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DropKey for Vision Transformer

Bonan Li · Yinhan Hu · Xuecheng Nie · Congying Han · Xiangjian Jiang · Tiande Guo · Luoqi Liu

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 200


In this paper, we focus on analyzing and improving the dropout technique for self-attention layers of Vision Transformer, which is important while surprisingly ignored by prior works. In particular, we conduct researches on three core questions: First, what to drop in self-attention layers? Different from dropping attention weights in literature, we propose to move dropout operations forward ahead of attention matrix calculation and set the Key as the dropout unit, yielding a novel dropout-before-softmax scheme. We theoretically verify that this scheme helps keep both regularization and probability features of attention weights, alleviating the overfittings problem to specific patterns and enhancing the model to globally capture vital information; Second, how to schedule the drop ratio in consecutive layers? In contrast to exploit a constant drop ratio for all layers, we present a new decreasing schedule that gradually decreases the drop ratio along the stack of self-attention layers. We experimentally validate the proposed schedule can avoid overfittings in low-level features and missing in high-level semantics, thus improving the robustness and stableness of model training; Third, whether need to perform structured dropout operation as CNN? We attempt patch-based block-version of dropout operation and find that this useful trick for CNN is not essential for ViT. Given exploration on the above three questions, we present the novel DropKey method that regards Key as the drop unit and exploits decreasing schedule for drop ratio, improving ViTs in a general way. Comprehensive experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of DropKey for various ViT architectures, e.g. T2T, VOLO, CeiT and DeiT, as well as for various vision tasks, e.g., image classification, object detection, human-object interaction detection and human body shape recovery.

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