Deep Expander Networks: Efficient Deep Networks from Graph Theory

Ameya Prabhu, Girish Varma, Anoop Namboodiri; The European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV), 2018, pp. 20-35


Efficient CNN designs like ResNets and DenseNet were proposed to improve accuracy vs efficiency trade-offs. They essentially increased the connectivity, allowing efficient information flow across layers. Inspired by these techniques, we propose to model connections between filters of a CNN using graphs which are simultaneously sparse and well connected. Sparsity results in efficiency while well connectedness can preserve the expressive power of the CNNs. We use a well-studied class of graphs from theoretical computer science that satisfies these properties known as Expander graphs. Expander graphs are used to model connections between filters in CNNs to design networks called X-Nets. We present two guarantees on the connectivity of X-Nets: Each node influences every node in a layer in logarithmic steps, and the number of paths between two sets of nodes is proportional to the product of their sizes. We also propose efficient training and inference algorithms, making it possible to train deeper and wider X-Nets effectively. Expander based models give a 4% improvement in accuracy on MobileNet over grouped convolutions, a popular technique, which has the same sparsity but worse connectivity. X-Nets give better performance trade-offs than the original ResNet and DenseNet-BC architectures. We achieve model sizes comparable to state-of-the-art pruning techniques using our simple architecture design, without any pruning. We hope that this work motivates other approaches to utilize results from graph theory to develop efficient network architectures.

Related Material

author = {Prabhu, Ameya and Varma, Girish and Namboodiri, Anoop},
title = {Deep Expander Networks: Efficient Deep Networks from Graph Theory},
booktitle = {The European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV)},
month = {September},
year = {2018}