MicroNet: Towards Image Recognition with Extremely Low FLOPs

In this paper, we present MicroNet, which is an efficient convolutional neural network using extremely low computational cost (e.g. 6 MFLOPs on ImageNet classification). Such a low cost network is highly desired on edge devices, yet usually suffers from a significant performance degradation. We handle the extremely low FLOPs based upon two design principles: (a) avoiding the reduction of network width by lowering the node connectivity, and (b) compensating for the reduction of network depth by introducing more complex non-linearity per layer. Firstly, we propose Micro-Factorized convolution to factorize both pointwise and depthwise convolutions into low rank matrices for a good tradeoff between the number of channels and input/output connectivity. Secondly, we propose a new activation function, named Dynamic Shift-Max, to improve the non-linearity via maxing out multiple dynamic fusions between an input feature map and its circular channel shift. The fusions are dynamic as their parameters are adapted to the input. Building upon Micro-Factorized convolution and dynamic Shift-Max, a family of MicroNets achieve a significant performance gain over the state-of-the-art in the low FLOP regime. For instance, MicroNet-M1 achieves 61.1% top-1 accuracy on ImageNet classification with 12 MFLOPs, outperforming MobileNetV3 by 11.3%.

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