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  1. Vision transformers (ViTs) have recently obtained success in many applications, but their intensive computation and heavy memory usage at both training and inference time limit their generalization. Previous compression algorithms usually start from the pre-trained dense models and only focus on efficient inference, while time-consuming training is still unavoidable. In contrast, this paper points out that the million-scale training data is redundant, which is the fundamental reason for the tedious training. To address the issue, this paper aims to introduce sparsity into data and proposes an end-to-end efficient training framework from three sparse perspectives, dubbed Tri-Level E-ViT. Specifically, we leverage a hierarchical data redundancy reduction scheme, by exploring the sparsity under three levels: number of training examples in the dataset, number of patches (tokens) in each example, and number of connections between tokens that lie in attention weights. With extensive experiments, we demonstrate that our proposed technique can noticeably accelerate training for various ViT architectures while maintaining accuracy. Remarkably, under certain ratios, we are able to improve the ViT accuracy rather than compromising it. For example, we can achieve 15.2% speedup with 72.6% (+0.4) Top-1 accuracy on Deit-T, and 15.7% speedup with 79.9% (+0.1) Top-1 accuracy on Deit-S. This proves the existence of data redundancy in ViT. Our code
is released at https://github.com/ZLKong/Tri-Level-ViT

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 27, 2024
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  5. Recently, a new trend of exploring sparsity for accelerating neural network training has emerged, embracing the paradigm of training on the edge. This paper proposes a novel Memory-Economic Sparse Training (MEST) framework targeting for accurate and fast execution on edge devices. The proposed MEST framework consists of enhancements by Elastic Mutation (EM) and Soft Memory Bound (&S) that ensure superior accuracy at high sparsity ratios. Different from the existing works for sparse training, this current work reveals the importance of sparsity schemes on the performance of sparse training in terms of accuracy as well as training speed on real edge devices. On top of that, the paper proposes to employ data efficiency for further acceleration of sparse training. Our results suggest that unforgettable examples can be identified in-situ even during the dynamic exploration of sparsity masks in the sparse training process, and therefore can be removed for further training speedup on edge devices. Comparing with state-of-the-art (SOTA) works on accuracy, our MEST increases Top-1 accuracy significantly on ImageNet when using the same unstructured sparsity scheme. Systematical evaluation on accuracy, training speed, and memory footprint are conducted, where the proposed MEST framework consistently outperforms representative SOTA works. A reviewer strongly against our work based on his false assumptions and misunderstandings. On top of the previous submission, we employ data efficiency for further acceleration of sparse training. And we explore the impact of model sparsity, sparsity schemes, and sparse training algorithms on the number of removable training examples. Our codes are publicly available at: https://github.com/boone891214/MEST. 
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