Research papers and code for "Zhaoning Zhang":
We present Fast-Downsampling MobileNet (FD-MobileNet), an efficient and accurate network for very limited computational budgets (e.g., 10-140 MFLOPs). Our key idea is applying an aggressive downsampling strategy to MobileNet framework. In FD-MobileNet, we perform 32$\times$ downsampling within 12 layers, only half the layers in the original MobileNet. This design brings three advantages: (i) It remarkably reduces the computational cost. (ii) It increases the information capacity and achieves significant performance improvements. (iii) It is engineering-friendly and provides fast actual inference speed. Experiments on ILSVRC 2012 and PASCAL VOC 2007 datasets demonstrate that FD-MobileNet consistently outperforms MobileNet and achieves comparable results with ShuffleNet under different computational budgets, for instance, surpassing MobileNet by 5.5% on the ILSVRC 2012 top-1 accuracy and 3.6% on the VOC 2007 mAP under a complexity of 12 MFLOPs. On an ARM-based device, FD-MobileNet achieves 1.11$\times$ inference speedup over MobileNet and 1.82$\times$ over ShuffleNet under the same complexity.

* 5 pages, 1 figures
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Depthwise convolutions provide significant performance benefits owing to the reduction in both parameters and mult-adds. However, training depthwise convolution layers with GPUs is slow in current deep learning frameworks because their implementations cannot fully utilize the GPU capacity. To address this problem, in this paper we present an efficient method (called diagonalwise refactorization) for accelerating the training of depthwise convolution layers. Our key idea is to rearrange the weight vectors of a depthwise convolution into a large diagonal weight matrix so as to convert the depthwise convolution into one single standard convolution, which is well supported by the cuDNN library that is highly-optimized for GPU computations. We have implemented our training method in five popular deep learning frameworks. Evaluation results show that our proposed method gains $15.4\times$ training speedup on Darknet, $8.4\times$ on Caffe, $5.4\times$ on PyTorch, $3.5\times$ on MXNet, and $1.4\times$ on TensorFlow, compared to their original implementations of depthwise convolutions.

* 8 pages, 5 figures
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Compact neural networks are inclined to exploit "sparsely-connected" convolutions such as depthwise convolution and group convolution for employment in mobile applications. Compared with standard "fully-connected" convolutions, these convolutions are more computationally economical. However, "sparsely-connected" convolutions block the inter-group information exchange, which induces severe performance degradation. To address this issue, we present two novel operations named merging and evolution to leverage the inter-group information. Our key idea is encoding the inter-group information with a narrow feature map, then combining the generated features with the original network for better representation. Taking advantage of the proposed operations, we then introduce the Merging-and-Evolution (ME) module, an architectural unit specifically designed for compact networks. Finally, we propose a family of compact neural networks called MENet based on ME modules. Extensive experiments on ILSVRC 2012 dataset and PASCAL VOC 2007 dataset demonstrate that MENet consistently outperforms other state-of-the-art compact networks under different computational budgets. For instance, under the computational budget of 140 MFLOPs, MENet surpasses ShuffleNet by 1% and MobileNet by 1.95% on ILSVRC 2012 top-1 accuracy, while by 2.3% and 4.1% on PASCAL VOC 2007 mAP, respectively.

* 8 pages, 4 figures
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One of the major challenges in object detection is to propose detectors with highly accurate localization of objects. The online sampling of high-loss region proposals (hard examples) uses the multitask loss with equal weight settings across all loss types (e.g, classification and localization, rigid and non-rigid categories) and ignores the influence of different loss distributions throughout the training process, which we find essential to the training efficacy. In this paper, we present the Stratified Online Hard Example Mining (S-OHEM) algorithm for training higher efficiency and accuracy detectors. S-OHEM exploits OHEM with stratified sampling, a widely-adopted sampling technique, to choose the training examples according to this influence during hard example mining, and thus enhance the performance of object detectors. We show through systematic experiments that S-OHEM yields an average precision (AP) improvement of 0.5% on rigid categories of PASCAL VOC 2007 for both the IoU threshold of 0.6 and 0.7. For KITTI 2012, both results of the same metric are 1.6%. Regarding the mean average precision (mAP), a relative increase of 0.3% and 0.5% (1% and 0.5%) is observed for VOC07 (KITTI12) using the same set of IoU threshold. Also, S-OHEM is easy to integrate with existing region-based detectors and is capable of acting with post-recognition level regressors.

* 9 pages, 3 figures, accepted by CCCV 2017
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Modern object detectors usually suffer from low accuracy issues, as foregrounds always drown in tons of backgrounds and become hard examples during training. Compared with those proposal-based ones, real-time detectors are in far more serious trouble since they renounce the use of region-proposing stage which is used to filter a majority of backgrounds for achieving real-time rates. Though foregrounds as hard examples are in urgent need of being mined from tons of backgrounds, a considerable number of state-of-the-art real-time detectors, like YOLO series, have yet to profit from existing hard example mining methods, as using these methods need detectors fit series of prerequisites. In this paper, we propose a general hard example mining method named Loss Rank Mining (LRM) to fill the gap. LRM is a general method for real-time detectors, as it utilizes the final feature map which exists in all real-time detectors to mine hard examples. By using LRM, some elements representing easy examples in final feature map are filtered and detectors are forced to concentrate on hard examples during training. Extensive experiments validate the effectiveness of our method. With our method, the improvements of YOLOv2 detector on auto-driving related dataset KITTI and more general dataset PASCAL VOC are over 5% and 2% mAP, respectively. In addition, LRM is the first hard example mining strategy which could fit YOLOv2 perfectly and make it better applied in series of real scenarios where both real-time rates and accurate detection are strongly demanded.

* 8 pages, 6 figures
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Real-time generic object detection on mobile platforms is a crucial but challenging computer vision task. However, previous CNN-based detectors suffer from enormous computational cost, which hinders them from real-time inference in computation-constrained scenarios. In this paper, we investigate the effectiveness of two-stage detectors in real-time generic detection and propose a lightweight two-stage detector named ThunderNet. In the backbone part, we analyze the drawbacks in previous lightweight backbones and present a lightweight backbone designed for object detection. In the detection part, we exploit an extremely efficient RPN and detection head design. To generate more discriminative feature representation, we design two efficient architecture blocks, Context Enhancement Module and Spatial Attention Module. At last, we investigate the balance between the input resolution, the backbone, and the detection head. Compared with lightweight one-stage detectors, ThunderNet achieves superior performance with only 40% of the computational cost on PASCAL VOC and COCO benchmarks. Without bells and whistles, our model runs at 24.1 fps on an ARM-based device. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first real-time detector reported on ARM platforms. Code will be released for paper reproduction.

* 10 pages, 6 figures
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Most teacher-student frameworks based on knowledge distillation (KD) depend on a strong congruent constraint on instance level. However, they usually ignore the correlation between multiple instances, which is also valuable for knowledge transfer. In this work, we propose a new framework named correlation congruence for knowledge distillation (CCKD), which transfers not only the instance-level information, but also the correlation between instances. Furthermore, a generalized kernel method based on Taylor series expansion is proposed to better capture the correlation between instances. Empirical experiments and ablation studies on image classification tasks (including CIFAR-100, ImageNet-1K) and metric learning tasks (including ReID and Face Recognition) show that the proposed CCKD substantially outperforms the original KD and achieves state-of-the-art accuracy compared with other SOTA KD-based methods. The CCKD can be easily deployed in the majority of the teacher-student framework such as KD and hint-based learning methods.

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