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Multimodal Pathway: Improve Transformers with Irrelevant Data from Other Modalities

Yiyuan Zhang · Xiaohan Ding · Kaixiong Gong · Yixiao Ge · Ying Shan · Xiangyu Yue

Arch 4A-E Poster #126
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Wed 19 Jun 5 p.m. PDT — 6:30 p.m. PDT


We propose to improve transformers of a specific modality with irrelevant data from other modalities, e.g. improve an ImageNet model with audio or point cloud datasets. We would like to highlight that the data samples of the target modality are irrelevant to the other modalities, which distinguishes our method from other works utilizing paired (e.g. CLIP) or interleaved data of different modalities. We propose a methodology named Multimodal Pathway - given a target modality and a transformer designed for it, we use an auxiliary transformer trained with data of another modality and construct pathways to connect components of the two models so that data of the target modality can be processed by both models. In this way, we utilize the universal sequence-to-sequence modeling abilities of transformers obtained from two modalities. As a concrete implementation, we use a modality-specific tokenizer and task-specific head as usual but utilize the transformer blocks of the auxiliary model via a proposed method named Cross-Modal Re-parameterization, which exploits the auxiliary weights without any inference costs. On the image, point cloud, video, and audio recognition tasks, we observe significant and consistent performance improvements with irrelevant data from other modalities. The code and models are available at

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