VLMixer: Unpaired Vision-Language Pre-training via Cross-Modal CutMix
Proceedings of the 39th International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 162:22680-22690, 2022.
Existing vision-language pre-training (VLP) methods primarily rely on paired image-text datasets, which are either annotated by enormous human labors or crawled from the internet followed by elaborate data cleaning techniques. To reduce the dependency on well-aligned image-text pairs, it is promising to directly leverage the large-scale text-only and image-only corpora. This paper proposes a data augmentation method, namely cross-modal CutMix (CMC), for implicit cross-modal alignment learning in unpaired VLP. Specifically, CMC transforms natural sentences in the textual view into a multi-modal view, where visually-grounded words in a sentence are randomly replaced by diverse image patches with similar semantics. There are several appealing proprieties of the proposed CMC. First, it enhances the data diversity while keeping the semantic meaning intact for tackling problems where the aligned data are scarce; Second, by attaching cross-modal noise on uni-modal data, it guides models to learn token-level interactions across modalities for better denoising. Furthermore, we present a new unpaired VLP method, dubbed as VLMixer, that integrates CMC with contrastive learning to pull together the uni-modal and multi-modal views for better instance-level alignments among different modalities. Extensive experiments on five downstream tasks show that VLMixer could surpass previous state-of-the-art unpaired VLP methods.