Understanding Sparse Neural Networks from their Topology via Multipartite Graph Representations

26 May 2023  ·  Elia Cunegatti, Matteo Farina, Doina Bucur, Giovanni Iacca ·

Pruning-at-Initialization (PaI) algorithms provide Sparse Neural Networks (SNNs) which are computationally more efficient than their dense counterparts, and try to avoid performance degradation. While much emphasis has been directed towards \emph{how} to prune, we still do not know \emph{what topological metrics} of the SNNs characterize \emph{good performance}. From prior work, we have layer-wise topological metrics by which SNN performance can be predicted: the Ramanujan-based metrics. To exploit these metrics, proper ways to represent network layers via Graph Encodings (GEs) are needed, with Bipartite Graph Encodings (BGEs) being the \emph{de-facto} standard at the current stage. Nevertheless, existing BGEs neglect the impact of the inputs, and do not characterize the SNN in an end-to-end manner. Additionally, thanks to a thorough study of the Ramanujan-based metrics, we discover that they are only as good as the \emph{layer-wise density} as performance predictors, when paired with BGEs. To close both gaps, we design a comprehensive topological analysis for SNNs with both linear and convolutional layers, via (i) a new input-aware Multipartite Graph Encoding (MGE) for SNNs and (ii) the design of new end-to-end topological metrics over the MGE. With these novelties, we show the following: (a) The proposed MGE allows to extract topological metrics that are much better predictors of the accuracy drop than metrics computed from current input-agnostic BGEs; (b) Which metrics are important at different sparsity levels and for different architectures; (c) A mixture of our topological metrics can rank PaI algorithms more effectively than Ramanujan-based metrics. The codebase is publicly available at https://github.com/eliacunegatti/mge-snn.

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