MultiMax: Sparse and Multi-Modal Attention Learning

Published: 02 May 2024, Last Modified: 25 Jun 2024ICML 2024 PosterEveryoneRevisionsBibTeXCC BY 4.0
Abstract: SoftMax is a ubiquitous ingredient of modern machine learning algorithms. It maps an input vector onto a probability simplex and reweights the input by concentrating the probability mass at large entries. Yet, as a smooth approximation to the Argmax function, a significant amount of probability mass is distributed to other, residual entries, leading to poor interpretability and noise. Although sparsity can be achieved by a family of SoftMax variants, they often require an alternative loss function and do not preserve multimodality. We show that this trade-off between multi-modality and sparsity limits the expressivity of SoftMax as well as its variants. We provide a solution to this tension between objectives by proposing a piece-wise differentiable function, termed MultiMax, which adaptively modulates the output distribution according to input entry range. Through comprehensive analysis and evaluation, we show that MultiMax successfully produces a distribution that supresses irrelevant entries while preserving multi-modality, with benefits in image classification, language modeling and machine translation.
Submission Number: 4908