Neural networks are extremely flexible models due to their large number of parameters, which is beneficial for learning, but also highly redundant. This makes it possible to compress neural networks without having a drastic effect on performance. We introduce targeted dropout, a strategy for post hoc pruning of neural network weights and units that builds the pruning mechanism directly into learning. At each weight update, targeted dropout selects a candidate set for pruning using a simple selection criterion, and then stochastically prunes the network via dropout applied to this set. The resulting network learns to be explicitly robust to pruning, comparing favourably to more complicated regularization schemes while at the same time being extremely simple to implement, and easy to tune.
Aidan Gomez, Ivan Zhang, Kevin Swersky, Yarin Gal, Geoffrey E. Hinton
Workshop on Compact Deep Neural Networks with industrial applications, NeurIPS 2018