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Dual Lottery Ticket Hypothesis

Yue Bai · Huan Wang · Zhiqiang Tao · Kunpeng Li · Yun Fu


Fully exploiting the learning capacity of neural networks requires overparameterized dense networks. On the other side, directly training sparse neural networks typically results in unsatisfactory performance. Lottery Ticket Hypothesis (LTH) provides a novel view to investigate sparse network training and maintain its capacity. Concretely, it claims there exist winning tickets from a randomly initialized network found by iterative magnitude pruning and preserving promising trainability (or we say being in trainable condition). In this work, we regard the winning ticket from LTH as the subnetwork which is in trainable condition and its performance as our benchmark, then go from a complementary direction to articulate the Dual Lottery Ticket Hypothesis (DLTH): Randomly selected subnetworks from a randomly initialized dense network can be transformed into a trainable condition and achieve admirable performance compared with LTH --- random tickets in a given lottery pool can be transformed into winning tickets. Specifically, by using uniform-randomly selected subnetworks to represent the general cases, we propose a simple sparse network training strategy, Random Sparse Network Transformation (RST), to substantiate our DLTH. Concretely, we introduce a regularization term to borrow learning capacity and realize information extrusion from the weights which will be masked. After finishing the transformation for the randomly selected subnetworks, we conduct the regular finetuning to evaluate the model using fair comparisons with LTH and other strong baselines. Extensive experiments on several public datasets and comparisons with competitive approaches validate our DLTH as well as the effectiveness of the proposed model RST. Our work is expected to pave a way for inspiring new research directions of sparse network training in the future. Our code is available at

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