Quantune: Post-training quantization of convolutional neural networks using extreme gradient boosting for fast deployment

Future Generation Computer Systems(2022)

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Abstract
To adopt convolutional neural networks (CNN) for a range of resource-constrained targets, it is necessary to compress the CNN models by performing quantization, whereby precision representation is converted to a lower bit representation. To overcome problems such as sensitivity of the training dataset, high computational requirements, and large time consumption, post-training quantization methods that do not require retraining have been proposed. In addition, to compensate for the accuracy drop without retraining, previous studies on post-training quantization have proposed several complementary methods: calibration, schemes, clipping, granularity, and mixed-precision. To generate a quantized model with minimal error, it is necessary to study all possible combinations of the methods because each of them is complementary and the CNN models have different characteristics. However, an exhaustive or a heuristic search is either too time-consuming or suboptimal. To overcome this challenge, we propose an auto-tuner known as Quantune, which builds a gradient tree boosting model to accelerate the search for the configurations of quantization and reduce the quantization error. We evaluate and compare Quantune with the random, grid, and genetic algorithms. The experimental results show that Quantune reduces the search time for quantization by approximately 36.5× with an accuracy loss of 0.07–0.65% across six CNN models, including the fragile ones (MobileNet, SqueezeNet, and ShuffleNet). To support multiple targets and adopt continuously evolving quantization works, Quantune is implemented on a full-fledged compiler for deep learning as an open-sourced project.
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Key words
Quantization,Neural networks,Model compression,Deep learning compiler
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