Zero-Shot Neural Architecture Search (NAS) approaches propose novel training-free metrics called zero-shot proxies to substantially reduce the search time compared to the traditional training-based NAS. Despite the success on image classification, the effectiveness of zero-shot proxies is rarely evaluated on complex vision tasks such as semantic segmentation and object detection. Moreover, existing zero-shot proxies are shown to be biased towards certain model characteristics which restricts their broad applicability. In this paper, we empirically study the bias of state-of-the-art (SOTA) zero-shot proxy ZiCo across multiple vision tasks and observe that ZiCo is biased towards thinner and deeper networks, leading to sub-optimal architectures. To solve the problem, we propose a novel bias correction on ZiCo, called ZiCo-BC. Our extensive experiments across various vision tasks (image classification, object detection and semantic segmentation) show that our approach can successfully search for architectures with higher accuracy and significantly lower latency on Samsung Galaxy S10 devices.
* Accepted at ICCV-Workshop on Resource-Efficient Deep Learning, 2023
Recently, zero-shot (or training-free) Neural Architecture Search (NAS) approaches have been proposed to liberate the NAS from training requirements. The key idea behind zero-shot NAS approaches is to design proxies that predict the accuracies of the given networks without training network parameters. The proxies proposed so far are usually inspired by recent progress in theoretical deep learning and have shown great potential on several NAS benchmark datasets. This paper aims to comprehensively review and compare the state-of-the-art (SOTA) zero-shot NAS approaches, with an emphasis on their hardware awareness. To this end, we first review the mainstream zero-shot proxies and discuss their theoretical underpinnings. We then compare these zero-shot proxies through large-scale experiments and demonstrate their effectiveness in both hardware-aware and hardware-oblivious NAS scenarios. Finally, we point out several promising ideas to design better proxies. Our source code and the related paper list are available on https://github.com/SLDGroup/survey-zero-shot-nas.
Anytime neural networks (AnytimeNNs) are a promising solution to adaptively adjust the model complexity at runtime under various hardware resource constraints. However, the manually-designed AnytimeNNs are biased by designers' prior experience and thus provide sub-optimal solutions. To address the limitations of existing hand-crafted approaches, we first model the training process of AnytimeNNs as a discrete-time Markov chain (DTMC) and use it to identify the paths that contribute the most to the training of AnytimeNNs. Based on this new DTMC-based analysis, we further propose TIPS, a framework to automatically design AnytimeNNs under various hardware constraints. Our experimental results show that TIPS can improve the convergence rate and test accuracy of AnytimeNNs. Compared to the existing AnytimeNNs approaches, TIPS improves the accuracy by 2%-6.6% on multiple datasets and achieves SOTA accuracy-FLOPs tradeoffs.
Neural Architecture Search (NAS) is widely used to automatically design the neural network with the best performance among a large number of candidate architectures. To reduce the search time, zero-shot NAS aims at designing training-free proxies that can predict the test performance of a given architecture. However, as shown recently, none of the zero-shot proxies proposed to date can actually work consistently better than a naive proxy, namely, the number of network parameters (#Params). To improve this state of affairs, as the main theoretical contribution, we first reveal how some specific gradient properties across different samples impact the convergence rate and generalization capacity of neural networks. Based on this theoretical analysis, we propose a new zero-shot proxy, ZiCo, the first proxy that works consistently better than #Params. We demonstrate that ZiCo works better than State-Of-The-Art (SOTA) proxies on several popular NAS-Benchmarks (NASBench101, NATSBench-SSS/TSS, TransNASBench-101) for multiple applications (e.g., image classification/reconstruction and pixel-level prediction). Finally, we demonstrate that the optimal architectures found via ZiCo are as competitive as the ones found by one-shot and multi-shot NAS methods, but with much less search time. For example, ZiCo-based NAS can find optimal architectures with 78.1%, 79.4%, and 80.4% test accuracy under inference budgets of 450M, 600M, and 1000M FLOPs on ImageNet within 0.4 GPU days.
Is it possible to restructure the non-linear activation functions in a deep network to create hardware-efficient models? To address this question, we propose a new paradigm called Restructurable Activation Networks (RANs) that manipulate the amount of non-linearity in models to improve their hardware-awareness and efficiency. First, we propose RAN-explicit (RAN-e) -- a new hardware-aware search space and a semi-automatic search algorithm -- to replace inefficient blocks with hardware-aware blocks. Next, we propose a training-free model scaling method called RAN-implicit (RAN-i) where we theoretically prove the link between network topology and its expressivity in terms of number of non-linear units. We demonstrate that our networks achieve state-of-the-art results on ImageNet at different scales and for several types of hardware. For example, compared to EfficientNet-Lite-B0, RAN-e achieves a similar accuracy while improving Frames-Per-Second (FPS) by 1.5x on Arm micro-NPUs. On the other hand, RAN-i demonstrates up to 2x reduction in #MACs over ConvNexts with a similar or better accuracy. We also show that RAN-i achieves nearly 40% higher FPS than ConvNext on Arm-based datacenter CPUs. Finally, RAN-i based object detection networks achieve a similar or higher mAP and up to 33% higher FPS on datacenter CPUs compared to ConvNext based models.
Autonomous systems are highly vulnerable to a variety of adversarial attacks on Deep Neural Networks (DNNs). Training-free model-agnostic defenses have recently gained popularity due to their speed, ease of deployment, and ability to work across many DNNs. To this end, a new technique has emerged for mitigating attacks on image classification DNNs, namely, preprocessing adversarial images using super resolution -- upscaling low-quality inputs into high-resolution images. This defense requires running both image classifiers and super resolution models on constrained autonomous systems. However, super resolution incurs a heavy computational cost. Therefore, in this paper, we investigate the following question: Does the robustness of image classifiers suffer if we use tiny super resolution models? To answer this, we first review a recent work called Super-Efficient Super Resolution (SESR) that achieves similar or better image quality than prior art while requiring 2x to 330x fewer Multiply-Accumulate (MAC) operations. We demonstrate that despite being orders of magnitude smaller than existing models, SESR achieves the same level of robustness as significantly larger networks. Finally, we estimate end-to-end performance of super resolution-based defenses on a commercial Arm Ethos-U55 micro-NPU. Our findings show that SESR achieves nearly 3x higher FPS than a baseline while achieving similar robustness.
* This preprint is for personal use only. The official article will
appear in proceedings of Design, Automation & Test in Europe (DATE), 2022, as
part of the Special Initiative on Autonomous Systems Design (ASD)
With the advent of smart devices that support 4K and 8K resolution, Single Image Super Resolution (SISR) has become an important computer vision problem. However, most super resolution deep networks are computationally very expensive. In this paper, we propose SESR, a new class of Super-Efficient Super Resolution networks that significantly improve image quality and reduce computational complexity. Detailed experiments across six benchmark datasets demonstrate that SESR achieves similar or better image quality than state-of-the-art models while requiring 2x to 330x fewer Multiply-Accumulate (MAC) operations. As a result, SESR can be used on constrained hardware to perform x2 (1080p to 4K) and x4 SISR (1080p to 8K). Towards this, we simulate hardware performance numbers for a commercial mobile Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for 1080p to 4K (x2) and 1080p to 8K (x4) SISR. Our results highlight the challenges faced by super resolution on AI accelerators and demonstrate that SESR is significantly faster than existing models. Overall, SESR establishes a new Pareto frontier on the quality (PSNR)-computation relationship for the super resolution task.
In this paper, we first highlight three major challenges to large-scale adoption of deep learning at the edge: (i) Hardware-constrained IoT devices, (ii) Data security and privacy in the IoT era, and (iii) Lack of network-aware deep learning algorithms for distributed inference across multiple IoT devices. We then provide a unified view targeting three research directions that naturally emerge from the above challenges: (1) Federated learning for training deep networks, (2) Data-independent deployment of learning algorithms, and (3) Communication-aware distributed inference. We believe that the above research directions need a network-centric approach to enable the edge intelligence and, therefore, fully exploit the true potential of IoT.
* This preprint is for personal use only. The official article will
appear in proceedings of Design Automation Conference (DAC), 2020. This work
was presented at the DAC 2020 special session on Edge-to-Cloud Neural
Networks for Machine Learning Applications in Future IoT Systems
In this paper, we identify a new phenomenon called activation-divergence which occurs in Federated Learning (FL) due to data heterogeneity (i.e., data being non-IID) across multiple users. Specifically, we argue that the activation vectors in FL can diverge, even if subsets of users share a few common classes with data residing on different devices. To address the activation-divergence issue, we introduce a prior based on the principle of maximum entropy; this prior assumes minimal information about the per-device activation vectors and aims at making the activation vectors of same classes as similar as possible across multiple devices. Our results show that, for both IID and non-IID settings, our proposed approach results in better accuracy (due to the significantly more similar activation vectors across multiple devices), and is more communication-efficient than state-of-the-art approaches in FL. Finally, we illustrate the effectiveness of our approach on a few common benchmarks and two large medical datasets.
The significant computational requirements of deep learning present a major bottleneck for its large-scale adoption on hardware-constrained IoT-devices. Here, we envision a new paradigm called EdgeAI to address major impediments associated with deploying deep networks at the edge. Specifically, we discuss the existing directions in computation-aware deep learning and describe two new challenges in the IoT era: (1) Data-independent deployment of learning, and (2) Communication-aware distributed inference. We further present new directions from our recent research to alleviate the latter two challenges. Overcoming these challenges is crucial for rapid adoption of learning on IoT-devices in order to truly enable EdgeAI.