Towards Adaptive Residual Network Training: A Neural-ODE Perspective

Chengyu Dong · Liyuan Liu · Zichao Li · Jingbo Shang

Keywords: [ Algorithms ] [ Other ] [ Deep Learning - Algorithms ]

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In pursuit of resource-economical machine learning, attempts have been made to dynamically adjust computation workloads in different training stages, i.e., starting with a shallow network and gradually increasing the model depth (and computation workloads) during training. However, there is neither guarantee nor guidance on designing such network grow, due to the lack of its theoretical underpinnings. In this work, to explore the theory behind, we conduct theoretical analyses from an ordinary differential equation perspective. Specifically, we illustrate the dynamics of network growth and propose a novel performance measure specific to the depth increase. Illuminated by our analyses, we move towards theoretically sound growing operations and schedulers, giving rise to an adaptive training algorithm for residual networks, LipGrow, which automatically increases network depth thus accelerates training. In our experiments, it achieves comparable performance while reducing ∼ 50% of training time.

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