Conditional Positional Encodings for Vision Transformers

22 Feb 2021  ·  Xiangxiang Chu, Zhi Tian, Bo Zhang, Xinlong Wang, Chunhua Shen ·

We propose a conditional positional encoding (CPE) scheme for vision Transformers. Unlike previous fixed or learnable positional encodings, which are pre-defined and independent of input tokens, CPE is dynamically generated and conditioned on the local neighborhood of the input tokens. As a result, CPE can easily generalize to the input sequences that are longer than what the model has ever seen during training. Besides, CPE can keep the desired translation-invariance in the image classification task, resulting in improved performance. We implement CPE with a simple Position Encoding Generator (PEG) to get seamlessly incorporated into the current Transformer framework. Built on PEG, we present Conditional Position encoding Vision Transformer (CPVT). We demonstrate that CPVT has visually similar attention maps compared to those with learned positional encodings and delivers outperforming results. Our code is available at .

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