Win-Win: Training High-Resolution Vision Transformers from Two Windows

1 Oct 2023  ·  Vincent Leroy, Jerome Revaud, Thomas Lucas, Philippe Weinzaepfel ·

Transformers have become the standard in state-of-the-art vision architectures, achieving impressive performance on both image-level and dense pixelwise tasks. However, training vision transformers for high-resolution pixelwise tasks has a prohibitive cost. Typical solutions boil down to hierarchical architectures, fast and approximate attention, or training on low-resolution crops. This latter solution does not constrain architectural choices, but it leads to a clear performance drop when testing at resolutions significantly higher than that used for training, thus requiring ad-hoc and slow post-processing schemes. In this paper, we propose a novel strategy for efficient training and inference of high-resolution vision transformers: the key principle is to mask out most of the high-resolution inputs during training, keeping only N random windows. This allows the model to learn local interactions between tokens inside each window, and global interactions between tokens from different windows. As a result, the model can directly process the high-resolution input at test time without any special trick. We show that this strategy is effective when using relative positional embedding such as rotary embeddings. It is 4 times faster to train than a full-resolution network, and it is straightforward to use at test time compared to existing approaches. We apply this strategy to the dense monocular task of semantic segmentation, and find that a simple setting with 2 windows performs best, hence the name of our method: Win-Win. To demonstrate the generality of our contribution, we further extend it to the binocular task of optical flow, reaching state-of-the-art performance on the Spring benchmark that contains Full-HD images with an inference time an order of magnitude faster than the best competitor.

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