Keywords: [ weakly submodular optimization ] [ Structured pruning ] [ neural networks compression ]
Structured pruning is an effective approach for compressing large pre-trained neural networks without significantly affecting their performance. However, most current structured pruning methods do not provide any performance guarantees, and often require fine-tuning, which makes them inapplicable in the limited-data regime. We propose a principled data-efficient structured pruning method based on submodular optimization. In particular, for a given layer, we select neurons/channels to prune and corresponding new weights for the next layer, that minimize the change in the next layer's input induced by pruning. We show that this selection problem is a weakly submodular maximization problem, thus it can be provably approximated using an efficient greedy algorithm. Our method is guaranteed to have an exponentially decreasing error between the original model and the pruned model outputs w.r.t the pruned size, under reasonable assumptions. It is also one of the few methods in the literature that uses only a limited-number of training data and no labels. Our experimental results demonstrate that our method outperforms state-of-the-art methods in the limited-data regime.