Learning sparse neural networks via sensitivity-driven regularization

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

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Enzo Tartaglione, Skjalg Lepsøy, Attilio Fiandrotti, Gianluca Francini


The ever-increasing number of parameters in deep neural networks poses challenges for memory-limited applications. Regularize-and-prune methods aim at meeting these challenges by sparsifying the network weights. In this context we quantify the output sensitivity to the parameters (i.e. their relevance to the network output) and introduce a regularization term that gradually lowers the absolute value of parameters with low sensitivity. Thus, a very large fraction of the parameters approach zero and are eventually set to zero by simple thresholding. Our method surpasses most of the recent techniques both in terms of sparsity and error rates. In some cases, the method reaches twice the sparsity obtained by other techniques at equal error rates.