Gender recognition has been among the most investigated problems in the last years; although several contributions have been proposed, gender recognition in unconstrained environments is still a challenging problem and a definitive solution has not been found yet. Furthermore, Deep Convolutional Neural Networks (DCNNs) achieve very interesting performance, but they typically require a huge amount of computational resources (CPU, GPU, RAM, storage), that are not always available in real systems, due to their cost or to specific application constraints (when the application needs to be installed directly on board of low-power smart cameras, e.g. for digital signage). In the latest years the Machine Learning community developed an interest towards optimizing the efficiency of Deep Learning solutions, in order to make them portable and widespread. In this work we propose a compact DCNN architecture for Gender Recognition from face images that achieves approximately state of the art accuracy at a highly reduced computational cost (almost five times). We also perform a sensitivity analysis in order to show how some changes in the architecture of the network can influence the tradeoff between accuracy and speed. In addition, we compare our optimized architecture with popular efficient CNNs on various common benchmark dataset, widely adopted in the scientific community, namely LFW, MIVIA-Gender, IMDB-WIKI and Adience, demonstrating the effectiveness of the proposed solution.
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