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Boost Vision Transformer With GPU-Friendly Sparsity and Quantization

Chong Yu · Tao Chen · Zhongxue Gan · Jiayuan Fan

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 196


The transformer extends its success from the language to the vision domain. Because of the numerous stacked self-attention and cross-attention blocks in the transformer, which involve many high-dimensional tensor multiplication operations, the acceleration deployment of vision transformer on GPU hardware is challenging and also rarely studied. This paper thoroughly designs a compression scheme to maximally utilize the GPU-friendly 2:4 fine-grained structured sparsity and quantization. Specially, an original large model with dense weight parameters is first pruned into a sparse one by 2:4 structured pruning, which considers the GPU’s acceleration of 2:4 structured sparse pattern with FP16 data type, then the floating-point sparse model is further quantized into a fixed-point one by sparse-distillation-aware quantization aware training, which considers GPU can provide an extra speedup of 2:4 sparse calculation with integer tensors. A mixed-strategy knowledge distillation is used during the pruning and quantization process. The proposed compression scheme is flexible to support supervised and unsupervised learning styles. Experiment results show GPUSQ-ViT scheme achieves state-of-the-art compression by reducing vision transformer models 6.4-12.7 times on model size and 30.3-62 times on FLOPs with negligible accuracy degradation on ImageNet classification, COCO detection and ADE20K segmentation benchmarking tasks. Moreover, GPUSQ-ViT can boost actual deployment performance by 1.39-1.79 times and 3.22-3.43 times of latency and throughput on A100 GPU, and 1.57-1.69 times and 2.11-2.51 times improvement of latency and throughput on AGX Orin.

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