Attention Bottlenecks for Multimodal Fusion

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

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Authors

Arsha Nagrani, Shan Yang, Anurag Arnab, Aren Jansen, Cordelia Schmid, Chen Sun

Abstract

Humans perceive the world by concurrently processing and fusing high-dimensional inputs from multiple modalities such as vision and audio. Machine perception models, in stark contrast, are typically modality-specific and optimised for unimodal benchmarks.A common approach for building multimodal models is to simply combine multiple of these modality-specific architectures using late-stage fusion of final representations or predictions ('late-fusion').Instead, we introduce a novel transformer based architecture that uses 'attention bottlenecks' for modality fusion at multiple layers. Compared to traditional pairwise self-attention, these bottlenecks force information between different modalities to pass through a small number of '`bottleneck' latent units, requiring the model to collate and condense the most relevant information in each modality and only share what is necessary. We find that such a strategy improves fusion performance, at the same time reducing computational cost. We conduct thorough ablation studies, and achieve state-of-the-art results on multiple audio-visual classification benchmarks including Audioset, Epic-Kitchens and VGGSound. All code and models will be released.