Soft-to-Hard Vector Quantization for End-to-End Learning Compressible Representations

Eirikur Agustsson, Fabian Mentzer, Michael Tschannen, Lukas Cavigelli, Radu Timofte, Luca Benini, Luc Van Gool

We present a new approach to learn compressible representations in deep architectures with an end-to-end training strategy. Our method is based on a soft (continuous) relaxation of quantization and entropy, which we anneal to their discrete counterparts throughout training. We showcase this method for two challenging applications: Image compression and neural network compression. While these tasks have typically been approached with different methods, our soft-to-hard quantization approach gives results competitive with the state-of-the-art for both.

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