Keywords: [ data-free knowledge distillation ] [ forgetting ] [ adversarial ]
Data-free Knowledge Distillation (DFKD) has attracted attention recently thanks to its appealing capability of transferring knowledge from a teacher network to a student network without using training data. The main idea is to use a generator to synthesize data for training the student. As the generator gets updated, the distribution of synthetic data will change. Such distribution shift could be large if the generator and the student are trained adversarially, causing the student to forget the knowledge it acquired at the previous steps. To alleviate this problem, we propose a simple yet effective method called Momentum Adversarial Distillation (MAD) which maintains an exponential moving average (EMA) copy of the generator and uses synthetic samples from both the generator and the EMA generator to train the student. Since the EMA generator can be considered as an ensemble of the generator's old versions and often undergoes a smaller change in updates compared to the generator, training on its synthetic samples can help the student recall the past knowledge and prevent the student from adapting too quickly to the new updates of the generator. Our experiments on six benchmark datasets including big datasets like ImageNet and Places365 demonstrate the superior performance of MAD over competing methods for handling the large distribution shift problem. Our method also compares favorably to existing DFKD methods and even achieves state-of-the-art results in some cases.