Inception Transformer

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Chenyang Si, Weihao Yu, Pan Zhou, Yichen Zhou, Xinchao Wang, Shuicheng Yan


Recent studies show that transformer has strong capability of building long-range dependencies, yet is incompetent in capturing high frequencies that predominantly convey local information. To tackle this issue, we present a novel and general-purpose $\textit{Inception Transformer}$, or $\textit{iFormer}$ for short, that effectively learns comprehensive features with both high- and low-frequency information in visual data. Specifically, we design an Inception mixer to explicitly graft the advantages of convolution and max-pooling for capturing the high-frequency information to transformers. Different from recent hybrid frameworks, the Inception mixer brings greater efficiency through a channel splitting mechanism to adopt parallel convolution/max-pooling path and self-attention path as high- and low-frequency mixers, while having the flexibility to model discriminative information scattered within a wide frequency range. Considering that bottom layers play more roles in capturing high-frequency details while top layers more in modeling low-frequency global information, we further introduce a frequency ramp structure, i.e., gradually decreasing the dimensions fed to the high-frequency mixer and increasing those to the low-frequency mixer, which can effectively trade-off high- and low-frequency components across different layers. We benchmark the iFormer on a series of vision tasks, and showcase that it achieves impressive performance on image classification, COCO detection and ADE20K segmentation. For example, our iFormer-S hits the top-1 accuracy of 83.4% on ImageNet-1K, much higher than DeiT-S by 3.6%, and even slightly better than much bigger model Swin-B (83.3%) with only 1/4 parameters and 1/3 FLOPs. Code and models are released at