Deconstructing Lottery Tickets: Zeros, Signs, and the Supermask Deconstructing Lottery Tickets: Zeros, Signs, and the Supermask
Paper summary The Lottery Ticket Hypothesis is the idea that you can train a deep network, set all but a small percentage of its high-magnitude weights to zero, and retrain the network using the connection topology of the remaining weights, but only if you re-initialize the unpruned weights to the the values they had at the beginning of the first training. This suggests that part of the value of training such big networks is not that we need that many parameters to use their expressive capacity, but that we need many “draws” from the weight and topology distribution to find initial weight patterns that are well-disposed for learning. This paper out of Uber is a refreshingly exploratory experimental work that tries to understand the contours and contingencies of this effect. Their findings included: - The pruning criteria used in the original paper, where weights are kept according to which have highest final magnitude, works well. However, an alternate criteria, where you keep the weights that have increased the most in magnitude, works just as well and sometimes better. This makes a decent amount of sense, since it seems like we’re using magnitude as a signal of “did this weight come to play a meaningful role during training,” and so weights whose influence increased during training fall in that category, regardless of their starting point https://i.imgur.com/wTkNBod.png - The authors’ next question was: other than just re-initialize weights to their initial values, are there other things we can do that can capture all or part of the performance effect? The answer seems to be yes; they found that the most important thing seems to be keeping the sign of the weights aligned with what it was at its starting point. As long as you do that, redrawing initial weights (but giving them the right sign), or re-setting weights to a correctly signed constant value, both work nearly as well as the actual starting values https://i.imgur.com/JeujUr3.png - Turning instead to the weights on the pruning chopping block, the authors find that, instead of just zero-ing out all pruned weights, they can get even better performance if they zero the weights that moved towards zero during training, and re-initialize (but freeze) the weights that moved away from zero during training. The logic of the paper is “if the weight was trying to move to zero, bring it to zero, otherwise reinitialize it”. This performance remains high at even lower levels of training than does the initial zero-masking result - Finally, the authors found that just by performing the masking (i.e. keeping only weights with large final values), bringing those back to their values, and zeroing out the rest, *and not training at all*, they were able to get 40% test accuracy on MNIST, much better than chance. If they masked according to “large weights that kept the same sign during training,” they could get a pretty incredible 80% test accuracy on MNIST. Way below even simple trained models, but, again, this model wasn’t *trained*, and the only information about the data came in the form of a binary weight mask This paper doesn’t really try to come up with explanations that wrap all of these results up neatly with a bow, and I really respect that. I think it’s good for ML research culture for people to feel an affordance to just run a lot of targeted experiments aimed at explanation, and publish the results even if they don’t quite make sense yet. I feel like on this problem (and to some extent in machine learning generally), we’re the blind men each grabbing at one part of an elephant, trying to describe the whole. Hopefully, papers like this can bring us closer to understanding strange quirks of optimization like this one
arxiv.org
scholar.google.com
Deconstructing Lottery Tickets: Zeros, Signs, and the Supermask
Zhou, Hattie and Lan, Janice and Liu, Rosanne and Yosinski, Jason
- 2019 via Local Bibsonomy
Keywords: pruning, nas


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Summary by CodyWild 4 weeks ago
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