Data-Free Knowledge Distillation for Object Detection

We present DeepInversion for Object Detection (DIODE) to enable data-free knowledge distillation for neural networks trained on the object detection task. From a data-free perspective, DIODE synthesizes images given only an off-the-shelf pre-trained detection network and without any prior domain knowledge, generator network, or pre-computed activations. DIODE relies on two key components--first, an extensive set of differentiable augmentations to improve image fidelity and distillation effectiveness. Second, a novel automated bounding box and category sampling scheme for image synthesis enabling generating a large number of images with a diverse set of spatial and category objects. The resulting images enable data-free knowledge distillation from a teacher to a student detector, initialized from scratch. In an extensive set of experiments, we demonstrate that DIODE's ability to match the original training distribution consistently enables more effective knowledge distillation than out-of-distribution proxy datasets, which unavoidably occur in a data-free setup given the absence of the original domain knowledge.


Akshay Chawla (CMU)
Jose M. Alvarez (NVIDIA)

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