PatchGame: Learning to Signal Mid-level Patches in Referential Games

Dec 6, 2021



We study a referential game (a type of signaling game) where two agents communicate with each other via a discrete bottleneck to achieve a common goal. In our referential game, the goal of the speaker is to compose a message or a symbolic representation of "important" image patches, while the task for the listener is to match the speaker's message to a different view of the same image. We show that it is indeed possible for the two agents to develop a communication protocol without explicit supervision. We further investigate the developed protocol and show the applications in speeding up recent Vision Transformers by using only important patches, and as pre-training for downstream recognition tasks (e.g., classification).


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