EdgeFormer: Improving Light-weight ConvNets by Learning from Vision Transformers [article]

Haokui Zhang, Wenze Hu, Xiaoyu Wang
<span title="2022-03-15">2022</span> <i > arXiv </i> &nbsp; <span class="release-stage" >pre-print</span>
Recently, vision transformers started to show impressive results which outperform large convolution based models significantly. However, in the area of small models for mobile or resource constrained devices, ConvNet still has its own advantages in both performance and model complexity. We propose EdgeFormer, a pure ConvNet based backbone model that further strengthens these advantages by fusing the merits of vision transformers into ConvNets. Specifically, we propose global circular
more &raquo; ... (GCC) with position embeddings, a light-weight convolution op which boasts a global receptive field while producing location sensitive features as in local convolutions. We combine the GCCs and squeeze-exictation ops to form a meta-former like model block, which further has the attention mechanism like transformers. The aforementioned block can be used in plug-and-play manner to replace relevant blocks in ConvNets or transformers. Experiment results show that the proposed EdgeFormer achieves better performance than popular light-weight ConvNets and vision transformer based models in common vision tasks and datasets, while having fewer parameters and faster inference speed. For classification on ImageNet-1k, EdgeFormer achieves 78.6% top-1 accuracy with about 5.0 million parameters, saving 11% parameters and 13% computational cost but gaining 0.2% higher accuracy and 23% faster inference speed (on ARM based Rockchip RK3288) compared with MobileViT, and uses only 0.5 times parameters but gaining 2.7% accuracy compared with DeIT. On MS-COCO object detection and PASCAL VOC segmentation tasks, EdgeFormer also shows better performance. Code is available at https://github.com/hkzhang91/EdgeFormer
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