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Learning To Retain While Acquiring: Combating Distribution-Shift in Adversarial Data-Free Knowledge Distillation

Gaurav Patel · Konda Reddy Mopuri · Qiang Qiu

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 350


Data-free Knowledge Distillation (DFKD) has gained popularity recently, with the fundamental idea of carrying out knowledge transfer from a Teacher neural network to a Student neural network in the absence of training data. However, in the Adversarial DFKD framework, the student network’s accuracy, suffers due to the non-stationary distribution of the pseudo-samples under multiple generator updates. To this end, at every generator update, we aim to maintain the student’s performance on previously encountered examples while acquiring knowledge from samples of the current distribution. Thus, we propose a meta-learning inspired framework by treating the task of Knowledge-Acquisition (learning from newly generated samples) and Knowledge-Retention (retaining knowledge on previously met samples) as meta-train and meta-test, respectively. Hence, we dub our method as Learning to Retain while Acquiring. Moreover, we identify an implicit aligning factor between the Knowledge-Retention and Knowledge-Acquisition tasks indicating that the proposed student update strategy enforces a common gradient direction for both tasks, alleviating interference between the two objectives. Finally, we support our hypothesis by exhibiting extensive evaluation and comparison of our method with prior arts on multiple datasets.

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