNs (Convolutional Neural Networks) are becoming increasingly important for real-time applications, such as image classification in traffic control, visual surveillance, and smart manufacturing. It is challenging, however, to meet timing constraints of image processing tasks using CNNs due to their complexity. Performing dynamic trade-offs between the inference accuracy and time for image data analysis in CNNs is challenging too, since we observe that more complex CNNs that take longer to run even lead to lower accuracy in many cases by evaluating hundreds of CNN models in terms of time and accuracy using two popular data sets, MNIST and CIFAR-10. To address these challenges, we propose a new approach that (1) generates CNN models and analyzes their average inference time and accuracy for image classification, (2) stores a small subset of the CNNs with monotonic time and accuracy relationships offline, and (3) efficiently selects an effective CNN expected to support the highest possible accuracy among the stored CNNs subject to the remaining time to the deadline at run time. In our extensive evaluation, we verify that the CNNs derived by our approach are more flexible and cost-efficient than two baseline approaches. We verify that our approach can effectively build a compactmore »set of CNNs and efficiently support systematic time vs. accuracy trade-offs, if necessary, to meet the user-specified timing and accuracy requirements. Moreover, the overhead of our approach is little/acceptable in terms of latency and memory consumption.« less
  3. With the success of Deep Neural Networks (DNN), many recent works have been focusing on developing hardware accelerator for power and resource-limited system via model compression techniques, such as quantization, pruning, low-rank approximation and etc. However, almost all existing compressed DNNs are fixed after deployment, which lacks run-time adaptive structure to adapt to its dynamic hardware resource allocation, power budget, throughput requirement, as well as dynamic workload. As the countermeasure, to construct a novel run-time dynamic DNN structure, we propose a novel DNN sub-network sampling method via non-uniform channel selection for subnets generation. Thus, user can trade off between power, speed, computing load and accuracy on-the-fly after the deployment, depending on the dynamic requirements or specifications of the given system. We verify the proposed model on both CIFAR-10 and ImageNet dataset using ResNets, which outperforms the same sub-nets trained individually and other related works. It shows that, our method can achieve latency trade-off among 13.4, 24.6, 41.3, 62.1(ms) and 30.5, 38.7, 51, 65.4(ms) for GPU with 128 batch-size and CPU respectively on ImageNet using ResNet18.
  4. Pruning the parameters of deep neural networks has generated intense interest due to potential savings in time, memory and energy both during training and at test time. Recent works have identified, through an expensive sequence of training and pruning cycles, the existence of winning lottery tickets or sparse trainable subnetworks at initialization. This raises a foundational question: can we identify highly sparse trainable subnetworks at initialization, without ever training, or indeed without ever looking at the data? We provide an affirmative answer to this question through theory driven algorithm design. We first mathematically formulate and experimentally verify a conservation law that explains why existing gradient-based pruning algorithms at initialization suffer from layer-collapse, the premature pruning of an entire layer rendering a network untrainable. This theory also elucidates how layer-collapse can be entirely avoided, motivating a novel pruning algorithm Iterative Synaptic Flow Pruning (SynFlow). This algorithm can be interpreted as preserving the total flow of synaptic strengths through the network at initialization subject to a sparsity constraint. Notably, this algorithm makes no reference to the training data and consistently competes with or outperforms existing state-of-the-art pruning algorithms at initialization over a range of models (VGG and ResNet), datasets (CIFAR-10/100 and Tinymore »ImageNet), and sparsity constraints (up to 99.99 percent). Thus our data-agnostic pruning algorithm challenges the existing paradigm that, at initialization, data must be used to quantify which synapses are important.« less
  5. DenseNets introduce concatenation-type skip connections that achieve state-of-the-art accuracy in several computer vision tasks. In this paper, we reveal that the topology of the concatenation-type skip connections is closely related to the gradient propagation which, in turn, enables a predictable behavior of DNNs’ test performance. To this end, we introduce a new metric called NN-Mass to quantify how effectively information flows through DNNs. Moreover, we empirically show that NN-Mass also works for other types of skip connections, e.g., for ResNets, Wide-ResNets (WRNs), and MobileNets, which contain addition-type skip connections (i.e., residuals or inverted residuals). As such, for both DenseNet-like CNNs and ResNets/WRNs/MobileNets, our theoretically grounded NN-Mass can identify models with similar accuracy, despite having significantly different size/compute requirements. Detailed experiments on both synthetic and real datasets (e.g., MNIST, CIFAR-10, CIFAR-100, ImageNet) provide extensive evidence for our insights. Finally, the closed-form equation of our NN-Mass enables us to design significantly compressed DenseNets (for CIFAR-10) and MobileNets (for ImageNet) directly at initialization without time-consuming training and/or searching.