Emergent Mind

Combined Scaling for Zero-shot Transfer Learning

Published Nov 19, 2021 in cs.LG , cs.CL , and cs.CV


We present a combined scaling method - named BASIC - that achieves 85.7% top-1 accuracy on the ImageNet ILSVRC-2012 validation set without learning from any labeled ImageNet example. This accuracy surpasses best published similar models - CLIP and ALIGN - by 9.3%. Our BASIC model also shows significant improvements in robustness benchmarks. For instance, on 5 test sets with natural distribution shifts such as ImageNet-{A,R,V2,Sketch} and ObjectNet, our model achieves 84.3% top-1 average accuracy, only a small drop from its original ImageNet accuracy. To achieve these results, we scale up the contrastive learning framework of CLIP and ALIGN in three dimensions: data size, model size, and batch size. Our dataset has 6.6B noisy image-text pairs, which is 4x larger than ALIGN, and 16x larger than CLIP. Our largest model has 3B weights, which is 3.75x larger in parameters and 8x larger in FLOPs than ALIGN and CLIP. Finally, our batch size is 65536 which is 2x more than CLIP and 4x more than ALIGN. We encountered two main challenges with the scaling rules of BASIC. First, the main challenge with implementing the combined scaling rules of BASIC is the limited memory of accelerators, such as GPUs and TPUs. To overcome the memory limit, we propose two simple methods which make use of gradient checkpointing and model parallelism. Second, while increasing the dataset size and the model size has been the defacto method to improve the performance of deep learning models like BASIC, the effect of a large contrastive batch size on such contrastive-trained image-text models is not well-understood. To shed light on the benefits of large contrastive batch sizes, we develop a theoretical framework which shows that larger contrastive batch sizes lead to smaller generalization gaps for image-text models such as BASIC.

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