Mixing and Shifting: Exploiting Global and Local Dependencies in Vision MLPs

arXiv preprint, 2022

Token-mixing multi-layer perceptron (MLP) models have shown competitive performance in computer vision tasks with a simple architecture and relatively small computational cost. Their success in maintaining computation efficiency is mainly attributed to avoiding the use of self-attention that is often computationally heavy, yet this is at the expense of not being able to mix tokens both globally and locally. In this paper, to exploit both global and local dependencies without self-attention, we present Mix-Shift-MLP (MS-MLP) which makes the size of the local receptive field used for mixing increase with respect to the amount of spatial shifting. In addition to conventional mixing and shifting techniques, MS-MLP mixes both neighboring and distant tokens from fine- to coarse-grained levels and then gathers them via a shifting operation. This directly contributes to the interactions between global and local tokens. Being simple to implement, MS-MLP achieves competitive performance in multiple vision benchmarks. For example, an MS-MLP with 85 million parameters achieves 83.8% top-1 classification accuracy on ImageNet-1K. Moreover, by combining MS-MLP with state-of-the-art Vision Transformers such as the Swin Transformer, we show MS-MLP achieves further improvements on three different model scales, e.g., by 0.5% on ImageNet-1K classification with Swin-B. The code is available at: https://github.com/JegZheng/MS-MLP.