What’s The Difference Between Pruned & Unpruned Models in Machine Learning?

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Pruned and unpruned models are two variations of neural networks that differ in the way they manage weights or connections between digital neurons in a neural network. The end goal of every deep-learning neural network is to be efficient, fast, and be smaller size network that can provide good-quality outputs. A neural network can achieve this by cutting down on unnecessary connections, or weights, between neurons in a network. In this article, I will explain the differences between pruned and unpruned stable diffusion models and which one should you use for stable diffusion.

What is a neural network?

A neural network is a complex model capable of stimulating some behavior of neurons and its complex connections in the human brain. These networks consist of many interconnected layers of neurons, where each neuron receives input from other neurons in a network and perform a mathematical operation, then the result of the operation is passed on to other neurons until the final output is generated. During the training phase, neurons in this network adjusts the weights of the connections to minimize the difference between the predicted output and the actual output.

Difference between pruned & unpruned models?

The fundamental difference between pruned & unpruned models lies in the ability of pruned models to reduce the computational resources required for inference while still maintaining a high degree of accuracy.

Benefits of a pruned network

Less Computational Requirements

Pruning a neural network considerably reduce the size of a neural network by removing the connections or weights that are considered redundant or have very little effect on the output. Pruned models thus will have a smaller number of connections than unpruned models, which will require fewer computational resources to run the model.

Smaller Size

Removing these redundant connections or weights will also result in it taking lesser storage space. This can be very helpful, especially running these in environments or applications where memory is a limiting factor.

Better Performance

Another major advantage of pruned models is that they can perform inference much faster than unpruned models. During inference, the model simply takes in input and generates output without modifying the weights and since the pruned model has fewer weights, it can perform the necessary calculations far more quickly than an unpruned model. This speed advantage can be especially important for real-time applications where speed is critical, such as self-driving cars or voice assistants.

Drawbacks of a pruned network

Removing weights can sometimes have a negative impact on the accuracy of the model, especially during the training phase. This accuracy difference also varies based on what methods are used when pruning a network, you can read this article written by Jacob Gildenblat to learn more.

During the training phase, the weights are adjusted to minimize the error between the predicted output and the actual output, removing few of these weights can make it more difficult for the model to converge to an optimal solution. Therefore, pruned models may not be suitable for training applications where accuracy is the primary concern.

Unpruned stable diffusion models, on the other hand, are neural networks that have not undergone the pruning process. Since they have a larger number of weights than pruned models and require more computational resources to execute. However, unpruned models are better suited for training applications since they have a larger number of weights to work with. This allows them to capture more subtle variations in the data and produce more accurate results.


In conclusion, pruned and unpruned stable diffusion models are two variations of neural networks that differ in their ability to reduce computational resources. Pruned models are more suitable for inference applications where speed is critical, while unpruned models are better suited for training applications where accuracy is the primary concern. Both techniques have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them depends on the specific application requirements. If you want to test out difference in performance between pruned and unpruned model, read this article about how to use stable diffusion on Google Colab. Also read this article about downloading models from Civitai.

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