PackQViT: Faster Sub-8-bit Vision Transformers via Full and Packed Quantization on the Mobile

Peiyan Dong · LEI LU · Chao Wu · Cheng Lyu · Cheng Lyu · Geng Yuan · Hao Tang · Yanzhi Wang

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #315
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[ Paper [ Poster [ OpenReview
Tue 12 Dec 8:45 a.m. PST — 10:45 a.m. PST

Abstract: While Vision Transformers (ViTs) have undoubtedly made impressive strides in computer vision (CV), their intricate network structures necessitate substantial computation and memory resources. A decision-making process for CV tasks typically entails performing computations with low latency, which is a tricky problem for ViT models.Model quantization is a widely-used technique to optimize the hardware efficiency of deep neural networks.Full quantization under Sub-8-bit precision, in particular, is a promising solution to reduce inference latency significantly. Unfortunately, current commodity hardware, such as CPUs and GPUs, still struggles to efficiently execute these sub-8-bit quantized networks, as their SIMD instructions only support a granularity of 8 bits or wider.Also, there is a scarcity of literature that presents a full quantization paradigm for ViTs.In this paper, we propose an activation-aware fully sub-8-bit quantization-aware training (QAT) framework called PackQViT for efficient yet accurate ViT acceleration on mobile devices to facilitate real-time AI-powered decision-making.Specifically, in revisiting data activation within the ViT dataflow, two characteristics are relevant to quantization strategy and precision: the long-tailed distribution and systematic channel-wise outliers.In response, we employ either log2 quantization or clipping to address the long-tailed distribution and incorporate outlier-aware training for residual link quantization to regulate the various channel-wise outliers more consistently.Notably, due to the systematic fixed pattern, outlier-aware training approach can predict the channel indices and regularized scales of outliers in advance, thus avoiding the runtime data-adaptive selection during inference.Furthermore, we employ Int-$2^{n}$-Softmax, Int-LayerNorm, and Integer GELU to enable integer-only computation flow. Finally, we develop a SIMD-based 4-bit packed multiplier to achieve end-to-end ViT acceleration on mobile phones.Compared to prior studies on ViT quantization using 8-bit precision, PackQViT surpasses other works by an improved accuracy ranging from 0.4\% to 17.9\% for various widely used ViTs on ImageNet dataset; under 4-bit precision, PackQViT demonstrates 0.4%$\sim$2.8% higher accuracy. Compared to the baseline multiplier, our implementations on the Realme GT Android smartphone with Snapdragon 870 SoC CPU achieve 2.6x$\sim$3.7x speedup under 8-bit scenario and 3.8x$\sim$5.9x speedup under 4-bit which ensures practical real-time performance.

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