Emerging Paradigms of Neural Network Pruning

Huan Wang, Can Qin, Yulun Zhang, Yun Fu

Over-parameterization of neural networks benefits the optimization and generalization yet brings cost in practice. Pruning is adopted as a post-processing solution to this problem, which aims to remove unnecessary parameters in a neural network with little performance compromised. It has been broadly believed the resulted sparse neural network cannot be trained from scratch to comparable accuracy. However, several recent works (e.g., [Frankle and Carbin, 2019a]) challenge this belief by discovering random sparse networks which can be trained to match the performance with their dense counterpart. This new pruning paradigm later inspires more new methods of pruning at initialization. In spite of the encouraging progress, how to coordinate these new pruning fashions with the traditional pruning has not been explored yet. This survey seeks to bridge the gap by proposing a general pruning framework so that the emerging pruning paradigms can be accommodated well with the traditional one. With it, we systematically reflect the major differences and new insights brought by these new pruning fashions, with representative works discussed at length. Finally, we summarize the open questions as worthy future directions.

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