Published in IEEE Signal Processing Letters
Deep neural networks have exhibited promising performance in image super-resolution (SR). Most SR models follow a hierarchical architecture that contains both the cell-level design of computational blocks and the network-level design of the positions of upsampling blocks. However, designing SR models heavily relies on human expertise and is very labor-intensive. More critically, these SR models often contain a huge number of parameters and may not meet the requirements of computation resources in real-world applications. To address the above issues, we propose a Hierarchical Neural Architecture Search (HNAS) method to automatically design promising architectures with different requirements of computation cost. To this end, we design a hierarchical SR search space and propose a hierarchical controller for architecture search. Such a hierarchical controller is able to simultaneously find promising cell-level blocks and network-level positions of upsampling layers. Moreover, to design compact architectures with promising performance, we build a joint reward by considering both the performance and computation cost to guide the search process. Extensive experiments on five benchmark datasets demonstrate the superiority of our method over existing methods.