Statestream: A toolbox to explore layerwise-parallel deep neural networks

Volker Fischer

Feb 15, 2018 (modified: Oct 27, 2017) ICLR 2018 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Building deep neural networks to control autonomous agents which have to interact in real-time with the physical world, such as robots or automotive vehicles, requires a seamless integration of time into a network’s architecture. The central question of this work is, how the temporal nature of reality should be reflected in the execution of a deep neural network and its components. Most artificial deep neural networks are partitioned into a directed graph of connected modules or layers and the layers themselves consist of elemental building blocks, such as single units. For most deep neural networks, all units of a layer are processed synchronously and in parallel, but layers themselves are processed in a sequential manner. In contrast, all elements of a biological neural network are processed in parallel. In this paper, we define a class of networks between these two extreme cases. These networks are executed in a streaming or synchronous layerwise-parallel manner, unlocking the layers of such networks for parallel processing. Compared to the standard layerwise-sequential deep networks, these new layerwise-parallel networks show a fundamentally different temporal behavior and flow of information, especially for networks with skip or recurrent connections. We argue that layerwise-parallel deep networks are better suited for future challenges of deep neural network design, such as large functional modularized and/or recurrent architectures as well as networks allocating different network capacities dependent on current stimulus and/or task complexity. We layout basic properties and discuss major challenges for layerwise-parallel networks. Additionally, we provide a toolbox to design, train, evaluate, and online-interact with layerwise-parallel networks.
  • TL;DR: We define a concept of layerwise model-parallel deep neural networks, for which layers operate in parallel, and provide a toolbox to design, train, evaluate, and on-line interact with these networks.
  • Keywords: model-parallel, parallelization, software platform
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