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On the Relationship between Self-Attention and Convolutional Layers

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Recent trends of incorporating attention mechanisms in vision have led researchers to reconsider the supremacy of convolutional layers as a primary building block. Beyond helping CNNs to handle long-range dependencies, Ramachandran et al. (2019) showed that attention can completely replace convolution and achieve state-of-the-art performance on vision tasks. This raises the question: do learned attention layers operate similarly to convolutional layers? This work provides evidence that attention layers can perform convolution and, indeed, they often learn to do so in practice. Specifically, we prove that a multi-head self-attention layer with sufficient number of heads is at least as powerful as any convolutional layer. Our numerical experiments then show that the phenomenon also occurs in practice, corroborating our analysis. Our code is publicly available.


Injecting Hierarchy with U-Net Transformers

arXiv.org Machine Learning

The Transformer architecture has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years, owing to its impressive performance on a number of natural language processing (NLP) tasks. However, it may be argued that the Transformer architecture lacks an explicit hierarchical representation, as all computations occur on word-level representations alone, and therefore, learning structure poses a challenge for Transformer models. In the present work, we introduce hierarchical processing into the Transformer model, taking inspiration from the U-Net architecture, popular in computer vision for its hierarchical view of natural images. We propose a novel architecture that combines ideas from Transformer and U-Net models to incorporate hierarchy at multiple levels of abstraction. We empirically demonstrate that the proposed architecture outperforms the vanilla Transformer and strong baselines in the chit-chat dialogue and machine translation domains.


Attention is All you Need

Neural Information Processing Systems

The dominant sequence transduction models are based on complex recurrent or convolutional neural networks that include an encoder and a decoder. The best performing models also connect the encoder and decoder through an attention mechanism. We propose a new simple network architecture, the Transformer, based solely on attention mechanisms, dispensing with recurrence and convolutions entirely. Experiments on two machine translation tasks show these models to be superior in quality while being more parallelizable and requiring significantly less time to train. Our model achieves 28.4 BLEU on the WMT 2014 Englishto-German translationtask, improving over the existing best results, including ensembles, by over 2 BLEU. On the WMT 2014 English-to-French translation task, our model establishes a new single-model state-of-the-art BLEU score of 41.0 after training for 3.5 days on eight GPUs, a small fraction of the training costs of the best models from the literature.


Time-aware Large Kernel Convolutions

arXiv.org Machine Learning

To date, most state-of-the-art sequence modelling architectures use attention to build generative models for language based tasks. Some of these models use all the available sequence tokens to generate an attention distribution which results in time complexity of $O(n^2)$. Alternatively, they utilize depthwise convolutions with softmax normalized kernels of size $k$ acting as a limited-window self-attention, resulting in time complexity of $O(k{\cdot}n)$. In this paper, we introduce Time-aware Large Kernel (TaLK) Convolutions, a novel adaptive convolution operation that learns to predict the size of a summation kernel instead of using the fixed-sized kernel matrix. This method yields a time complexity of $O(n)$, effectively making the sequence encoding process linear to the number of tokens. We evaluate the proposed method on large-scale standard machine translation and language modelling datasets and show that TaLK Convolutions constitute an efficient improvement over other attention/convolution based approaches.


Factorized Attention: Self-Attention with Linear Complexities

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Recent works have been applying self-attention to various fields in computer vision and natural language processing. However, the memory and computational demands of existing self-attention operations grow quadratically with the spatiotemporal size of the input. This prohibits the application of self-attention on large inputs, e.g., long sequences, high-definition images, or large videos. To remedy this, this paper proposes a novel factorized attention (FA) module, which achieves the same expressive power as previous approaches with substantially less memory and computational consumption. The resource-efficiency allows more widespread and flexible application of it. Empirical evaluations on object recognition demonstrate the effectiveness of these advantages. FA-augmented models achieved state-of-the-art performance for object detection and instance segmentation on MS-COCO. Further, the resource-efficiency of FA democratizes self-attention to fields where the prohibitively high costs currently prevent its application. The state-of-the-art result for stereo depth estimation on the Scene Flow dataset exemplifies this.