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DistilPose: Tokenized Pose Regression With Heatmap Distillation

Suhang Ye · Yingyi Zhang · Jie Hu · Liujuan Cao · Shengchuan Zhang · Lei Shen · Jun Wang · Shouhong Ding · Rongrong Ji

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 207


In the field of human pose estimation, regression-based methods have been dominated in terms of speed, while heatmap-based methods are far ahead in terms of performance. How to take advantage of both schemes remains a challenging problem. In this paper, we propose a novel human pose estimation framework termed DistilPose, which bridges the gaps between heatmap-based and regression-based methods. Specifically, DistilPose maximizes the transfer of knowledge from the teacher model (heatmap-based) to the student model (regression-based) through Token-distilling Encoder (TDE) and Simulated Heatmaps. TDE aligns the feature spaces of heatmap-based and regression-based models by introducing tokenization, while Simulated Heatmaps transfer explicit guidance (distribution and confidence) from teacher heatmaps into student models. Extensive experiments show that the proposed DistilPose can significantly improve the performance of the regression-based models while maintaining efficiency. Specifically, on the MSCOCO validation dataset, DistilPose-S obtains 71.6% mAP with 5.36M parameter, 2.38 GFLOPs and 40.2 FPS, which saves 12.95x, 7.16x computational cost and is 4.9x faster than its teacher model with only 0.9 points performance drop. Furthermore, DistilPose-L obtains 74.4% mAP on MSCOCO validation dataset, achieving a new state-of-the-art among predominant regression-based models.

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