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Filter pruning for convolutional neural networks in semantic image segmentation

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The remarkable performance of Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) has increased their use in real-time systems and devices with limited resources. Hence, compacting these networks while preserving accuracy has become necessary, leading to multiple compression methods. However, the majority require intensive iterative procedures and do not delve into the influence of the used data. To overcome these issues, this paper presents several contributions, framed in the context of explainable Artificial Intelligence (xAI): (a) two filter pruning methods for CNNs, which remove the less significant convolutional kernels; (b) a fine-tuning strategy to recover generalization; (c) a layer pruning approach for U-Net; and (d) an explanation of the relationship between performance and the used data. Filter and feature maps information are used in the pruning process: Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is combined with a next-convolution influence-metric, while the latter and the mean standard deviation are used in an importance score distribution-based method. The developed strategies are generic, and therefore applicable to different models. Experiments demonstrating their effectiveness are conducted over distinct CNNs and datasets, focusing mainly on semantic segmentation (using U-Net, DeepLabv3+, SegNet, and VGG-16 as highly representative models). Pruned U-Net on agricultural benchmarks achieves 98.7% parameters and 97.5% FLOPs drop, with a 0.35% gain in accuracy. DeepLabv3+ and SegNet on CamVid reach 46.5% and 72.4% parameters reduction and a 51.9% and 83.6% FLOPs drop respectively, with almost no decrease in accuracy. VGG-16 on CIFAR-10 obtains up to 86.5% parameter and 82.2% FLOPs decrease with a 0.78% accuracy gain.
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López-González CI, Gascó E, Barrientos-Espillco F, Besada-Portas E, Pajares G. Filter pruning for convolutional neural networks in semantic image segmentation. Neural Networks. 2024 Jan;169:713-32
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