Vision Transformer (ViT) based Vision-Language Pre-training (VLP) models have demonstrated impressive performance in various tasks. However, the lengthy visual token sequences fed into ViT can lead to training inefficiency and ineffectiveness. Existing efforts address the challenge by either bottom-level patch extraction in the ViT backbone or top-level patch abstraction outside, not balancing training efficiency and effectiveness well. Inspired by text summarization in natural language processing, we propose a Bottom-Up Patch Summarization approach named BUS, coordinating bottom-level extraction and top-level abstraction to learn a concise summary of lengthy visual token sequences efficiently. Specifically, We incorporate a Text-Semantics-Aware Patch Selector (TSPS) into the ViT backbone to perform a coarse-grained visual token extraction and then attach a flexible Transformer-based Patch Abstraction Decoder (PAD) upon the backbone for top-level visual abstraction. This bottom-up collaboration enables our BUS to yield high training efficiency while maintaining or even improving effectiveness. We evaluate our approach on various visual-language understanding and generation tasks and show competitive downstream task performance while boosting the training efficiency by 50\%. Additionally, our model achieves state-of-the-art performance on many downstream tasks by increasing input image resolution without increasing computational costs over baselines.
Recent years have witnessed a big convergence of language, vision, and multi-modal pretraining. In this work, we present mPLUG-2, a new unified paradigm with modularized design for multi-modal pretraining, which can benefit from modality collaboration while addressing the problem of modality entanglement. In contrast to predominant paradigms of solely relying on sequence-to-sequence generation or encoder-based instance discrimination, mPLUG-2 introduces a multi-module composition network by sharing common universal modules for modality collaboration and disentangling different modality modules to deal with modality entanglement. It is flexible to select different modules for different understanding and generation tasks across all modalities including text, image, and video. Empirical study shows that mPLUG-2 achieves state-of-the-art or competitive results on a broad range of over 30 downstream tasks, spanning multi-modal tasks of image-text and video-text understanding and generation, and uni-modal tasks of text-only, image-only, and video-only understanding. Notably, mPLUG-2 shows new state-of-the-art results of 48.0 top-1 accuracy and 80.3 CIDEr on the challenging MSRVTT video QA and video caption tasks with a far smaller model size and data scale. It also demonstrates strong zero-shot transferability on vision-language and video-language tasks. Code and models will be released in https://github.com/alibaba/AliceMind.
Large-scale pretrained foundation models have been an emerging paradigm for building artificial intelligence (AI) systems, which can be quickly adapted to a wide range of downstream tasks. This paper presents mPLUG, a new vision-language foundation model for both cross-modal understanding and generation. Most existing pre-trained models suffer from the problems of low computational efficiency and information asymmetry brought by the long visual sequence in cross-modal alignment. To address these problems, mPLUG introduces an effective and efficient vision-language architecture with novel cross-modal skip-connections, which creates inter-layer shortcuts that skip a certain number of layers for time-consuming full self-attention on the vision side. mPLUG is pre-trained end-to-end on large-scale image-text pairs with both discriminative and generative objectives. It achieves state-of-the-art results on a wide range of vision-language downstream tasks, such as image captioning, image-text retrieval, visual grounding and visual question answering. mPLUG also demonstrates strong zero-shot transferability when directly transferred to multiple video-language tasks.
The Visual Question Answering (VQA) task utilizes both visual image and language analysis to answer a textual question with respect to an image. It has been a popular research topic with an increasing number of real-world applications in the last decade. This paper describes our recent research of AliceMind-MMU (ALIbaba's Collection of Encoder-decoders from Machine IntelligeNce lab of Damo academy - MultiMedia Understanding) that obtains similar or even slightly better results than human being does on VQA. This is achieved by systematically improving the VQA pipeline including: (1) pre-training with comprehensive visual and textual feature representation; (2) effective cross-modal interaction with learning to attend; and (3) A novel knowledge mining framework with specialized expert modules for the complex VQA task. Treating different types of visual questions with corresponding expertise needed plays an important role in boosting the performance of our VQA architecture up to the human level. An extensive set of experiments and analysis are conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of the new research work.
Existing approaches to vision-language pre-training (VLP) heavily rely on an object detector based on bounding boxes (regions), where salient objects are first detected from images and then a Transformer-based model is used for cross-modal fusion. Despite their superior performance, these approaches are bounded by the capability of the object detector in terms of both effectiveness and efficiency. Besides, the presence of object detection imposes unnecessary constraints on model designs and makes it difficult to support end-to-end training. In this paper, we revisit grid-based convolutional features for vision-language pre-training, skipping the expensive region-related steps. We propose a simple yet effective grid-based VLP method that works surprisingly well with the grid features. By pre-training only with in-domain datasets, the proposed Grid-VLP method can outperform most competitive region-based VLP methods on three examined vision-language understanding tasks. We hope that our findings help to further advance the state of the art of vision-language pre-training, and provide a new direction towards effective and efficient VLP.
Vision-language pre-training (VLP) on large-scale image-text pairs has achieved huge success for the cross-modal downstream tasks. The most existing pre-training methods mainly adopt a two-step training procedure, which firstly employs a pre-trained object detector to extract region-based visual features, then concatenates the image representation and text embedding as the input of Transformer to train. However, these methods face problems of using task-specific visual representation of the specific object detector for generic cross-modal understanding, and the computation inefficiency of two-stage pipeline. In this paper, we propose the first end-to-end vision-language pre-trained model for both V+L understanding and generation, namely E2E-VLP, where we build a unified Transformer framework to jointly learn visual representation, and semantic alignments between image and text. We incorporate the tasks of object detection and image captioning into pre-training with a unified Transformer encoder-decoder architecture for enhancing visual learning. An extensive set of experiments have been conducted on well-established vision-language downstream tasks to demonstrate the effectiveness of this novel VLP paradigm.
Large pre-trained language models achieve state-of-the-art results when fine-tuned on downstream NLP tasks. However, they almost exclusively focus on text-only representation, while neglecting cell-level layout information that is important for form image understanding. In this paper, we propose a new pre-training approach, StructuralLM, to jointly leverage cell and layout information from scanned documents. Specifically, we pre-train StructuralLM with two new designs to make the most of the interactions of cell and layout information: 1) each cell as a semantic unit; 2) classification of cell positions. The pre-trained StructuralLM achieves new state-of-the-art results in different types of downstream tasks, including form understanding (from 78.95 to 85.14), document visual question answering (from 72.59 to 83.94) and document image classification (from 94.43 to 96.08).