In-Hindsight Quantization Range Estimation for Quantized Training

05/10/2021 ∙ by Marios Fournarakis, et al. ∙ 0

Quantization techniques applied to the inference of deep neural networks have enabled fast and efficient execution on resource-constraint devices. The success of quantization during inference has motivated the academic community to explore fully quantized training, i.e. quantizing back-propagation as well. However, effective gradient quantization is still an open problem. Gradients are unbounded and their distribution changes significantly during training, which leads to the need for dynamic quantization. As we show, dynamic quantization can lead to significant memory overhead and additional data traffic slowing down training. We propose a simple alternative to dynamic quantization, in-hindsight range estimation, that uses the quantization ranges estimated on previous iterations to quantize the present. Our approach enables fast static quantization of gradients and activations while requiring only minimal hardware support from the neural network accelerator to keep track of output statistics in an online fashion. It is intended as a drop-in replacement for estimating quantization ranges and can be used in conjunction with other advances in quantized training. We compare our method to existing methods for range estimation from the quantized training literature and demonstrate its effectiveness with a range of architectures, including MobileNetV2, on image classification benchmarks (Tiny ImageNet ImageNet).

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