Promoting AI Equity in Science: Generalized Domain Prompt Learning for Accessible VLM Research

Qinglong Cao,Yuntian Chen, Lu Lu, Hao Sun, Zhenzhong Zeng,Xiaokang Yang,Dongxiao Zhang


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Large-scale Vision-Language Models (VLMs) have demonstrated exceptional performance in natural vision tasks, motivating researchers across domains to explore domain-specific VLMs. However, the construction of powerful domain-specific VLMs demands vast amounts of annotated data, substantial electrical energy, and computing resources, primarily accessible to industry, yet hindering VLM research in academia. To address this challenge and foster sustainable and equitable VLM research, we present the Generalized Domain Prompt Learning (GDPL) framework. GDPL facilitates the transfer of VLMs' robust recognition capabilities from natural vision to specialized domains, without the need for extensive data or resources. By leveraging small-scale domain-specific foundation models and minimal prompt samples, GDPL empowers the language branch with domain knowledge through quaternion networks, uncovering cross-modal relationships between domain-specific vision features and natural vision-based contextual embeddings. Simultaneously, GDPL guides the vision branch into specific domains through hierarchical propagation of generated vision prompt features, grounded in well-matched vision-language relations. Furthermore, to fully harness the domain adaptation potential of VLMs, we introduce a novel low-rank adaptation approach. Extensive experiments across diverse domains like remote sensing, medical imaging, geology, Synthetic Aperture Radar, and fluid dynamics, validate the efficacy of GDPL, demonstrating its ability to achieve state-of-the-art domain recognition performance in a prompt learning paradigm. Our framework paves the way for sustainable and inclusive VLM research, transcending the barriers between academia and industry.
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