EasyQuant: An Efficient Data-free Quantization Algorithm for LLMs

Hanlin Tang, Yifu Sun, Decheng Wu, Kai Liu, Jianchen Zhu, Zhanhui Kang
Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence (cs.AI), Machine Learning (cs.LG)
2024-03-05 00:00:00
Large language models (LLMs) have proven to be very superior to conventional methods in various tasks. However, their expensive computations and high memory requirements are prohibitive for deployment. Model quantization is an effective method for reducing this overhead. The problem is that in most previous works, the quantized model was calibrated using few samples from the training data, which might affect the generalization of the quantized LLMs to unknown cases and tasks. Hence in this work, we explore an important question: Can we design a data-independent quantization method for LLMs to guarantee its generalization performance? In this work, we propose EasyQuant, a training-free and data-independent weight-only quantization algorithm for LLMs. Our observation indicates that two factors: outliers in the weight and quantization ranges, are essential for reducing the quantization error. Therefore, in EasyQuant, we leave the outliers (less than 1%) unchanged and optimize the quantization range to reduce the reconstruction error. With these methods, we surprisingly find that EasyQuant achieves comparable performance to the original model. Since EasyQuant does not depend on any training data, the generalization performance of quantized LLMs is safely guaranteed. Moreover, EasyQuant can be implemented in parallel so that the quantized model could be attained in a few minutes even for LLMs over 100B. To our best knowledge, we are the first work that achieves almost lossless quantization performance for LLMs under a data-independent setting and our algorithm runs over 10 times faster than the data-dependent methods.
PDF: EasyQuant: An Efficient Data-free Quantization Algorithm for LLMs.pdf
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