Self-supervised pre-training vision transformer (ViT) via masked image modeling (MIM) has been proven very effective. However, customized algorithms should be carefully designed for the hierarchical ViTs, e.g., GreenMIM, instead of using the vanilla and simple MAE for the plain ViT. More importantly, since these hierarchical ViTs cannot reuse the off-the-shelf pre-trained weights of the plain ViTs, the requirement of pre-training them leads to a massive amount of computational cost, thereby incurring both algorithmic and computational complexity. In this paper, we address this problem by proposing a novel idea of disentangling the hierarchical architecture design from the self-supervised pre-training. We transform the plain ViT into a hierarchical one with minimal changes. Technically, we change the stride of linear embedding layer from 16 to 4 and add convolution (or simple average) pooling layers between the transformer blocks, thereby reducing the feature size from 1/4 to 1/32 sequentially. Despite its simplicity, it outperforms the plain ViT baseline in classification, detection, and segmentation tasks on ImageNet, MS COCO, Cityscapes, and ADE20K benchmarks, respectively. We hope this preliminary study could draw more attention from the community on developing effective (hierarchical) ViTs while avoiding the pre-training cost by leveraging the off-the-shelf checkpoints. The code and models will be released at https://github.com/ViTAE-Transformer/HPViT.
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