AMixer: Adaptive Weight Mixing for Self-Attention Free Vision Transformers

Yongming Rao, Wenliang Zhao, Jie Zhou, Jiwen Lu ;


"Vision Transformers have shown state-of-the-art results for various visual recognition tasks. The dot-product self-attention mechanism that replaces convolution to mix spatial information is commonly recognized as the indispensable ingredient behind the success of vision Transformers. In this paper, we thoroughly investigate the key differences between vision Transformers and recent all-MLP models. Our empirical results show the superiority of vision Transformers mainly comes from the data-dependent token mixing strategy and the multi-head scheme instead of query-key interactions. Inspired by this observation, we propose a computationally and parametrically efficient operation named adaptive weight mixing to generate attention weights without token-token interactions. Based on this operation, we develop a new architecture named as AMixer to capture both long-term and short-term spatial dependencies without self-attention. Extensive experiments demonstrate that our adaptive weight mixing is more efficient and effective than previous weight generation methods and our AMixer can achieve a better trade-off between accuracy and complexity than vision Transformers and MLP models on both ImageNet and downstream tasks."

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