Beyond Test Accuracy: The Effects of Model Compression on CNNs
Model compression is widely employed to deploy convolutional neural networks on devices with limited computational resources or power limitations. For high stakes applications, such as autonomous driving, it is, however, important that compression techniques do not impair the safety of the system. In this paper, we therefore investigate the changes introduced by three compression methods - post-training quantization, global unstructured pruning, and the combination of both - that go beyond the test accuracy. To this end, we trained three image classifiers on two datasets and compared them regarding their performance on the class level and regarding their attention to different input regions. Although the deviations in test accuracy were minimal, our results show that the considered compression techniques introduce substantial changes to the models that reflect in the quality of predictions of individual classes and in the salience of input regions. While we did not observe the introduction of systematic errors or biases towards certain classes, these changes can significantly impact the failure modes of CNNs and thus are highly relevant for safety analyses. We therefore conclude that it is important to be aware of the changes caused by model compression and to already consider them in the early stages of the development process.