Non-deep Networks


Latency is of utmost importance in safety-critical systems. In neural networks, latency is fundamentally dependent on the depth of the network. This begs the question — is it possible to build high-performing “non-deep” neural networks? We show that it is. To do so, we use parallel subnetworks instead of stacking one layer after another. This helps effectively reduce depth while maintaining high performance. By utilizing parallel substructures, we show, for the first time, that a network with a depth of just 12 can achieve top-1 accuracy over 80% on ImageNet, 96% on CIFAR10, and 81% on CIFAR100. We also show that a network with a low-depth (12) backbone can achieve an AP of 48% on MS-COCO. We analyze the scaling rules for our design and show how to increase performance without changing the network’s depth. Finally, we provide a proof of concept for how non-deep networks could be used to build low-latency recognition systems. We will open-source our code.