Disturbance-immune Weight Sharing for Neural Architecture Search

Neural Networks


Neural architecture search (NAS) has gained increasing attention in the community of architecture design. One of the key factors behind the success lies in the training efficiency created by the weight sharing (WS) technique. However, WS-based NAS methods often suffer from a performance disturbance (PD) issue. That is, the training of subsequent architectures inevitably disturbs the performance of previously trained architectures due to the partially shared weights. This leads to inaccurate performance estimation for the previous architectures, which makes it hard to learn a good search strategy. To alleviate the performance disturbance issue, we propose a new disturbance-immune update strategy for model updating. Specifically, to preserve the knowledge learned by previous architectures, we constrain the training of subsequent architectures in an orthogonal space via orthogonal gradient descent. Equipped with this strategy, we propose a novel disturbance-immune training scheme for NAS. We theoretically analyze the effectiveness of our strategy in alleviating the PD risk. Extensive experiments on CIFAR-10 and ImageNet verify the superiority of our method.