Coordinate Attention for Efficient Mobile Network Design

Qibin Hou, Daquan Zhou, Jiashi Feng; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2021, pp. 13713-13722


Recent studies on mobile network design have demonstrated the remarkable effectiveness of channel attention (e.g., the Squeeze-and-Excitation attention) for lifting model performance, but they generally neglect the positional information, which is important for generating spatially selective attention maps. In this paper, we propose a novel attention mechanism for mobile networks by embedding positional information into channel attention, which we call "coordinate attention". Unlike channel attention that transforms a feature tensor to a single feature vector via 2D global pooling, the coordinate attention factorizes channel attention into two 1D feature encoding processes that aggregate features along the two spatial directions, respectively. In this way, long-range dependencies can be captured along one spatial direction and meanwhile precise positional information can be preserved along the other spatial direction. The resulting feature maps are then encoded separately into a pair of direction-aware and position-sensitive attention maps that can be complementarily applied to the input feature map to augment the representations of the objects of interest. Our coordinate attention is simple and can be flexibly plugged into classic mobile networks, such as MobileNetV2, MobileNeXt, and EfficientNet with nearly no computational overhead. Extensive experiments demonstrate that our coordinate attention is not only beneficial to ImageNet classification but more interestingly, behaves better in down-stream tasks, such as object detection and semantic segmentation. Code is available at

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@InProceedings{Hou_2021_CVPR, author = {Hou, Qibin and Zhou, Daquan and Feng, Jiashi}, title = {Coordinate Attention for Efficient Mobile Network Design}, booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)}, month = {June}, year = {2021}, pages = {13713-13722} }