Generating Long Sequences with Sparse Transformers

Venue

arXiv:1904.10509 [cs, stat], vol.

Publication Year

2019

Keywords

Statistics - Machine Learning,Computer Science - Machine Learning

Authors

  • Rewon Child
  • Scott Gray
  • Alec Radford
  • Ilya Sutskever

Abstract

Transformers are powerful sequence models, but require time and memory that grows quadratically with the sequence length. In this paper we introduce sparse factorizations of the attention matrix which reduce this to Ø(n \sqrt{n})\. We also introduce a) a variation on architecture and initialization to train deeper networks, b) the recomputation of attention matrices to save memory, and c) fast attention kernels for training. We call networks with these changes Sparse Transformers, and show they can model sequences tens of thousands of timesteps long using hundreds of layers. We use the same architecture to model images, audio, and text from raw bytes, setting a new state of the art for density modeling of Enwik8, CIFAR-10, and ImageNet-64. We generate unconditional samples that demonstrate global coherence and great diversity, and show it is possible in principle to use self-attention to model sequences of length one million or more.