Network Augmentation for Tiny Deep Learning



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We introduce Network Augmentation (NetAug), a new training method for improving the performance of tiny neural networks. Existing regularization techniques (e.g., data augmentation, dropout) have shown much success on large neural networks (e.g., ResNet50) by adding noise to overcome over-fitting. However, we found these techniques hurt the performance of tiny neural networks. We argue that training tiny models are different from large models: rather than augmenting the data, we should augment the model, since tiny models tend to suffer from under-fitting rather than over-fitting due to limited capacity. To alleviate this issue, NetAug augments the network (reverse dropout) instead of inserting noise into the dataset or the network. It puts the tiny model into larger models and encourages it to work as a sub-model of larger models to get extra supervision, in addition to functioning as an independent model. At test time, only the tiny model is used for inference, incurring zero inference overhead. We demonstrate the effectiveness of NetAug on image classification and object detection. NetAug consistently improves the performance of tiny models, achieving up to 2.1% accuracy improvement on ImageNet, and 4.3% on Cars. On Pascal VOC, NetAug provides 2.96% mAP improvement with the same computational cost.

Please cite our work using the BibTeX below.

  doi = {10.48550/ARXIV.2110.08890},
  url = {},
  author = {Cai, Han and Gan, Chuang and Lin, Ji and Han, Song},
  keywords = {Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (cs.CV), Artificial Intelligence (cs.AI), Machine Learning (cs.LG), FOS: Computer and information sciences, FOS: Computer and information sciences},
  title = {Network Augmentation for Tiny Deep Learning},
  publisher = {arXiv},
  year = {2021},
  copyright = {Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International}
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