Main Content

Inference Comparison Between ONNX and Imported Networks for Image Classification

This example shows how to compare the inference (prediction) results of an ONNX™ model and the imported MATLAB® network for an image classification task. First, use the network for prediction in ONNX and save the prediction results. Then, import the network in MATLAB using the importONNXNetwork function and predict the classification outputs for the same images used to predict in ONNX.

You can also use the workflow in this example to compare a MATLAB deep learning network and the exported model into ONNX. Use exportONNXNetwork to export a MATLAB network to the ONNX model format.

Create ONNX Model and Image Data Set

Generate an ONNX model of the squeezenet convolutional neural network.

squeezeNet = squeezenet;

Create the image data set.

Im1 = imresize(imread("peacock.jpg"),[227 227]);
Im2 = imresize(imread("sherlock.jpg"),[227 227]);
Im3 = imresize(imread("peppers.png"),[227 227]);
Im4 = imresize(imread("lighthouse.png"),[227 227]);

X = cat(4,Im1,Im2,Im3,Im4);

Create the data set that the ONNX model uses for prediction. Permute the 2-D image data from the Deep Learning Toolbox™ ordering (HWCN) to the ONNX ordering (NCHW), where H, W, and C are the height, width, and number of channels of the images, respectively, and N is the number of images.

X_onnx = single(X);
X_onnx = permute(X_onnx,[4,3,1,2]);

Save the data set to a MAT file.

filename = "TestIms.mat";

Inference with ONNX Network

Load a pretrained ONNX network for image classification in Python® and classify new images.

Import libraries.

import onnxruntime as rt
import as sio

Load the image data from TestIms.mat.

data = sio.loadmat("TestIms.mat")
X = data["X_onnx"]

Load the pretrained ONNX network.

sess = rt.InferenceSession("squeezeNet.onnx")
input_name = sess.get_inputs()[0].name

Classify new images.

scores =,{input_name:X})

Save the classification scores in the MAT file ONNXData.mat.


Inference with Imported Network

Import the pretrained ONNX network into MATLAB using importONNXNetwork and classify the same images as with the ONNX network.

Specify the class names.

ClassNames = squeezeNet.Layers(end).Classes;

Import the pretrained squeezeNet.onnx model and specify the classes. By default, importONNXNetwork imports the network as a DAGNetwork object.

net = importONNXNetwork("squeezeNet.onnx",Classes=ClassNames)
net = 
  DAGNetwork with properties:

         Layers: [70x1 nnet.cnn.layer.Layer]
    Connections: [77x2 table]
     InputNames: {'data'}
    OutputNames: {'ClassificationLayer_prob'}

Predict class labels and classification scores using the imported network.

[labels_dlt,scores_dlt] = classify(net,X);

For this example, the data X is in the correct ordering. Note that if the image data X is in ONNX dimension ordering, you must convert X to the Deep Learning Toolbox ordering by entering X = permute(X,[3,4,2,1]).

Display the sequence of images and the classification results.

t = tiledlayout(2,2);
for i = 1:size(X,4)
t.TileSpacing = "compact";
t.Padding = "compact";

Figure contains 4 axes objects. Axes object 1 with title peacock contains an object of type image. Axes object 2 with title golden retriever contains an object of type image. Axes object 3 with title bell pepper contains an object of type image. Axes object 4 with title beacon contains an object of type image.

Compare Accuracy

Load the ONNX network scores from ONNXData.mat, attached to this example as a supporting file. To access, open the example in Live Editor.


Compare the inference results (classification scores) of the ONNX network (scores_onnx) and the imported network (scores_dlt).

diff = max(abs(scores_dlt-squeeze(scores_onnx)),[],"all")
diff = single

The difference between inference results is negligible, which strongly indicates that the ONNX network and the imported network are the same.

As a secondary check, you can compare the classification labels. First, compute the class labels predicted by the ONNX network. Then, compare the labels predicted by the ONNX network and the imported network.

[~,ind] = max(squeeze(scores_onnx),[],2);
labels_onnx = categorical(ClassNames(ind))
labels_onnx = 4x1 categorical
     golden retriever 
     bell pepper 

ans = logical

The labels are the same, which indicates that the two networks are the same.

See Also