Building Variable-sized Models via Learngene Pool

Published on Dec 10, 2023


Recently, Stitchable Neural Networks (SN-Net) is proposed to stitch some pre-trained networks for quickly building numerous networks with different complexity and performance trade-offs. In this way, the burdens of designing or training the variable-sized networks, which can be used in application scenarios with diverse resource constraints, are alleviated. However, SN-Net still faces a few challenges. 1) Stitching from multiple independently pre-trained anchors introduces high storage resource consumption. 2) SN-Net faces challenges to build smaller models for low resource constraints. 3). SN-Net uses an unlearned initialization method for stitch layers, limiting the final performance. To overcome these challenges, motivated by the recently proposed Learngene framework, we propose a novel method called Learngene Pool. Briefly, Learngene distills the critical knowledge from a large pre-trained model into a small part (termed as learngene) and then expands this small part into a few variable-sized models. In our proposed method, we distill one pretrained large model into multiple small models whose network blocks are used as learngene instances to construct the learngene pool. Since only one large model is used, we do not need to store more large models as SN-Net and after distilling, smaller learngene instances can be created to build small models to satisfy low resource constraints. We also insert learnable transformation matrices between the instances to stitch them into variable-sized models to improve the performance of these models. Exhaustive experiments have been implemented and the results validate the effectiveness of the proposed Learngene Pool compared with SN-Net.


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