MultiHeadAttention layer.

This is an implementation of multi-headed attention as described in the paper "Attention is all you Need" (Vaswani et al., 2017). If query, key, value are the same, then this is self-attention. Each timestep in query attends to the corresponding sequence in key, and returns a fixed-width vector.

This layer first projects query, key and value. These are (effectively) a list of tensors of length num_attention_heads, where the corresponding shapes are (batch_size, <query dimensions>, key_dim), (batch_size, <key/value dimensions>, key_dim), (batch_size, <key/value dimensions>, value_dim).

Then, the query and key tensors are dot-producted and scaled. These are softmaxed to obtain attention probabilities. The value tensors are then interpolated by these probabilities, then concatenated back to a single tensor.

Finally, the result tensor with the last dimension as value_dim can take an linear projection and return.


Performs 1D cross-attention over two sequence inputs with an attention mask. Returns the additional attention weights over heads.

layer = MultiHeadAttention(num_heads=2, key_dim=2)
target = tf.keras.Input(shape=[8, 16])
source = tf.keras.Input(shape=[4, 16])
output_tensor, weights = layer(target, source,
(None, 8, 16)
(None, 2, 8, 4)

Performs 2D self-attention over a 5D input tensor on axes 2 and 3.

layer = MultiHeadAttention(num_heads=2, key_dim=2, attention_axes=(2, 3))
input_tensor = tf.keras.Input(shape=[5, 3, 4, 16])
output_tensor = layer(input_tensor, input_tensor)
(None, 5, 3, 4, 16)

num_heads Number of attention heads.
key_dim Size of each attention head for query and key.
value_dim Size of each attention head for value.
dropout Dropout probability.
reuse_attention An integer specifying number of heads to reuse. -1 for all heads.
use_relative_pe Whether to use relative position bias.
max_sequence_length Used to set the size of the relative positin encodings.
use_bias Boolean, whether the dense layers use bias vectors/matrices.
output_shape The expected shape of an output tensor, besides the batch and sequence dims. If not specified, projects back to the key feature dim.
attention_axes axes over which the attention is applied. None means attention over all axes, but batch, heads, and features.
kernel_initializer Initializer for dense layer kernels.
bias_initializer Initializer for dense layer biases.
kernel_regularizer Regularizer for dense layer kernels.
bias_regularizer Regularizer for dense layer biases.
activity_regularizer Regularizer for dense layer activity.
kernel_constraint Constraint for dense layer kernels.
bias_constraint Constraint for dense layer kernels.

query Query Tensor of shape (B, T, dim).
value Value Tensor of shape (B, S, dim).
key Optional key Tensor of shape (B, S, dim). If not given, will use value for both key and value, which is the most common case.
attention_mask a boolean mask of shape (B, T, S), that prevents attention to certain positions. The boolean mask specifies which query elements can attend to which key elements, 1 indicates attention and 0 indicates no attention. Broadcasting can happen for the missing batch dimensions and the head dimension.
return_attention_scores A boolean to indicate whether the output should be attention output if True, or (attention_output, attention_scores) if False. Defaults to False.
training Python boolean indicating whether the layer should behave in training mode (adding dropout) or in inference mode (no dropout). Defaults to either using the training mode of the parent layer/model, or False (inference) if there is no parent layer.

attention_output The result of the computation, of shape (B, T, E), where T is for target sequence shapes and E is the query input last dimension if output_shape is None. Otherwise, the multi-head outputs are project to the shape specified by output_shape.
attention_scores [Optional] multi-head attention coeffients over attention axes.



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This is where the layer's logic lives.

The call() method may not create state (except in its first invocation, wrapping the creation of variables or other resources in tf.init_scope()). It is recommended to create state, including tf.Variable instances and nested Layer instances, in __init__(), or in the build() method that is called automatically before call() executes for the first time.

inputs Input tensor, or dict/list/tuple of input tensors. The first positional inputs argument is subject to special rules:

  • inputs must be explicitly passed. A layer cannot have zero arguments, and inputs cannot be provided via the default value of a keyword argument.
  • NumPy array or Python scalar values in inputs get cast as tensors.
  • Keras mask metadata is only collected from inputs.
  • Layers are built (build(input_shape) method) using shape info from inputs only.
  • input_spec compatibility is only checked against inputs.
  • Mixed precision input casting is only applied to inputs. If a layer has tensor arguments in *args or **kwargs, their casting behavior in mixed precision should be handled manually.
  • The SavedModel input specification is generated using inputs only.
  • Integration with various ecosystem packages like TFMOT, TFLite, TF.js, etc is only supported for inputs and not for tensors in positional and keyword arguments.
*args Additional positional arguments. May contain tensors, although this is not recommended, for the reasons above.
**kwargs Additional keyword arguments. May contain tensors, although this is not recommended, for the reasons above. The following optional keyword arguments are reserved:
  • training: Boolean scalar tensor of Python boolean indicating whether the call is meant for training or inference.
  • mask: Boolean input mask. If the layer's call() method takes a mask argument, its default value will be set to the mask generated for inputs by the previous layer (if input did come from a layer that generated a corresponding mask, i.e. if it came from a Keras layer with masking support).
  • Returns
    A tensor or list/tuple of tensors.