Jump to Content

Learning a Fourier Transform for Linear Relative Positional Encodings in Transformers

View publication Download


We propose a new class of linear Transformers called FourierLearner-Transformers (FLTs), which incorporate a wide range of relative positional encoding mechanisms (RPEs). These include regular RPE techniques applied for nongeometric data, as well as novel RPEs operating on the sequences of tokens embedded in higher-dimensional Euclidean spaces (e.g. point clouds). FLTs construct the optimal RPE mechanism implicitly by learning its spectral representation. As opposed to other architectures combining efficient low-rank linear attention with RPEs, FLTs remain practical in terms of their memory usage and do not require additional assumptions about the structure of the RPE-mask. FLTs allow also for applying certain structural inductive bias techniques to specify masking strategies, e.g. they provide a way to learn the so-called local RPEs introduced in this paper and providing accuracy gains as compared with several other linear Transformers for language modeling. We also thoroughly tested FLTs on other data modalities and tasks, such as: image classification and 3D molecular modeling. For 3D-data FLTs are, to the best of our knowledge, the first Transformers architectures providing RPE-enhanced linear attention.


Krzysztof Marcin Choromanski, Shanda Li, Valerii Likhosherstov, Kumar Avinava Dubey, Shengjie Luo, Di He, Yiming Yang, Tamas Sarlos, Thomas Weingarten, Adrian Weller


(deprecated) AISTATS2024