Diverse Branch Block: Building a Convolution as an Inception-like Unit

We propose a universal building block of Convolutional Neural Network (ConvNet) to improve the performance without any inference-time costs. The block is named Diverse Branch Block (DBB), which enhances the representational capacity of a single convolution by combining diverse branches of different scales and complexities to enrich the feature space, including sequences of convolutions, multi-scale convolutions, and average pooling. After training, a DBB can be equivalently converted into a single conv layer for deployment. Unlike the advancements of novel ConvNet architectures, DBB complicates the training-time microstructure while maintaining the macro architecture, so that it can be used as a drop-in replacement for regular conv layers of any architecture. In this way, the model can be trained to reach a higher level of performance and then transformed into the original inference-time structure for inference. DBB improves ConvNets on image classification (up to 1.9% higher top-1 accuracy on ImageNet), object detection and semantic segmentation. The PyTorch code and models are released at https://github.com/DingXiaoH/DiverseBranchBlock.

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