An empirical study of a pruning mechanism

1 Jan 2021  ·  Minju Jung, Hyounguk Shon, Eojindl Yi, SungHyun Baek, Junmo Kim ·

Many methods aim to prune neural network to the maximum extent. However, there are few studies that investigate the pruning mechanism. In this work, we empirically investigate a standard framework for network pruning: pretraining large network and then pruning and retraining it. The framework has been commonly used based on heuristics, i.e., finding a good minima with a large network (pretraining phase) and retaining it with careful pruning and retraining (pruning and retraining phase). For the pretraining phase, the reason for which the large network is required to achieve good performance is examined. We hypothesize that this might come from the network relying on only a portion of its weights when trained from scratch. This way of weight utilization is referred to as imbalanced utility. The measures for weight utility and utility imbalance are proposed. We investigate the cause of the utility imbalance and the characteristics of the weight utility. For the pruning and retraining phase, whether the pruned-and-retrained network benefits from the pretrained network indded is examined. We visualize the accuracy surface of the pretrained, pruned and retrained networks and investigate the relation between them. The validation accuracy is also interpreted in association with the surface.

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