We explore the impact of parameter sparsity on the scaling behavior of Transformers trained on massive datasets (i.e., "foundation models"), in both vision and language domains. In this setting, we identify the first scaling law describing the relationship between weight sparsity, number of non-zero parameters, and amount of training data, which we validate empirically across model and data scales; on ViT/JFT-4B and T5/C4. These results allow us to characterize the "optimal sparsity", the sparsity level which yields the best performance for a given effective model size and training budget. For a fixed number of non-zero parameters, we identify that the optimal sparsity increases with the amount of data used for training. We also extend our study to different sparsity structures (such as the hardware-friendly n:m pattern) and strategies (such as starting from a pretrained dense model). Our findings shed light on the power and limitations of weight sparsity across various parameter and computational settings, offering both theoretical understanding and practical implications for leveraging sparsity towards computational efficiency improvements.
Sparse mixture of expert architectures (MoEs) scale model capacity without large increases in training or inference costs. Despite their success, MoEs suffer from a number of issues: training instability, token dropping, inability to scale the number of experts, or ineffective finetuning. In this work, we proposeSoft MoE, a fully-differentiable sparse Transformer that addresses these challenges, while maintaining the benefits of MoEs. Soft MoE performs an implicit soft assignment by passing different weighted combinations of all input tokens to each expert. As in other MoE works, experts in Soft MoE only process a subset of the (combined) tokens, enabling larger model capacity at lower inference cost. In the context of visual recognition, Soft MoE greatly outperforms standard Transformers (ViTs) and popular MoE variants (Tokens Choice and Experts Choice). For example, Soft MoE-Base/16 requires 10.5x lower inference cost (5.7x lower wall-clock time) than ViT-Huge/14 while matching its performance after similar training. Soft MoE also scales well: Soft MoE Huge/14 with 128 experts in 16 MoE layers has over 40x more parameters than ViT Huge/14, while inference time cost grows by only 2%, and it performs substantially better.
The ubiquitous and demonstrably suboptimal choice of resizing images to a fixed resolution before processing them with computer vision models has not yet been successfully challenged. However, models such as the Vision Transformer (ViT) offer flexible sequence-based modeling, and hence varying input sequence lengths. We take advantage of this with NaViT (Native Resolution ViT) which uses sequence packing during training to process inputs of arbitrary resolutions and aspect ratios. Alongside flexible model usage, we demonstrate improved training efficiency for large-scale supervised and contrastive image-text pretraining. NaViT can be efficiently transferred to standard tasks such as image and video classification, object detection, and semantic segmentation and leads to improved results on robustness and fairness benchmarks. At inference time, the input resolution flexibility can be used to smoothly navigate the test-time cost-performance trade-off. We believe that NaViT marks a departure from the standard, CNN-designed, input and modelling pipeline used by most computer vision models, and represents a promising direction for ViTs.
Open-vocabulary object detection has benefited greatly from pretrained vision-language models, but is still limited by the amount of available detection training data. While detection training data can be expanded by using Web image-text pairs as weak supervision, this has not been done at scales comparable to image-level pretraining. Here, we scale up detection data with self-training, which uses an existing detector to generate pseudo-box annotations on image-text pairs. Major challenges in scaling self-training are the choice of label space, pseudo-annotation filtering, and training efficiency. We present the OWLv2 model and OWL-ST self-training recipe, which address these challenges. OWLv2 surpasses the performance of previous state-of-the-art open-vocabulary detectors already at comparable training scales (~10M examples). However, with OWL-ST, we can scale to over 1B examples, yielding further large improvement: With an L/14 architecture, OWL-ST improves AP on LVIS rare classes, for which the model has seen no human box annotations, from 31.2% to 44.6% (43% relative improvement). OWL-ST unlocks Web-scale training for open-world localization, similar to what has been seen for image classification and language modelling.
Contrastive pretraining on image-text pairs from the web is one of the most popular large-scale pretraining strategies for vision backbones, especially in the context of large multimodal models. At the same time, image captioning on this type of data is commonly considered an inferior pretraining strategy. In this paper, we perform a fair comparison of these two pretraining strategies, carefully matching training data, compute, and model capacity. Using a standard encoder-decoder transformer, we find that captioning alone is surprisingly effective: on classification tasks, captioning produces vision encoders competitive with contrastively pretrained encoders, while surpassing them on vision & language tasks. We further analyze the effect of the model architecture and scale, as well as the pretraining data on the representation quality, and find that captioning exhibits the same or better scaling behavior along these axes. Overall our results show that plain image captioning is a more powerful pretraining strategy than was previously believed.
We present the training recipe and results of scaling up PaLI-X, a multilingual vision and language model, both in terms of size of the components and the breadth of its training task mixture. Our model achieves new levels of performance on a wide-range of varied and complex tasks, including multiple image-based captioning and question-answering tasks, image-based document understanding and few-shot (in-context) learning, as well as object detection, video question answering, and video captioning. PaLI-X advances the state-of-the-art on most vision-and-language benchmarks considered (25+ of them). Finally, we observe emerging capabilities, such as complex counting and multilingual object detection, tasks that are not explicitly in the training mix.
The scaling of Transformers has driven breakthrough capabilities for language models. At present, the largest large language models (LLMs) contain upwards of 100B parameters. Vision Transformers (ViT) have introduced the same architecture to image and video modelling, but these have not yet been successfully scaled to nearly the same degree; the largest dense ViT contains 4B parameters (Chen et al., 2022). We present a recipe for highly efficient and stable training of a 22B-parameter ViT (ViT-22B) and perform a wide variety of experiments on the resulting model. When evaluated on downstream tasks (often with a lightweight linear model on frozen features), ViT-22B demonstrates increasing performance with scale. We further observe other interesting benefits of scale, including an improved tradeoff between fairness and performance, state-of-the-art alignment to human visual perception in terms of shape/texture bias, and improved robustness. ViT-22B demonstrates the potential for "LLM-like" scaling in vision, and provides key steps towards getting there.
We propose Dual PatchNorm: two Layer Normalization layers (LayerNorms), before and after the patch embedding layer in Vision Transformers. We demonstrate that Dual PatchNorm outperforms the result of exhaustive search for alternative LayerNorm placement strategies in the Transformer block itself. In our experiments, incorporating this trivial modification, often leads to improved accuracy over well-tuned Vision Transformers and never hurts.
When solving a problem, human beings have the adaptive ability in terms of the type of information they use, the procedure they take, and the amount of time they spend approaching and solving the problem. However, most standard neural networks have the same function type and fixed computation budget on different samples regardless of their nature and difficulty. Adaptivity is a powerful paradigm as it not only imbues practitioners with flexibility pertaining to the downstream usage of these models but can also serve as a powerful inductive bias for solving certain challenging classes of problems. In this work, we propose a new strategy, AdaTape, that enables dynamic computation in neural networks via adaptive tape tokens. AdaTape employs an elastic input sequence by equipping an existing architecture with a dynamic read-and-write tape. Specifically, we adaptively generate input sequences using tape tokens obtained from a tape bank that can either be trainable or generated from input data. We analyze the challenges and requirements to obtain dynamic sequence content and length, and propose the Adaptive Tape Reader (ATR) algorithm to achieve both objectives. Via extensive experiments on image recognition tasks, we show that AdaTape can achieve better performance while maintaining the computational cost.