Effective and Efficient Batch Normalization Using Few Uncorrelated Data for Statistics' Estimation

Zhaodong Chen, Lei Deng, Guoqi Li, Jiawei Sun, Xing Hu, Ling Liang, YufeiDing, Yuan Xie

Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) thrive in recent years in which Batch Normalization (BN) plays an indispensable role. However, it has been observed that BN is costly due to the reduction operations. In this paper, we propose alleviating the BN’s cost by using only a small fraction of data for mean & variance estimation at each iteration. The key challenge to reach this goal is how to achieve a satisfactory balance between normalization effectiveness and execution efficiency. We identify that the effectiveness expects less data correlation while the efficiency expects regular execution pattern. To this end, we propose two categories of approach: sampling or creating few uncorrelated data for statistics’ estimation with certain strategy constraints. The former includes “Batch Sampling (BS)” that randomly selects few samples from each batch and “Feature Sampling (FS)” that randomly selects a small patch from each feature map of all samples, and the latter is “Virtual Dataset Normalization (VDN)” that generates few synthetic random samples. Accordingly, multi-way strategies are designed to reduce the data correlation for accurate estimation and optimize the execution pattern for running acceleration in the meantime. All the proposed methods are comprehensively evaluated on various DNN models, where an overall training speedup by up to 21.7% on modern GPUs can be practically achieved without the support of any specialized libraries, and the loss of model accuracy and convergence rate are negligible. Furthermore, our methods demonstrate powerful performance when solving the well-known “micro-batch normalization” problem in the case of tiny batch size.
  • Keywords: batch normalization, acceleration, correlation, sampling
  • TL;DR: We propose accelerating Batch Normalization (BN) through sampling less correlated data for reduction operations with regular execution pattern, which achieves up to 2x and 20% speedup for BN itself and the overall training, respectively.
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