Towards Efficient Training for Neural Network Quantization

21 Dec 2019  ·  Qing Jin, Linjie Yang, Zhenyu Liao ·

Quantization reduces computation costs of neural networks but suffers from performance degeneration. Is this accuracy drop due to the reduced capacity, or inefficient training during the quantization procedure? After looking into the gradient propagation process of neural networks by viewing the weights and intermediate activations as random variables, we discover two critical rules for efficient training. Recent quantization approaches violates the two rules and results in degenerated convergence. To deal with this problem, we propose a simple yet effective technique, named scale-adjusted training (SAT), to comply with the discovered rules and facilitates efficient training. We also analyze the quantization error introduced in calculating the gradient in the popular parameterized clipping activation (PACT) technique. Through SAT together with gradient-calibrated PACT, quantized models obtain comparable or even better performance than their full-precision counterparts, achieving state-of-the-art accuracy with consistent improvement over previous quantization methods on a wide spectrum of models including MobileNet-V1/V2 and PreResNet-50.

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