When Do We Not Need Larger Vision Models?

Published on Mar 19
· Featured in Daily Papers on Mar 21


Scaling up the size of vision models has been the de facto standard to obtain more powerful visual representations. In this work, we discuss the point beyond which larger vision models are not necessary. First, we demonstrate the power of Scaling on Scales (S^2), whereby a pre-trained and frozen smaller vision model (e.g., ViT-B or ViT-L), run over multiple image scales, can outperform larger models (e.g., ViT-H or ViT-G) on classification, segmentation, depth estimation, Multimodal LLM (MLLM) benchmarks, and robotic manipulation. Notably, S^2 achieves state-of-the-art performance in detailed understanding of MLLM on the V* benchmark, surpassing models such as GPT-4V. We examine the conditions under which S^2 is a preferred scaling approach compared to scaling on model size. While larger models have the advantage of better generalization on hard examples, we show that features of larger vision models can be well approximated by those of multi-scale smaller models. This suggests most, if not all, of the representations learned by current large pre-trained models can also be obtained from multi-scale smaller models. Our results show that a multi-scale smaller model has comparable learning capacity to a larger model, and pre-training smaller models with S^2 can match or even exceed the advantage of larger models. We release a Python package that can apply S^2 on any vision model with one line of code:


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