- [pdf] [supp] [arXiv]
VisualGPT: Data-Efficient Adaptation of Pretrained Language Models for Image Captioning
The limited availability of annotated data often hinders real-world applications of machine learning. To efficiently learn from small quantities of multimodal data, we leverage the linguistic knowledge from a large pre-trained language model (PLM) and quickly adapt it to new domains of image captioning. To effectively utilize a pretrained model, it is critical to balance the visual input and prior linguistic knowledge from pretraining. We propose VisualGPT, which employs a novel self-resurrecting encoder-decoder attention mechanism to quickly adapt the PLM with a small amount of in-domain image-text data. The proposed self-resurrecting activation unit produces sparse activations that prevent accidental overwriting of linguistic knowledge. When trained on 0.1%, 0.5% and 1% of the respective training sets, VisualGPT surpasses the best baseline by up to 10.0% CIDEr on MS COCO and 17.9% CIDEr on Conceptual Captions. Furthermore, VisualGPT achieves the state-of-the-art result on IU X-ray, a medical report generation dataset. Our code is available at https://github.com/Vision-CAIR/VisualGPT.