Training Compact Neural Networks with Binary Weights and Low Precision Activations

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Authors: Bohan Zhuang,Chunhua Shen,Ian Reid
ArXiv: 1808.02631
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In this paper, we propose to train a network with binary weights and low-bitwidth activations, designed especially for mobile devices with limited power consumption. Most previous works on quantizing CNNs uncritically assume the same architecture, though with reduced precision. However, we take the view that for best performance it is possible (and even likely) that a different architecture may be better suited to dealing with low precision weights and activations. Specifically, we propose a "network expansion" strategy in which we aggregate a set of homogeneous low-precision branches to implicitly reconstruct the full-precision intermediate feature maps. Moreover, we also propose a group-wise feature approximation strategy which is very flexible and highly accurate. Experiments on ImageNet classification tasks demonstrate the superior performance of the proposed model, named Group-Net, over various popular architectures. In particular, with binary weights and activations, we outperform the previous best binary neural network in terms of accuracy as well as saving more than 5 times computational complexity on ImageNet with ResNet-18 and ResNet-50.

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