Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track
Dian Qin, Haishuai Wang, Zhe Liu, HONGJIA XU, Sheng Zhou, Jiajun Bu
3D convolutional neural networks have revealed superior performance in processing volumetric data such as video and medical imaging. However, the competitive performance by leveraging 3D networks results in huge computational costs, which are far beyond that of 2D networks. In this paper, we propose a novel Hilbert curve-based cross-dimensionality distillation approach that facilitates the knowledge of 3D networks to improve the performance of 2D networks. The proposed Hilbert Distillation (HD) method preserves the structural information via the Hilbert curve, which maps high-dimensional (>=2) representations to one-dimensional continuous space-filling curves. Since the distilled 2D networks are supervised by the curves converted from dimensionally heterogeneous 3D features, the 2D networks are given an informative view in terms of learning structural information embedded in well-trained high-dimensional representations. We further propose a Variable-length Hilbert Distillation (VHD) method to dynamically shorten the walking stride of the Hilbert curve in activation feature areas and lengthen the stride in context feature areas, forcing the 2D networks to pay more attention to learning from activation features. The proposed algorithm outperforms the current state-of-the-art distillation techniques adapted to cross-dimensionality distillation on two classification tasks. Moreover, the distilled 2D networks by the proposed method achieve competitive performance with the original 3D networks, indicating the lightweight distilled 2D networks could potentially be the substitution of cumbersome 3D networks in the real-world scenario.