Quantization Networks

Although deep neural networks are highly effective, their high computational and memory costs severely challenge their applications on portable devices. As a consequence, low-bit quantization, which converts a full-precision neural network into a low-bitwidth integer version, has been an active and promising research topic. Existing methods formulate the low-bit quantization of networks as an approximation or optimization problem. Approximation-based methods confront the gradient mismatch problem, while optimization-based methods are only suitable for quantizing weights and could introduce high computational cost in the training stage. In this paper, we propose a novel perspective of interpreting and implementing neural network quantization by formulating low-bit quantization as a differentiable non-linear function (termed quantization function). The proposed quantization function can be learned in a lossless and end-to-end manner and works for any weights and activations of neural networks in a simple and uniform way. Extensive experiments on image classification and object detection tasks show that our quantization networks outperform the state-of-the-art methods. We believe that the proposed method will shed new insights on the interpretation of neural network quantization. Our code is available at

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