Abhishek Aich NEC Labs America

Abhishek Aich


Media Analytics


Efficient Transformer Encoders for Mask2Former-style Models

Vision transformer based models bring significant improvements for image segmentation tasks. Although these architectures offer powerful capabilities irrespective of specific segmentation tasks, their use of computational resources can be taxing on deployed devices. One way to overcome this challenge is by adapting the computation level to the specific needs of the input image rather than the current one size-fits-all approach. To this end, we introduce ECO-M2F or EffiCient TransfOrmer Encoders for Mask2Former-style models. Noting that the encoder module of M2F-style models incur high resource-intensive computations, ECO-M2F provides a strategy to self-select the number of hidden layers in the encoder, conditioned on the input image. To enable this self-selection ability for providing a balance between performance and computational efficiency, we present a three-step recipe. The first step is to train the parent architecture to enable early exiting from the encoder. The second step is to create a derived dataset of the ideal number of encoder layers required for each training example. The third step is to use the aforementioned derived dataset to train a gating network that predicts the number of encoder layers to be used, conditioned on input image. Additionally, to change the computational-accuracy trade off, only steps two and three need to be repeated which significantly reduces retraining time. Experiments on the public datasets show that the proposed approach reduces expected encoder computational cost while maintaining performance, adapts to various user compute resources, is flexible in architecture configurations, and can be extended beyond the segmentation task to object detection.

Progressive Token Length Scaling in Transformer Encoders for Efficient Universal Segmentation

A powerful architecture for universal segmentation relies on transformers that encode multi-scale image features and decode object queries into mask predictions. With efficiency being a high priority for scaling such models, we observed that the state-of-the-art method Mask2Former uses >50% of its compute only on the transformer encoder. This is due to the retention of a full-length token-level representation of all backbone feature scales at each encoder layer. With this observation, we propose a strategy termed PROgressive Token Length SCALing for Efficient transformer encoders (PRO-SCALE) that can be plugged-in to the Mask2Former style segmentation architectures to significantly reduce the computational cost. The underlying principle of PRO-SCALE is: progressively scale the length of the tokens with the layers of the encoder. This allows PRO-SCALE to reduce computations by a large margin with minimal sacrifice in performance (?52% GFLOPs reduction with no drop in performance on COCO dataset). We validate our frame work on multiple public benchmarks.

Efficient Controllable Multi-Task Architectures

We aim to train a multi-task model such that users can adjust the desired compute budget and relative importance of task performances after deployment, without retraining. This enables optimizing performance for dynamically varying user needs, without heavy computational overhead to train and save models for various scenarios. To this end, we propose a multi-task model consisting of a shared encoder and task-specific decoders where both encoder and decoder channel widths are slimmable. Our key idea is to control the task importance by varying the capacities of task-specific decoders, while controlling the total computational cost by jointly adjusting the encoder capacity. This improves overall accuracy by allowing a stronger encoder for a given budget, increases control over computational cost, and delivers high-quality slimmed sub-architectures based on user’s constraints. Our training strategy involves a novel `Configuration-Invariant Knowledge Distillation’ loss that enforces backbone representations to be invariant under different runtime width configurations to enhance accuracy. Further, we present a simple but effective search algorithm that translates user constraints to runtime width configurations of both the shared encoder and task decoders, for sampling the sub-architectures. The key rule for the search algorithm is to provide a larger computational budget to the higher preferred task decoder, while searching a shared encoder configuration that enhances the overall MTL performance. Various experiments on three multi-task benchmarks (PASCALContext, NYUDv2, and CIFAR100-MTL) with diverse backbone architectures demonstrate the advantage of our approach. For example, our method shows a higher controllability by 33.5% in the NYUD-v2 dataset over prior methods, while incurring much less compute cost.