Efficient Communications in Training Large Scale Neural Networks

TitleEfficient Communications in Training Large Scale Neural Networks
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsZhao, Y., L. Wan, W. Wu, G. Bosilca, R. Vuduc, J. Ye, W. Tang, and Z. Xu
Conference NameACM MultiMedia Workshop 2017
Date Published2017-10
Conference LocationMountain View, CA

We consider the problem of how to reduce the cost of communication that is required for the parallel training of a neural network. The state-of-the-art method, Bulk Synchronous Parallel Stochastic Gradient Descent (BSP-SGD), requires many collective communication operations, like broadcasts of parameters or reductions for sub-gradient aggregations, which for large messages quickly dominates overall execution time and limits parallel scalability. To address this problem, we develop a new technique for collective operations, referred to as Linear Pipelining (LP). It is tuned to the message sizes that arise in BSP-SGD, and works effectively on multi-GPU systems. Theoretically, the cost of LP is invariant to P, where P is the number of GPUs, while the cost of more conventional Minimum Spanning Tree (MST) scales like O(logP). LP also demonstrate up to 2x faster bandwidth than Bidirectional Exchange (BE) techniques that are widely adopted by current MPI implementations. We apply these collectives to BSP-SGD, showing that the proposed implementations reduce communication bottlenecks in practice while preserving the attractive convergence properties of BSP-SGD.