Omni-SMoLA: Boosting Generalist Multimodal Models with Soft Mixture of Low-rank Experts

Xia Hu
Bo Pang
Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition(2024)


Specialized Large multi-modal models (LMMs) have exhibited remarkable performance across numerous tasks, however, generalist LMMs suffer from performance degradation when training with a large collection of tasks. Recent research suggests Mixture of Experts (MoE) Models help instruction tuning, however, for LMMs of parameter size around O(50-100B), the prohibitive cost of replicating and storing the expert models severely limits the number of experts we can use. We propose Omni-SMoLA that softly mixes many multimodal low rank experts to large models without introducing significant new parameter count compared to conventional MoE models. The core idea is that the large model provides a foundational backbone and different lightweight experts learn specialized knowledge residually. Extensive experiments demonstrate that the SMoLA approach helps improve the generalist performance across a broad range of visual question answering and captioning tasks, achieving a new state-of-the-art generalist performance that matches or outperforms single specialized LMM baselines.