Light-weight convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are the de-facto for mobile vision tasks. Their spatial inductive biases allow them to learn representations with fewer parameters across different vision tasks. However, these networks are spatially local. To learn global representations, self-attention-based vision trans-formers (ViTs) have been adopted. Unlike CNNs, ViTs are heavy-weight. In this paper, we ask the following question: is it possible to combine the strengths of CNNs and ViTs to build a light-weight and low latency network for mobile vision tasks? Towards this end, we introduce MobileViT, a light-weight and general-purpose vision transformer for mobile devices. MobileViT presents a different perspective for the global processing of information with transformers, i.e., transformers as convolutions. Our results show that MobileViT significantly outperforms CNN- and ViT-based networks across different tasks and datasets. On the ImageNet-1k dataset, MobileViT achieves top-1 accuracy of 78.4% with about 6 million parameters, which is 3.2% and 6.2% more accurate than MobileNetv3 (CNN-based) and DeIT (ViT-based) for a similar number of parameters. On the MS-COCO object detection task, MobileViT is 5.7% more accurate than MobileNetv3 for a similar number of parameters.

Related readings and updates.

Deploying Attention-Based Vision Transformers to Apple Neural Engine

Motivated by the effective implementation of transformer architectures in natural language processing, machine learning researchers introduced the concept of a vision transformer (ViT) in 2021. This innovative approach serves as an alternative to convolutional neural networks (CNNs) for computer vision applications, as detailed in the paper, An Image Is Worth 16x16 Words: Transformers for Image Recognition at Scale.

See highlight details

An On-device Deep Neural Network for Face Detection

Apple started using deep learning for face detection in iOS 10. With the release of the Vision framework, developers can now use this technology and many other computer vision algorithms in their apps. We faced significant challenges in developing the framework so that we could preserve user privacy and run efficiently on-device. This article discusses these challenges and describes the face detection algorithm.

See highlight details