Getting ViT in Shape: Scaling Laws for Compute-Optimal Model Design

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Ibrahim M. Alabdulmohsin, Xiaohua Zhai, Alexander Kolesnikov, Lucas Beyer


Scaling laws have been recently employed to derive compute-optimal model size (number of parameters) for a given compute duration. We advance and refine such methods to infer compute-optimal model shapes, such as width and depth, and successfully implement this in vision transformers. Our shape-optimized vision transformer, SoViT, achieves results competitive with models that exceed twice its size, despite being pre-trained with an equivalent amount of compute. For example, SoViT-400m/14 achieves 90.3% fine-tuning accuracy on ILSRCV2012, surpassing the much larger ViT-g/14 and approaching ViT-G/14 under identical settings, with also less than half the inference cost. We conduct a thorough evaluation across multiple tasks, such as image classification, captioning, VQA and zero-shot transfer, demonstrating the effectiveness of our model across a broad range of domains and identifying limitations. Overall, our findings challenge the prevailing approach of blindly scaling up vision models and pave a path for a more informed scaling.