Head Network Distillation: Splitting Distilled Deep Neural Networks for Resource-Constrained Edge Computing Systems

20 Nov 2020  ·  Yoshitomo Matsubara, Davide Callegaro, Sabur Baidya, Marco Levorato, Sameer Singh ·

As the complexity of Deep Neural Network (DNN) models increases, their deployment on mobile devices becomes increasingly challenging, especially in complex vision tasks such as image classification. Many of recent contributions aim either to produce compact models matching the limited computing capabilities of mobile devices or to offload the execution of such burdensome models to a compute-capable device at the network edge - the edge servers. In this paper, we propose to modify the structure and training process of DNN models for complex image classification tasks to achieve in-network compression in the early network layers. Our training process stems from knowledge distillation, a technique that has been traditionally used to build small - student - models mimicking the output of larger - teacher - models. Here, we adopt this idea to obtain aggressive compression while preserving accuracy. Our results demonstrate that our approach is effective for state-of-the-art models trained over complex datasets, and can extend the parameter region in which edge computing is a viable and advantageous option. Additionally, we demonstrate that in many settings of practical interest we reduce the inference time with respect to specialized models such as MobileNet v2 executed at the mobile device, while improving accuracy.



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