Multi-head attention is a driving force behind state-of-the-art transformers which achieve remarkable performance across a variety of natural language processing (NLP) and computer vision tasks. It has been observed that for many applications, those attention heads learn redundant embedding, and most of them can be removed without degrading the performance of the model. Inspired by this observation, we propose Transformer with a Mixture of Gaussian Keys (Transformer-MGK), a novel transformer architecture that replaces redundant heads in transformers with a mixture of keys at each head. These mixtures of keys follow a Gaussian mixture model and allow each attention head to focus on different parts of the input sequence efficiently. Compared to its conventional transformer counterpart, Transformer-MGK accelerates training and inference, has fewer parameters, and requires less FLOPs to compute while achieving comparable or better accuracy across tasks. Transformer-MGK can also be easily extended to use with linear attentions. We empirically demonstrate the advantage of Transformer-MGK in a range of practical applications including language modeling and tasks that involve very long sequences. On the Wikitext-103 and Long Range Arena benchmark, Transformer-MGKs with 4 heads attain comparable or better performance to the baseline transformers with 8 heads.
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. The code will be available at https://github.com/huawei-noah/noah-research/tree/master/TNT.
Transformers do not scale very well to long sequence lengths largely because of quadratic self-attention complexity. In the recent months, a wide spectrum of efficient, fast Transformers have been proposed to tackle this problem, more often than not claiming superior or comparable model quality to vanilla Transformer models. To this date, there is no well-established consensus on how to evaluate this class of models. Moreover, inconsistent benchmarking on a wide spectrum of tasks and datasets makes it difficult to assess relative model quality amongst many models. This paper proposes a systematic and unified benchmark, Long-Range Arena, specifically focused on evaluating model quality under long-context scenarios. Our benchmark is a suite of tasks consisting of sequences ranging from 1K to 16K tokens, encompassing a wide range of data types and modalities such as text, natural, synthetic images, and mathematical expressions requiring similarity, structural, and visual-spatial reasoning. We systematically evaluate ten well-established long-range Transformer models (Reformers, Linformers, Linear Transformers, Sinkhorn Transformers, Performers, Synthesizers, Sparse Transformers, and Longformers) on our newly proposed benchmark suite. Long-Range Arena paves the way towards better understanding this class of efficient Transformer models, facilitates more research in this direction, and presents new challenging tasks to tackle. Transformers (Vaswani et al., 2017) are ubiquitously state-of-the-art across many modalities, from language (Devlin et al., 2018; Raffel et al., 2019; Child et al., 2019) to images (Tan & Bansal, 2019; Lu et al., 2019) to protein sequences (Rives et al., 2019). A common weakness of Transformers is their quadratic memory complexity within the self-attention mechanism that restricts their potential application to domains requiring longer sequence lengths. To date, a dizzying number of efficient Transformer models ('xformers') have been proposed to tackle this problem (Liu et al., 2018; Kitaev et al., 2020; Wang et al., 2020; Tay et al., 2020b; Katharopoulos et al., 2020). Many of these models demonstrate comparable performance to the vanilla Transformer model while successfully reducing the memory complexity of the self-attention mechanism. An overview of this research area can be found in (Tay et al., 2020c).
The Transformer is widely used in natural language processing tasks. To train a Transformer however, one usually needs a carefully designed learning rate warm-up stage, which is shown to be crucial to the final performance but will slow down the optimization and bring more hyper-parameter tunings. In this paper, we first study theoretically why the learning rate warm-up stage is essential and show that the location of layer normalization matters. Specifically, we prove with mean field theory that at initialization, for the original-designed Post-LN Transformer, which places the layer normalization between the residual blocks, the expected gradients of the parameters near the output layer are large. Therefore, using a large learning rate on those gradients makes the training unstable. The warm-up stage is practically helpful for avoiding this problem. On the other hand, our theory also shows that if the layer normalization is put inside the residual blocks (recently proposed as Pre-LN Transformer), the gradients are well-behaved at initialization. This motivates us to remove the warm-up stage for the training of Pre-LN Transformers. We show in our experiments that Pre-LN Transformers without the warm-up stage can reach comparable results with baselines while requiring significantly less training time and hyper-parameter tuning on a wide range of applications.
We introduce a framework that abstracts Reinforcement Learning (RL) as a sequence modeling problem. This allows us to draw upon the simplicity and scalability of the Transformer architecture, and associated advances in language modeling such as GPT-x and BERT. In particular, we present Decision Transformer, an architecture that casts the problem of RL as conditional sequence modeling. Unlike prior approaches to RL that fit value functions or compute policy gradients, Decision Transformer simply outputs the optimal actions by leveraging a causally masked Transformer. By conditioning an autoregressive model on the desired return (reward), past states, and actions, our Decision Transformer model can generate future actions that achieve the desired return. Despite its simplicity, Decision Transformer matches or exceeds the performance of state-of-the-art model-free offline RL baselines on Atari, OpenAI Gym, and Key-to-Door tasks.