One Less Reason for Filter Pruning: Gaining Free Adversarial Robustness with Structured Grouped Kernel Pruning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper


Shaochen (Henry) Zhong, Zaichuan You, Jiamu Zhang, Sebastian Zhao, Zachary LeClaire, Zirui Liu, Daochen Zha, Vipin Chaudhary, Shuai Xu, Xia Hu


Densely structured pruning methods utilizing simple pruning heuristics can deliver immediate compression and acceleration benefits with acceptable benign performances. However, empirical findings indicate such naively pruned networks are extremely fragile under simple adversarial attacks. Naturally, we would be interested in knowing if such a phenomenon also holds for carefully designed modern structured pruning methods. If so, then to what extent is the severity? And what kind of remedies are available? Unfortunately, both the questions and the solution remain largely unaddressed: no prior art is able to provide a thorough investigation on the adversarial performance of modern structured pruning methods (spoiler: it is not good), yet the few works that attempt to provide mitigation often do so at various extra costs with only to-be-desired performance.In this work, we answer both questions by fairly and comprehensively investigating the adversarial performance of 10+ popular structured pruning methods. Solution-wise, we take advantage of Grouped Kernel Pruning (GKP)'s recent success in pushing densely structured pruning freedom to a more fine-grained level. By mixing up kernel smoothness — a classic robustness-related kernel-level metric — into a modified GKP procedure, we present a one-shot-post-train-weight-dependent GKP method capable of advancing SOTA performance on both the benign and adversarial scale, while requiring no extra (in fact, often less) cost than a standard pruning procedure. Please refer to our GitHub repository for code implementation, tool sharing, and model checkpoints.