**RetNet: A Next-Generation Architecture for Language Models**
RetNet is a revolutionary architecture that addresses the limitations of Transformers, making it the go-to choice for big language models. Unlike Transformers, RetNet offers efficient inference, parallel model training, and low-cost deployment.
**The Challenge of Simultaneously Achieving Performance and Efficiency**
Figure 1 depicts the “impossible triangle” that represents the challenge of achieving high performance, training parallelism, and cost-effective inference simultaneously. Previous approaches, such as linearized attention and element-wise operators, have their drawbacks in terms of performance, representation capacity, and computation.
**Introducing RetNet: The Solution to the “Impossible Triangle”**
Researchers from Microsoft Research and Tsinghua University propose RetNet, which overcomes the limitations of previous approaches. RetNet introduces a multi-scale retention mechanism with three processing paradigms: similar, recurrent, and chunkwise recurrent representations. These paradigms replace the traditional multi-head attention mechanism used in Transformers.
**The Benefits of RetNet**
RetNet offers several advantages over Transformers and other derivatives. Firstly, RetNet allows for full utilization of GPU devices with its parallel representation, enabling efficient training parallelism. Secondly, the recurrent representation in RetNet allows for O(1) inference in terms of memory and computation, reducing deployment costs and latency. Finally, RetNet incorporates chunkwise recurrent representation, which enables effective long-sequence modeling while conserving GPU memory.
**Comparing RetNet with Transformers**
Extensive trials have been conducted to compare RetNet with Transformers. The results show that RetNet constantly competes in terms of scaling curves and in-context learning in language modeling tasks. Additionally, RetNet’s inference cost remains invariant regardless of the sequence length.
**Superior Performance and Efficiency**
RetNet outperforms Transformers in terms of decoding speed and memory utilization. It decodes 8.4 times quicker and uses 70% less memory for a 7B model and an 8k sequence length. During training, RetNet saves 25-50% more memory compared to a normal Transformer and performs better than highly optimized FlashAttention. Moreover, RetNet’s inference latency is unaffected by the batch size, allowing for extremely high throughput.
RetNet is a groundbreaking architecture that offers improved performance and efficiency compared to Transformers. It addresses the limitations of previous approaches and provides a viable solution for big language models. With its multi-scale retention mechanism and efficient parallelism, RetNet is a strong contender in the field of AI.
*To learn more about RetNet, you can check out the [research paper](https://arxiv.org/abs/2307.08621) and [GitHub link](https://github.com/microsoft/unilm). All credit for this research goes to the dedicated team of researchers involved in this project. Don’t forget to join our vibrant ML community on [Reddit](https://pxl.to/8mbuwy), [Discord](https://pxl.to/ivxz41s), and [subscribe](https://marktechpost-newsletter.beehiiv.com/subscribe) to our email newsletter for the latest AI research news and exciting projects.*