LeViT: a Vision Transformer in ConvNet's Clothing for Faster Inference, Graham, El-Nouby, Touvron, Stock, Joulin, Jégou, Douze; 2021 - Summary
author: TongruiLi
score: 10/10 / 10

The paper proposed LeViT, a high speed vision based transofrmer that achieves relatively high accuracy on both CPU and GPU based hardware. They have integrated a few known discoveries from previous work, and new discoveries like the attention bias together for fast inference.



The paper is motivated by the following facts:

  1. Training process produce filter like the traditional area
  2. Grafted architecture (Resnet50 + DeiT) produce better result in faster time
  3. With runtime in mind, it is best to add conv layers below a transformer

With the above motivation in mind, LeViT uses ViT and DeiT transformer training methods, while incoporating training methods for convolution layers. Mainly

  1. Patch Embedding small convnet is applied on input before transofmrer
  2. No classification token replace classification token with averagepooling to use BCHW token
  3. Normalization use ViT’s normalization technique plus batch norm after every convolutin layer, which provides runtime advantage in inference time
  4. Multi resolution pyramid Decrese conv layer’s activation map while increasing channel size.
  5. Downsampling shrinkibng attention block before Q activation
  6. Attention bias replaces positional embedding, which allows injection of position information in attention
  7. Smaller Keys Attention bias reduce pressure on location information, which means that we can safely reduce V matrix’s size.
  8. Attention Activation use Hardwish activation to \(A^hV\), which is similar to ResNet bottleneck
  9. Reducing MLP blocks reduce expansion factor of convolution to minimize compution cost


The author claimed to acheive relatively good result (80% or more on ImageNet classification) while remaining extremely fast.

In comparsion to other efficient models, LeVit net greatly improve efficiency while only having 25% to 75% more parameter than previous models.


The author also performed ablation study with different components removed. Without pyramid shape the number of parameters takes a drastic hit along the accuracy. Other variations shows similar performance and paramter size with the base model.