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Types of Neural Network optimizations

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Optimizations are required to run training and inference of Neural Networks faster on a particular hardware infrastructure. It is important to maintain the accuracy of Neural Networks while applying various optimizations.


The various types of Neural Network optimizations available are as follows:

Weight pruning

  • Element-wise pruning using:
    • magnitude thresholding
    • sensitivity thresholding
    • target sparsity level
    • activation statistics

Structured pruning

Pruning is a technique to reduce the number of activation values involved in a Neural Network which in turn which reduce the number of computations required.

  • Convolution:

    • 2D (kernel-wise)
    • 3D (filter-wise)
    • 4D (layer-wise)
    • channel-wise structured pruning
  • Fully-connected:

    • column-wise structured pruning
    • row-wise structured pruning
  • Structure groups

  • Structure-ranking using:

    • weights
    • activations criteria like:
      • Lp-norm
      • APoZ
      • gradients
      • random
  • Block pruning


  • Soft and hard pruning
  • Dual weight copies
  • Model thinning to permanently remove pruned neurons and connections.


  • Compression scheduling: Flexible scheduling of pruning, regularization, and learning rate decay
  • One-shot and iterative pruning
  • Automatic gradual schedule for pruning individual connections and complete structures
  • Element-wise and filter-wise pruning sensitivity analysis


  • L1-norm element-wise regularization
  • Group Lasso or group variance regularization


  • Post-training quantization
  • quantization-aware training

Knowledge distillation

  • Training with knowledge distillation along with:
    • pruning
    • regularization
    • quantization methods.

Conditional computation

  • Early Exit
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Types of Neural Network optimizations
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