Google Research

Pix2seq: A Language Modeling Framework for Object Detection

International Conference on Learning Representations (2022)


We present Pix2Seq, a simple and generic framework for object detection. Unlike existing approaches that explicitly integrate prior knowledge about the task, we cast object detection as a language modeling task conditioned on the observed pixel inputs. Object descriptions (e.g., bounding boxes and class labels) are expressed as sequences of discrete tokens, and we train a neural network to perceive the image and generate the desired sequence. Our approach is based mainly on the intuition that if a neural network knows about where and what the objects are, we just need to teach it how to read them out. Beyond the use of task-specific data augmentations, our approach makes minimal assumptions about the task, yet it achieves competitive results on the challenging COCO dataset, compared to highly specialized and well optimized detection algorithms.

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