Denoising diffusion (score-based) generative models have recently achieved significant accomplishments in generating realistic and diverse data. These approaches define a forward diffusion process for transforming data into noise and a backward denoising process for sampling data from noise. Unfortunately, the generation process of current denoising diffusion models is notoriously slow due to the lengthy iterative noise estimations, which rely on cumbersome neural networks. It prevents the diffusion models from being widely deployed, especially on edge devices. Previous works accelerate the generation process of diffusion model (DM) via finding shorter yet effective sampling trajectories. However, they overlook the cost of noise estimation with a heavy network in every iteration. In this work, we accelerate generation from the perspective of compressing the noise estimation network. Due to the difficulty of retraining DMs, we exclude mainstream training-aware compression paradigms and introduce post-training quantization (PTQ) into DM acceleration. However, the output distributions of noise estimation networks change with time-step, making previous PTQ methods fail in DMs since they are designed for single-time step scenarios. To devise a DM-specific PTQ method, we explore PTQ on DM in three aspects: quantized operations, calibration dataset, and calibration metric. We summarize and use several observations derived from all-inclusive investigations to formulate our method, which especially targets the unique multi-time-step structure of DMs. Experimentally, our method can directly quantize full-precision DMs into 8-bit models while maintaining or even improving their performance in a training-free manner. Importantly, our method can serve as a plug-and-play module on other fast-sampling methods, e.g., DDIM.
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