Keywords: online tokenizer, masked image modeling, vision transformer
Abstract: The success of language Transformers is primarily attributed to the pretext task of masked language modeling (MLM), where texts are first tokenized into semantically meaningful pieces. In this work, we study masked image modeling (MIM) and indicate the necessity and challenges of using a semantically meaningful visual tokenizer. We present a self-supervised framework iBOT that can perform masked prediction with an online tokenizer. Specifically, we perform self-distillation on masked patch tokens and take the teacher network as the online tokenizer, along with self-distillation on the class token to acquire visual semantics. The online tokenizer is jointly learnable with the MIM objective and dispenses with a multi-stage training pipeline where the tokenizer needs to be pre-trained beforehand. We show the prominence of iBOT by achieving an 82.3% linear probing accuracy and an 87.8% fine-tuning accuracy evaluated on ImageNet-1K. Beyond the state-of-the-art image classification results, we underline emerging local semantic patterns, which helps the models to obtain strong robustness against common corruptions and achieve leading results on dense downstream tasks, e.g., object detection, instance segmentation, and semantic segmentation.
One-sentence Summary: We present a self-supervised framework iBOT that can perform masked image modeling with an online tokenizer, achieving the state-of-the-art results in downstream tasks.