Review — MViT: Multiscale Vision Transformers

MViT/MViTv1, Proposed Pooling Attention, Reduce Dimensions

Sik-Ho Tsang
5 min readDec 4, 2022


PySlowFast is an open source video understanding codebase, with MViT provided by Meta AI (Formerly FAIR)

Multiscale Vision Transformers,
MViT/MViTv1, by Facebook AI Research (FAIR), UC Berkeley,
2021 ICCV, Over 300 Citations (Sik-Ho Tsang @ Medium)
Video Classification, Action Recognition, Image Classification, Vision Transformer, ViT, Swin Transformer

  • Multiscale Vision Transformer (MViT) is proposed for video classification, which creates a multiscale pyramid of features.
  • Early layers operate at high spatial resolution to model simple low-level visual information, and deeper layers operate at spatially coarse resolution, but to model complex, high-dimensional features, as below.
  • When number of input frames is reduced to 1, it can be used for image classification as well.


  1. Multi Head Pooling Attention (MHPA)
  2. Multiscale Vision Transformer (MViT)
  3. Video Classification Results
  4. Image Classification Results

1. Multi Head Pooling Attention (MHPA)

Pooling Attention
  • MHPA pools the sequence of latent tensors to reduce the sequence length (resolution) of the attended input.
  • Following ViT, MHPA projects the input X into intermediate query tensor ^Q, key tensor ^K and value tensor ^V:
  • Then, ^Q, ^K, ^V are pooled with the pooling operator P(;) which is the cornerstone of the MHPA:
  • Attention is now computed on these shortened vectors:

In summary, pooling attention is computed as:

Multiscale Vision Transformers (MViTs) learn a hierarchy from dense (in space) and simple (in channels) to coarse and complex features.

By the pooling attention, early layers operate at high spatial resolution to model simple low-level visual information, and deeper layers operate at spatially coarse resolution, but to model complex, high-dimensional features, as below.

  • (There are other implementation details, please feel free to read the paper.)

2. Multiscale Vision Transformer (MViT)

Left: ViT-B, Right: MViT-B
  • A scale stage is defined as a set of N Transformer blocks that operate on the same scale.
  • ViT (Left): always uses the same scale at scale2.
  • MViT (Right): There are multiple scale stages, to downsize the tensors for attention, which makes it more memory and compututionally efficient.
Comparing ViT-B to two instantiations of MViT with varying complexity

As shown above, MViT-B and MViT-S are more efficient than ViT-B.

3. Video Classification Results

3.1. Kinetics-400

Accuracy/complexity trade-off on Kinetics-400 for varying # of inference clips per video shown in MViT curves.
  • T×τ: A T×τ clip from the full-length video which contains T frames with a temporal stride of τ.

For small model, MViT-S produces 76.0% while being relatively lightweight with 26.1M param and 32.9×5=164.5G FLOPs, outperforming ViT-B by +7.5% at 5.5× less compute in identical train/val setting.

For base model, MViT-B provides 78.4%, a +9.9% accuracy boost over ViT-B under identical settings, while having 2.6×/2.4× fewer FLOPs/parameters.

3.2. Kinetics-600

Comparison with previous work on Kinetics-600.

MViT achieves state-of-the-art of 83.4% with 5-clip center crop testing while having 56.0× fewer FLOPs and 8.4× fewer parameters than ViT-L-ViViT.

3.3. Something-Something-v2 (SSv2)

Comparison with previous work on SSv2.

MViT-B with 16 frames has 64.7% top-1 accuracy, which is better than the SlowFast R101. WIth more input frames or/and deeper, it is even better.

3.4. Charades

Comparison with previous work on Charades.

With similar FLOPs and parameters, MViT-B 16×4 achieves better results (+2.0 mAP) than SlowFast R50.

3.5. AVA v2.2

Comparison with previous work on AVA v2.2.

MViT-B can be competitive to SlowFast and X3D using the same pre-training and testing strategy.

  • (There are other ablation experiments, please feel free to read the paper.)

4. Image Classification Results

Comparison to prior work on ImageNet.
  • With single frame as input, it becomes an image classification model.

Compared to the best model of concurrent Swin Transformer (which was designed for image recognition), MViT has +0.6% better accuracy at 1.4× less computation.

In this paper, MViT/MViTv1 primarily works on video classification and extends to image classification. Later on, MViTv2 is proposed in 2022 CVPR. MViTv2 rather works on image classification and extends to object detection and video classification tasks.


[2021 ICCV] [MViT / MViTv1]
Multiscale Vision Transformers

[GitHub] [PySlowFast]

1.1. Image Classification

1989 … 2021 [MViT / MViTv1] … 2022 [ConvNeXt] [PVTv2] [ViT-G] [AS-MLP] [ResTv2] [CSWin Transformer] [Pale Transformer] [Sparse MLP]

1.11. Video Classification / Action Recognition

2014 … 2019 [VideoBERT] [Moments in Time] 2021 [MViT]

My Other Previous Paper Readings



Sik-Ho Tsang

PhD, Researcher. I share what I learn. :) Linktree: for Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.