Xinlin Li, Bang Liu, Yaoliang Yu, Wulong Liu, Chunjing XU, Vahid Partovi Nia
Shift neural networks reduce computation complexity by removing expensive multiplication operations and quantizing continuous weights into low-bit discrete values, which are fast and energy-efficient compared to conventional neural networks. However, existing shift networks are sensitive to the weight initialization and yield a degraded performance caused by vanishing gradient and weight sign freezing problem. To address these issues, we propose S$^3$ re-parameterization, a novel technique for training low-bit shift networks. Our method decomposes a discrete parameter in a sign-sparse-shift 3-fold manner. This way, it efficiently learns a low-bit network with weight dynamics similar to full-precision networks and insensitive to weight initialization. Our proposed training method pushes the boundaries of shift neural networks and shows 3-bit shift networks compete with their full-precision counterparts in terms of top-1 accuracy on ImageNet.