Adaptive Data-Free Quantization

Biao Qian · Yang Wang · Richang Hong · Meng Wang

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 367


Data-free quantization (DFQ) recovers the performance of quantized network (Q) without the original data, but generates the fake sample via a generator (G) by learning from full-precision network (P), which, however, is totally independent of Q, overlooking the adaptability of the knowledge from generated samples, i.e., informative or not to the learning process of Q, resulting into the overflow of generalization error. Building on this, several critical questions -- how to measure the sample adaptability to Q under varied bit-width scenarios? whether the largest adaptability is the best? how to generate the samples with adaptive adaptability to improve Q’s generalization? To answer the above questions, in this paper, we propose an Adaptive Data-Free Quantization (AdaDFQ) method, which revisits DFQ from a zero-sum game perspective upon the sample adaptability between two players -- a generator and a quantized network. Following this viewpoint, we further define the disagreement and agreement samples to form two boundaries, where the margin between two boundaries is optimized to adaptively regulate the adaptability of generated samples to Q, so as to address the over-and-under fitting issues. Our AdaDFQ reveals: 1) the largest adaptability is NOT the best for sample generation to benefit Q’s generalization; 2) the knowledge of the generated sample should not be informative to Q only, but also related to the category and distribution information of the training data for P. The theoretical and empirical analysis validate the advantages of AdaDFQ over the state-of-the-arts. Our code is available at

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