ProxyBNN: Learning Binarized Neural Networks via Proxy Matrices

Training Binarized Neural Networks (BNNs) is challenging due to the discreteness. In order to efficiently optimize BNNs through backward propagations, real-valued auxiliary variables are commonly used to accumulate gradient updates. Those auxiliary variables are then directly quantized to binary weights in the forward pass, which brings about large quantization errors. In this paper, by introducing an appropriate proxy matrix, we reduce the weights quantization error while circumventing explicit binary regularizations on the full-precision auxiliary variables. Specifically, we regard pre-binarization weights as a linear combination of the basis vectors. The matrix composed of basis vectors is referred to as the proxy matrix, and auxiliary variables serve as the coefficients of this linear combination. We are the first to empirically identify and study the effectiveness of learning both basis and coefficients to construct the pre-binarization weights. This new proxy learning contributes to new leading performances on benchmark datasets.

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