deep learning with low precision by half-wave gaussian quantization
Name: Zhaowei Cai
Grad Year: 2019
The problem of quantizing the activations of a deep neural network is considered. An examination of the popular binary quantization approach shows that this consists of approximating a classical non-linearity, the hyperbolic tangent, by two functions: a piecewise constant 𝑠𝑖𝑔𝑛 function, which is used in feedforward network computations, and a piecewise linear hard tanh function, used in the backpropagation step during network learning. The problem of approximating the widely used ReLU non-linearity is then considered. An half-wave Gaussian quantizer (HWGQ) is proposed for forward approximation and shown to have efficient implementation, by exploiting the statistics of of network activations and batch normalization operations. To overcome the problem of gradient mismatch, due to the use of different forward and backward approximations, several piece-wise backward approximators are then investigated. The implementation of the resulting quantized network, denoted as HWGQ-Net, is shown to achieve much closer performance to full precision networks, such as AlexNet, ResNet, GoogLeNet and VGG-Net, than previously available low-precision networks, with 1-bit binary weights and 2-bit quantized activations.