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Towards Anytime Classification in Early-Exit Architectures by Enforcing Conditional Monotonicity

Metod Jazbec · James Allingham · Dan Zhang · Eric Nalisnick

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #514


Modern predictive models are often deployed to environments in which computational budgets are dynamic. Anytime algorithms are well-suited to such environments as, at any point during computation, they can output a prediction whose quality is a function of computation time. Early-exit neural networks have garnered attention in the context of anytime computation due to their capability to provide intermediate predictions at various stages throughout the network. However, we demonstrate that current early-exit networks are not directly applicable to anytime settings, as the quality of predictions for individual data points is not guaranteed to improve with longer computation. To address this shortcoming, we propose an elegant post-hoc modification, based on the Product-of-Experts, that encourages an early-exit network to become gradually confident. This gives our deep models the property of conditional monotonicity in the prediction quality---an essential building block towards truly anytime predictive modeling using early-exit architectures. Our empirical results on standard image-classification tasks demonstrate that such behaviors can be achieved while preserving competitive accuracy on average.

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