TunableQuantization Algorithm


TunableQuantization algorithm is a modified version (to support hyperparameters setting by Tree-Structured Parzen Estimator (TPE)) of the vanilla MinMaxQuantization quantization method that automatically inserts FakeQuantize operations into the model graph based on the specified target hardware and initializes them using statistics collected on the calibration dataset. It is recommended to be run as a part of an optimization pipeline similar to the one used in **DefaultQuantization** :

  • ActivationChannelAlignment - Used as a preliminary step before quantization and allows you to align ranges of output activations of Convolutional layers in order to reduce the quantization error.

  • TunableQuantization - Used instead of MinMaxQuantization to allow tuning using Tree-Structured Parzen Estimator (TPE).

  • FastBiasCorrection - Adjusts biases of Convolutional and Fully-Connected layers based on the quantization error of the layer in order to make the overall error unbiased.


The recommended parameters sets for TunableQuantization are provided in post-training optimization best practices. Here we present the complete reference of parameters with their low-level meaning. It is intended for advanced users who would like to experiment with new Tree-Structured Parzen Estimator (TPE) ‘s search spaces.

The algorithm accepts the following parameters:

  • "preset" - preset which controls the quantization mode (symmetric and asymmetric). It can take two values:

    • "performance" (default) - stands for symmetric quantization of weights and activations. This is the most performant across all the hardware.

    • "mixed" - symmetric quantization of weights and asymmetric quantization of activations. This mode can be useful for quantization of neural networks which has both negative and positive input values in quantizing operations.

  • "stat_subset_size" - size of subset to calculate activations statistics used for quantization. The whole dataset is used if no parameter specified. We recommend using not less than 300 samples.

  • "tuning_scope" determines which quantization configurations will be returned to Tree-Structured Parzen Estimator (TPE) as viable options and can be a list of any combination of the following values:

    • "bits" - layer-wise choice of precision (e.g. INT8, INT4) if hardware supports

    • "mode" - layer-wise choice of symmetric or asymmetric quantization mode

    • "range_estimator" - layer-wise choice of configuration of the algorithm used to estimate min/max FP32 values for the layer

    • "layer" - adds to the possible quantization configurations option that specific layer will not be quantized

  • "estimator_tuning_scope" determines which parameters of the FP32 range estimator will be tuned. This parameter is only necessary when "range_estimator" is part of "tuning_scope". Value is a list of any combination of the following values:

    • "preset" - choice between two presets: default (using min/max functions) and quantile (removes outlier values out of FP32 range)

    • "type" - choice similar to preset, but a bit more granular i.e. separate configuration of min and max functions for every layer

    • "aggregator" - choice of function used to aggregate min/max values from all input data samples

    • "outlier_prob" - enables tuning of outlier probability value for quantile configurations – outlier probability specify what fraction of FP32 values in input will be considered as out of range and will get saturated min/max value

  • "outlier_prob_choices" - list of "outlier_prob" values to use when tuning "outlier_prob" parameter. This parameter is only necessary when "outlier_prob" is part of "estimator_tuning_scope".

List of quantization configurations that will be returned to Tree-Structured Parzen Estimator (TPE) as viable options is done through derivation process. This derivation is done by creating a list of all available quantization configurations supported by target hardware and then filtering it using base configuration (either from "preset" or previous best result) and "tuning_scope". Filtering is done by choosing from all available options only those that differ from base configuration only on values of variables specified in "tuning_scope".

The selection of whether to use "preset" or previous best result as base configuration depends on Tree-Structured Parzen Estimator (TPE) ‘s "trials_load_method" :

  • "cold_start - preset" determines base quantization configuration,

  • "fine_tune - preset" option is ignored and quantization configuration used to achieve the best result in previous run is used as base quantization configuration.

Below is a fragment of the configuration file that shows overall structure of parameters for this algorithm.

"name": "TunableQuantization",
"params": {
    /* Preset is a collection of optimization algorithm parameters that will specify to the algorithm
    to improve which metric the algorithm needs to concentrate. Each optimization algorithm supports
    [performance, mixed, accuracy] presets which control the quantization mode (symmetric, mixed(weights symmetric and activations asymmetric), and fully asymmetric respectively)*/
    "preset": "performance",
    "stat_subset_size": 300,   // Size of subset to calculate activations statistics that can be used
                               // for quantization parameters calculation.
    "tuning_scope": ["layer"], // List of quantization parameters that will be tuned,
                               // available options: [bits, mode, granularity, layer, range_estimator]
    "estimator_tuning_scope": ["preset", "aggregator", "type", "outlier_prob"], // List of range_estimator parameters that will be tuned,
                                                                                // available options: [preset, aggregator, type, outlier_prob]
    "outlier_prob_choices": [1e-3, 1e-4, 1e-5] // List of outlier_prob values to use when tuning outlier_prob parameter