You Only Look at One Sequence: Rethinking Transformer in Vision through Object Detection

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2021)

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Yuxin Fang, Bencheng Liao, Xinggang Wang, Jiemin Fang, Jiyang Qi, Rui Wu, Jianwei Niu, Wenyu Liu


Can Transformer perform $2\mathrm{D}$ object- and region-level recognition from a pure sequence-to-sequence perspective with minimal knowledge about the $2\mathrm{D}$ spatial structure? To answer this question, we present You Only Look at One Sequence (YOLOS), a series of object detection models based on the vanilla Vision Transformer with the fewest possible modifications, region priors, as well as inductive biases of the target task. We find that YOLOS pre-trained on the mid-sized ImageNet-$1k$ dataset only can already achieve quite competitive performance on the challenging COCO object detection benchmark, e.g., YOLOS-Base directly adopted from BERT-Base architecture can obtain $42.0$ box AP on COCO val. We also discuss the impacts as well as limitations of current pre-train schemes and model scaling strategies for Transformer in vision through YOLOS. Code and pre-trained models are available at