Towards Data-Efficient Detection Transformers

Wen Wang, Jing Zhang, Yang Cao, Yongliang Shen, Dacheng Tao ;


"Detection transformers have achieved competitive performance on the sample-rich COCO dataset. However, we show most of them suffer from significant performance drops on small-size datasets, like Cityscapes. In other words, the detection transformers are generally data-hungry. To tackle this problem, we empirically analyze the factors that affect data efficiency, through a step-by-step transition from a data-efficient RCNN variant to the representative DETR. The empirical results suggest that sparse feature sampling from local image areas holds the key. Based on this observation, we alleviate the data-hungry issue of existing detection transformers by simply alternating how key and value sequences are constructed in the cross-attention layer, with minimum modifications to the original models. Besides, we introduce a simple yet effective label augmentation method to provide richer supervision and improve data efficiency. Experiments show that our method can be readily applied to different detection transformers and improve their performance on both small-size and sample-rich datasets."

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