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Adapting Pre-trained Language Models to Vision-Language Tasks via Dynamic Visual Prompting

作者: Shubin Huang




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Pre-trained language models (PLMs) have played an increasing role in multimedia research. In terms of vision-language (VL) tasks, they often serve as a language encoder and still require an additional fusion network for VL reasoning, resulting in excessive memory overhead. In this paper, we focus on exploring PLMs as a stand-alone model for VL reasoning tasks. Inspired by the recently popular prompt tuning, we first prove that the processed visual features can be also projected onto the semantic space of PLMs and act as prompt tokens to bridge the gap between single- and multi-modal learning. However, this solution exhibits obvious redundancy in visual information and model inference, and the placement of prompt tokens also greatly affects the final performance. Based on these observations, we further propose a novel transfer learning approach for PLMs, termed Dynamic Visual Prompting (DVP). Concretely, DVP first deploys a cross-attention module to obtain text-related and compact visual prompt tokens, thereby greatly reducing the input length of PLMs. To obtain the optimal placement, we also equip DVP with a reinforcement-learning based search algorithm, which can automatically merge DVP with PLMs for different VL tasks via a very short search process. In addition, we also experiment DVP with the recently popular adapter approach to keep the most parameters of PLMs intact when adapting to VL tasks, helping PLMs achieve a quick shift between single- and multi-modal tasks. We apply DVP to two representative PLMs, namely BERT and T5, and conduct extensive experiments on a set of VL reasoning benchmarks including VQA2.0, GQA and SNLIVE. The experimental results not only show the advantage of DVP on efficiency and performance, but also confirm its superiority in adapting pre-trained language models to VL tasks.

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