With the rise of Transformers as the standard for language processing, and their advancements in computer vision, along with their unprecedented size and amounts of training data, many have come to believe that they are not suitable for small sets of data. This trend leads to great concerns, including but not limited to: limited availability of data in certain scientific domains and the exclusion of those with limited resource from research in the field. In this paper, we dispel the myth that transformers are “data hungry” and therefore can only be applied to large sets of data. We show for the first time that with the right size and tokenization, transformers can perform head-to-head with state-of-the-art CNNs on small datasets. Our model eliminates the requirement for class token and positional embeddings through a novel sequence pooling strategy and the use of convolutions. We show that compared to CNNs, our compact transformers have fewer parameters and MACs, while obtaining similar accuracies. Our method is flexible in terms of model size, and can have as little as 0.28M parameters and achieve reasonable results. It can reach an accuracy of 94.72% when training from scratch on CIFAR-10, which is comparable with modern CNN based approaches, and a significant improvement over previous Transformer based models. Our simple and compact design democratizes transformers by making them accessible to those equipped with basic computing resources and/or dealing with important small datasets.
We present pure-transformer based models for video classification, drawing upon the recent success of such models in image classification. Our model extracts spatio-temporal tokens from the input video, which are then encoded by a series of transformer layers. In order to handle the long sequences of tokens encountered in video, we propose several, efficient variants of our model which factorise the spatial- and temporal-dimensions of the input. Although transformer-based models are known to only be effective when large training datasets are available, we show how we can effectively regularise the model during training and leverage pretrained image models to be able to train on comparatively small datasets. We conduct thorough ablation studies, and achieve state-of-the-art results on multiple video classification benchmarks including Kinetics 400 and 600, Epic Kitchens, Something-Something v2 and Moments in Time, outperforming prior methods based on deep 3D convolutional networks. To facilitate further research, we will release code and models.
Can we complete pre-training of Vision Transformers (ViT) without natural images and human-annotated labels? Although a pre-trained ViT seems to heavily rely on a large-scale dataset and human-annotated labels, recent large-scale datasets contain several problems in terms of privacy violations, inadequate fairness protection, and labor-intensive annotation. In the present paper, we pre-train ViT without any image collections and annotation labor. We experimentally verify that our proposed framework partially outperforms sophisticated Self-Supervised Learning (SSL) methods like SimCLRv2 and MoCov2 without using any natural images in the pre-training phase. Moreover, although the ViT pre-trained without natural images produces some different visualizations from ImageNet pre-trained ViT, it can interpret natural image datasets to a large extent. For example, the performance rates on the CIFAR-10 dataset are as follows: our proposal 97.6 vs. SimCLRv2 97.4 vs. ImageNet 98.0.
Leading methods in the domain of action recognition try to distill information from both the spatial and temporal dimensions of an input video. Methods that reach State of the Art (SotA) accuracy, usually make use of 3D convolution layers as a way to abstract the temporal information from video frames. The use of such convolutions requires sampling short clips from the input video, where each clip is a collection of closely sampled frames. Since each short clip covers a small fraction of an input video, multiple clips are sampled at inference in order to cover the whole temporal length of the video. This leads to increased computational load and is impractical for real-world applications. We address the computational bottleneck by significantly reducing the number of frames required for inference. Our approach relies on a temporal transformer that applies global attention over video frames, and thus better exploits the salient information in each frame. Therefore our approach is very input efficient, and can achieve SotA results (on Kinetics dataset) with a fraction of the data (frames per video), computation and latency. Specifically on Kinetics-400, we reach 78.8 top-1 accuracy with ×30 less frames per video, and ×40 faster inference than the current leading method.
Vision transformers (ViTs) have been successfully applied in image classification tasks recently. In this paper, we show that, unlike convolution neural networks (CNNs)that can be improved by stacking more convolutional layers, the performance of ViTs saturate fast when scaled to be deeper. More specifically, we empirically observe that such scaling difficulty is caused by the attention collapse issue: as the transformer goes deeper, the attention maps gradually become similar and even much the same after certain layers. In other words, the feature maps tend to be identical in the top layers of deep ViT models. This fact demonstrates that in deeper layers of ViTs, the self-attention mechanism fails to learn effective concepts for representation learning and hinders the model from getting expected performance gain. Based on above observation, we propose a simple yet effective method, named Re-attention, to re-generate the attention maps to increase their diversity at different layers with negligible computation and memory cost. The pro-posed method makes it feasible to train deeper ViT models with consistent performance improvements via minor modification to existing ViT models. Notably, when training a deep ViT model with 32 transformer blocks, the Top-1 classification accuracy can be improved by 1.6% on ImageNet.
Medical image segmentation is an essential prerequisite for developing healthcare systems, especially for disease diagnosis and treatment planning. On various medical image segmentation tasks, the u-shaped architecture, also known as U-Net, has become the de-facto standard and achieved tremendous success. However, due to the intrinsic locality of convolution operations, U-Net generally demonstrates limitations in explicitly modeling long-range dependency. Transformers, designed for sequence-to-sequence prediction, have emerged as alternative architectures with innate global self-attention mechanisms, but can result in limited localization abilities due to insufficient low-level details. In this paper, we propose TransUNet, which merits both Transformers and U-Net, as a strong alternative for medical image segmentation. On one hand, the Transformer encodes tokenized image patches from a convolution neural network (CNN) feature map as the input sequence for extracting global contexts. On the other hand, the decoder upsamples the encoded features which are then combined with the high-resolution CNN feature maps to enable precise localization. We argue that Transformers can serve as strong encoders for medical image segmentation tasks, with the combination of U-Net to enhance finer details by recovering localized spatial information. TransUNet achieves superior performances to various competing methods on different medical applications including multi-organ segmentation and cardiac segmentation.
Transformer is a type of self-attention-based neural networks originally applied for NLP tasks. Recently, pure transformer-based models are proposed to solve computer vision problems. These visual transformers usually view an image as a sequence of patches while they ignore the intrinsic structure information inside each patch. In this paper, we propose a novel Transformer-iN-Transformer (TNT) model for modeling both patch-level and pixel-level representation. In each TNT block, an outer transformer block is utilized to process patch embeddings, and an inner transformer block extracts local features from pixel embeddings. The pixel-level feature is projected to the space of patch embedding by a linear transformation layer and then added into the patch. By stacking the TNT blocks, we build the TNT model for image recognition. Experiments on ImageNet benchmark and downstream tasks demonstrate the superiority and efficiency of the proposed TNT architecture. For example, our TNT achieves 81.3% top-1 accuracy on ImageNet which is 1.5% higher than that of DeiT with similar computational cost.
Like other applications in computer vision, medical image segmentation has been most successfully addressed using deep learning models that rely on the convolution operation as their main building block. Convolutions enjoy important properties such as sparse interactions, weight sharing, and translation equivariance. These properties give convolutional neural networks (CNNs) a strong and useful inductive bias for vision tasks. In this work we show that a different method, based entirely on self-attention between neighboring image patches and without any convolution operations, can achieve competitive or better results. Given a 3D image block, our network divides it into n3 3D patches, where n=3 or 5 and computes a 1D embedding for each patch. The network predicts the segmentation map for the center patch of the block based on the self-attention between these patch embeddings. We show that the proposed model can achieve segmentation accuracies that are better than the state of the art CNNs on three datasets. We also propose methods for pre-training this model on large corpora of unlabeled images. Our experiments show that with pre-training the advantage of our proposed network over CNNs can be significant when labeled training data is small.
Almost all visual transformers such as ViT or DeiT rely on predefined positional encodings to incorporate the order of each input token. These encodings are often implemented as learnable fixed-dimension vectors or sinusoidal functions of different frequencies, which are not possible to accommodate variable-length input sequences. This inevitably limits a wider application of transformers in vision, where many tasks require changing the input size on-the-fly. In this paper, we propose to employ a conditional position encoding scheme, which is conditioned on the local neighborhood of the input token. It is effortlessly implemented as what we call Position Encoding Generator (PEG), which can be seamlessly incorporated into the current transformer framework. Our new model with PEG is named Conditional Position encoding Visual Transformer (CPVT) and can naturally process the input sequences of arbitrary length. We demonstrate that CPVT can result in visually similar attention maps and even better performance than those with predefined positional encodings. We obtain state-of-the-art results on the ImageNet classification task compared with visual Transformers to date.
Although using convolutional neural networks (CNNs) as backbones achieves great successes in computer vision, this work investigates a simple backbone network useful for many dense prediction tasks without convolutions. Unlike the recently-proposed Transformer model (e.g., ViT) that is specially designed for image classification, we propose Pyramid Vision Transformer~(PVT), which overcomes the difficulties of porting Transformer to various dense prediction tasks. PVT has several merits compared to prior arts. (1) Different from ViT that typically has low-resolution outputs and high computational and memory cost, PVT can be not only trained on dense partitions of the image to achieve high output resolution, which is important for dense predictions but also using a progressive shrinking pyramid to reduce computations of large feature maps. (2) PVT inherits the advantages from both CNN and Transformer, making it a unified backbone in various vision tasks without convolutions by simply replacing CNN backbones. (3) We validate PVT by conducting extensive experiments, showing that it boosts the performance of many downstream tasks, e.g., object detection, semantic, and instance segmentation. For example, with a comparable number of parameters, RetinaNet+PVT achieves 40.4 AP on the COCO dataset, surpassing RetinNet+ResNet50 (36.3 AP) by 4.1 absolute AP. We hope PVT could serve as an alternative and useful backbone for pixel-level predictions and facilitate future researches.