MixtureGrowth: Growing Neural Networks by Recombining Learned Parameters

Published on Nov 7, 2023


Most deep neural networks are trained under fixed network architectures and require retraining when the architecture changes. If expanding the network's size is needed, it is necessary to retrain from scratch, which is expensive. To avoid this, one can grow from a small network by adding random weights over time to gradually achieve the target network size. However, this naive approach falls short in practice as it brings too much noise to the growing process. Prior work tackled this issue by leveraging the already learned weights and training data for generating new weights through conducting a computationally expensive analysis step. In this paper, we introduce MixtureGrowth, a new approach to growing networks that circumvents the initialization overhead in prior work. Before growing, each layer in our model is generated with a linear combination of parameter templates. Newly grown layer weights are generated by using a new linear combination of existing templates for a layer. On one hand, these templates are already trained for the task, providing a strong initialization. On the other, the new coefficients provide flexibility for the added layer weights to learn something new. We show that our approach boosts top-1 accuracy over the state-of-the-art by 2-2.5% on CIFAR-100 and ImageNet datasets, while achieving comparable performance with fewer FLOPs to a larger network trained from scratch. Code is available at


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