Google Research

Long Range Arena : A Benchmark for Efficient Transformers

ICLR 2021 (to appear)

Abstract

Transformers do not scale very well to long sequence lengths largely because of quadratic self-attention complexity. In the recent months, a wide spectrum of efficient, fast Transformers have been proposed to tackle this problem, more often than not claiming superior or comparable performance to vanilla Transformer models. To this date, there is no well-established consensus on how to evaluate this class of models. Moreover, inconsistent benchmarking on a wide spectrum of tasks and datasets makes it difficult to assess relative performance amongst many models. This paper proposes a systematic and unified benchmark, LRA a benchmark specifically focused on evaluating model quality under long-context scenarios. Our benchmark is a suite of tasks consisting of sequences ranging from $1K$ to $16K$ tokens, encompassing a wide range of data types and modalities such as text, natural and synthetic images, and mathematical expressions requiring similarity, structural and visual-spatial reasoning. We systematically evaluate ten well established long-range Transformer models (Reformers, Linformers, Linear Transformers, Sinkhorn Transformers, Performers, Synthesizers, Sparse Transformers and Longformers) on our newly proposed benchmark suite. LRA paves the way towards better understanding this class of efficient Transformer models, facilitates more research in this direction, and presents new challenging tasks to tackle.

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