Stochastic Gradient Push for Distributed Deep Learning

Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Large mini-batch parallel SGD is commonly used for distributed training of deep networks. Approaches that use tightly-coupled exact distributed averaging based on AllReduce are sensitive to slow nodes and high-latency communication. In this work we show the applicability of Stochastic Gradient Push (SGP) for distributed training. SGP uses a gossip algorithm called PushSum for approximate distributed averaging, allowing for much more loosely coupled communications which can be beneficial in high-latency or high-variability scenarios. The tradeoff is that approximate distributed averaging injects additional noise in the gradient which can affect the train and test accuracies. We prove that SGP converges to a stationary point of smooth, non-convex objective functions. Furthermore, we validate empirically the potential of SGP. For example, using 32 nodes with 8 GPUs per node to train ResNet-50 on ImageNet, where nodes communicate over 10Gbps Ethernet, SGP completes 90 epochs in around 1.5 hours while AllReduce SGD takes over 5 hours, and the top-1 validation accuracy of SGP remains within 1.2% of that obtained using AllReduce SGD.
  • Keywords: optimization, distributed, large scale, deep learning
  • TL;DR: For distributed training over high-latency networks, use gossip-based approximate distributed averaging instead of exact distribute averaging like AllReduce.
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