Large neural networks can be pruned to a small fraction of their original size, with little loss in accuracy, by following a time-consuming "train, prune, re-train" approach. Frankle & Carbin conjecture that we can avoid this by training lottery tickets, i.e., special sparse subnetworks found at initialization, that can be trained to high accuracy. However, a subsequent line of work presents concrete evidence that current algorithms for finding trainable networks at initialization, fail simple baseline comparisons, e.g., against training random sparse subnetworks. Finding lottery tickets that train to better accuracy compared to simple baselines remains an open problem. In this work, we resolve this open problem by proposing Gem-Miner which finds lottery tickets at initialization that beat current baselines. Gem-Miner finds lottery tickets trainable to accuracy competitive or better than Iterative Magnitude Pruning (IMP), and does so up to 19x faster.
Pruning neural networks without any data by iteratively conserving synaptic flow
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 Tiny more »
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- Advances in neural information processing systems
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