Review: Inception-v3 — 1st Runner Up (Image Classification) in ILSVRC 2015

Sik-Ho Tsang
7 min readSep 10, 2018

In this story, Inception-v3 [1] is reviewed. By rethinking the inception architecture, computational efficiency and fewer parameters are realized. With fewer parameters, 42-layer deep learning network, with similar complexity as VGGNet, can be achieved.

AlexNet [2]: 60 million parameters
VGGNet [3]: 3× more parameters than AlexNet
GoogLeNet / Inception-v1 [4]: 7 million parameters

With 42 layers, lower error rate is obtained and make it become the 1st Runner Up for image classification in ILSVRC (ImageNet Large Scale Visual Recognition Competition) 2015. And it is a 2016 CVPR paper with about 2000 citations when I was writing this story. (Sik-Ho Tsang @ Medium)

Image Classification Error Rate in ILSVRC 2015

ImageNet, is a dataset of over 15 millions labeled high-resolution images with around 22,000 categories. ILSVRC uses a subset of ImageNet of around 1000 images in each of 1000 categories. In all, there are roughly 1.2 million training images, 50,000 validation images and 100,000 testing images.

About The Inception Versions

There are 4 versions. The first GoogLeNet must be the Inception-v1 [4], but there are numerous typos in Inception-v3 [1] which lead to wrong descriptions about Inception versions. These maybe due to the intense ILSVRC competition at that moment. Consequently, there are many reviews in the internet mixing up between v2 and v3. Some of the reviews even think that v2 and v3 are the same with only some minor different settings.

Nevertheless, in Inception-v4 [5], Google has a much more clear description about the version issue:

“The Inception deep convolutional architecture was introduced as GoogLeNet in (Szegedy et al. 2015a), here named Inception-v1. Later the Inception architecture was refined in various ways, first by the introduction of batch normalization (Ioffe and Szegedy 2015) (Inception-v2). Later by additional factorization ideas in the third iteration (Szegedy et al. 2015b) which will be referred to as Inception-v3 in this report.”

Thus, the BN-Inception / Inception-v2 [6] is talking about batch normalization while Inception-v3 [1] is talking about factorization ideas.

What are covered:

  1. Factorizing Convolutions
  2. Auxiliary Classifiers
  3. Efficient Grid Size Reduction
  4. Inception-v3 Architecture
  5. Label Smoothing As Regularization
  6. Ablation Study
  7. Comparison with State-of-the-art Approaches

1. Factorizing Convolutions

The aim of factorizing Convolutions is to reduce the number of connections/parameters without decreasing the network efficiency.

1.1. Factorization Into Smaller Convolutions

Two 3×3 convolutions replaces one 5×5 convolution as follows:

Two 3×3 convolutions replacing one 5×5 convolution

By using 1 layer of 5×5 filter, number of parameters = 5×5=25
By using 2 layers of 3×3 filters, number of parameters = 3×3+3×3=18
Number of parameters is reduced by 28%

Similar technique has been mentioned in VGGNet [3] already.

With this technique, one of the new Inception modules (I call it Inception Module A here) becomes:

Inception Module A using factorization

1.2. Factorization Into Asymmetric Convolutions

One 3×1 convolution followed by one 1×3 convolution replaces one 3×3 convolution as follows:

One 3×1 convolution followed by one 1×3 convolution replaces one 3×3 convolution

By using 3×3 filter, number of parameters = 3×3=9
By using 3×1 and 1×3 filters, number of parameters = 3×1+1×3=6
Number of parameters is reduced by 33%

You may ask why we don’t use two 2×2 filters to replace one 3×3 filter?

If we use two 2×2 filters, number of parameters = 2×2×2=8
Number of parameters is only reduced by 11%

With this technique, one of the new Inception modules (I call it Inception Module B here) becomes:

Inception Module B using asymmetric factorization

And Inception module C is also proposed for promoting high dimensional representations according to author descriptions as follows:

Inception Module C using asymmetric factorization

Thus, authors suggest these 3 kinds of Inception Modules. With factorization, number of parameters is reduced for the whole network, it is less likely to be overfitting, and consequently, the network can go deeper!

2. Auxiliary Classifier

Auxiliary Classifiers were already suggested in GoogLeNet / Inception-v1 [4]. There are some modifications in Inception-v3.

Only 1 auxiliary classifier is used on the top of the last 17×17 layer, instead of using 2 auxiliary classifiers. (The overall architecture would be shown later.)

Auxiliary Classifier act as a regularization

The purpose is also different. In GoogLeNet / Inception-v1 [4], auxiliary classifiers are used for having deeper network. In Inception-v3, auxiliary classifier is used as regularizer. So, actually, in deep learning, the modules are still quite intuitive.

Batch normalization, suggested in Inception-v2 [6], is also used in the auxiliary classifier.

3. Efficient Grid Size Reduction

Conventionally, such as AlexNet and VGGNet, the feature map downsizing is done by max pooling. But the drawback is either too greedy by max pooling followed by conv layer, or too expensive by conv layer followed by max pooling. Here, an efficient grid size reduction is proposed as follows:

Conventional downsizing (Top Left), Efficient Grid Size Reduction (Bottom Left), Detailed Architecture of Efficient Grid Size Reduction (Right)

With the efficient grid size reduction, 320 feature maps are done by conv with stride 2. 320 feature maps are obtained by max pooling. And these 2 sets of feature maps are concatenated as 640 feature maps and go to the next level of inception module.

Less expensive and still efficient network is achieved by this efficient grid size reduction.

4. Inception-v3 Architecture

There are some typos for the architecture in the passage and table within the paper. I believe this is due to the intense ILSVRC competition in 2015. I thereby look into the codes to realize the architecture:

Inception-v3 Architecture (Batch Norm and ReLU are used after Conv)

With 42 layers deep, the computation cost is only about 2.5 higher than that of GoogLeNet [4], and much more efficient than that of VGGNet [3].

The links I use for reference about the architecture:

PyTorch version of Inception-v3:

Inception-v3 on Google Cloud

5. Label Smoothing As Regularization

The purpose of label smoothing is to prevent the largest logit from becoming much larger than all others:

new_labels = (1 — ε) * one_hot_labels + ε / K

where ε is 0.1 which is a hyperparameter and K is 1000 which is the number of classes. A kind of dropout effect observed in classifier layer.

6. Ablation Study

Ablation Study (single-model single-crop)

Using single-model single-crop, we can see the top-1 error rate is improved when proposed techniques are added on top of each other:

Inception-v1: 29%
Inception-v2: 25.2%

Inception-v3: 23.4%
+ RMSProp: 23.1%
+ Label Smoothing: 22.8%
+ 7×7 Factorization: 21.6%
+ Auxiliary Classifier: 21.2% (With top-5 error rate of 5.6%)

where 7×7 Factorization is to factorize the first 7×7 conv layer into three 3×3 conv layer.

7. Comparison with State-of-the-art Approaches

Single-Model Multi-Crop Results

With single-model multi-crop, Inception-v3 with 144 crops obtains top-5 error rate is 4.2%, which outperforms PReLU-Net and Inception-v2 which were published in 2015.

Multi-Model Multi-Crop Results

With multi-model multi-crop, Inception-v3 with 144 crops and 4 models ensembled, the top-5 error rate of 3.58% is obtained, and finally obtained 1st Runner Up (image classification) in ILSVRC 2015, while the winner is ResNet [7] which will be reviewed later. Of course, Inception-v4 [5] will also be reviewed later on as well.



Sik-Ho Tsang

PhD, Researcher. I share what I learn. :) Linktree: for Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.