Revisiting Parameter Sharing for Automatic Neural Channel Number Search

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2020)

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Jiaxing Wang, Haoli Bai, Jiaxiang Wu, Xupeng Shi, Junzhou Huang, Irwin King, Michael Lyu, Jian Cheng


<p>Recent advances in neural architecture search inspire many channel number search algorithms~(CNS) for convolutional neural networks. To improve searching efficiency, parameter sharing is widely applied, which reuses parameters among different channel configurations. Nevertheless, it is unclear how parameter sharing affects the searching process. In this paper, we aim at providing a better understanding and exploitation of parameter sharing for CNS. Specifically, we propose affine parameter sharing~(APS) as a general formulation to unify and quantitatively analyze existing channel search algorithms. It is found that with parameter sharing, weight updates of one architecture can simultaneously benefit other candidates. However, it also results in less confidence in choosing good architectures. We thus propose a new strategy of parameter sharing towards a better balance between training efficiency and architecture discrimination. Extensive analysis and experiments demonstrate the superiority of the proposed strategy in channel configuration against many state-of-the-art counterparts on benchmark datasets.</p>