Towards Higher Ranks via Adversarial Weight Pruning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Yuchuan Tian, Hanting Chen, Tianyu Guo, Chao Xu, Yunhe Wang


Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) are hard to deploy on edge devices due to its high computation and storage complexities. As a common practice for model compression, network pruning consists of two major categories: unstructured and structured pruning, where unstructured pruning constantly performs better. However, unstructured pruning presents a structured pattern at high pruning rates, which limits its performance. To this end, we propose a Rank-based PruninG (RPG) method to maintain the ranks of sparse weights in an adversarial manner. In each step, we minimize the low-rank approximation error for the weight matrices using singular value decomposition, and maximize their distance by pushing the weight matrices away from its low rank approximation. This rank-based optimization objective guides sparse weights towards a high-rank topology. The proposed method is conducted in a gradual pruning fashion to stabilize the change of rank during training. Experimental results on various datasets and different tasks demonstrate the effectiveness of our algorithm in high sparsity. The proposed RPG outperforms the state-of-the-art performance by 1.13\% top-1 accuracy on ImageNet in ResNet-50 with 98\% sparsity. The codes are available at and