Author: Fabian B. Fuchs, Daniel E. Worrall, Volker Fischer, Max Welling
We introduce the SE(3)-Transformer, a variant of the self-attention module for 3D point clouds, which is equivariant under continuous 3D roto-translations. Equivariance is important to ensure stable and predictable performance in the presence of nuisance transformations of the data input. A positive corollary of equivariance is increased weight-tying within the model, leading to fewer trainable parameters and thus decreased sample complexity (i.e. we need less training data). The SE(3)-Transformer leverages the benefits of self-attention to operate on large point clouds with varying number of points, while guaranteeing SE(3)-equivariance for robustness. We evaluate our model on a toy N-body particle simulation dataset, showcasing the robustness of the predictions under rotations of the input. We further achieve competitive performance on two real-world datasets, ScanObjectNN and QM9. In all cases, our model outperforms a strong, non-equivariant attention baseline and an equivariant model without attention.