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DropNet: Reducing Neural Network Complexity via Iterative Pruning

Chong Min John Tan · Mehul Motani

Keywords: [ Architectures ] [ Supervised Learning ] [ Deep Learning - General ]


Modern deep neural networks require a significant amount of computing time and power to train and deploy, which limits their usage on edge devices. Inspired by the iterative weight pruning in the Lottery Ticket Hypothesis, we propose DropNet, an iterative pruning method which prunes nodes/filters to reduce network complexity. DropNet iteratively removes nodes/filters with the lowest average post-activation value across all training samples. Empirically, we show that DropNet is robust across a wide range of scenarios, including MLPs and CNNs using the MNIST and CIFAR datasets. We show that up to 90% of the nodes/filters can be removed without any significant loss of accuracy. The final pruned network performs well even with reinitialisation of the weights and biases. DropNet also achieves similar accuracy to an oracle which greedily removes nodes/filters one at a time to minimise training loss, highlighting its effectiveness.

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