Sequence Parallelism: Long Sequence Training from System Perspective

Published: 20 Jun 2023, Last Modified: 16 Jul 2023ES-FoMO 2023 PosterEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Keywords: Distributed Deep Learning, Long Sequence Training
Abstract: Transformer achieves promising results on various tasks. However, self-attention suffers from quadratic memory requirements with respect to the sequence length. Existing work focuses on reducing time and space complexity from an algorithm perspective. In this work, we propose sequence parallelism, a memory-efficient parallelism to solve this issue from system perspective instead. With sequence parallelism, we no longer require a single device to hold the whole sequence. Besides, using efficient attention with linear complexity, our sequence parallelism enables us to train transformer with infinite long sequence. Experiments show that sequence parallelism performs well when scaling with batch size and sequence length. Compared with tensor parallelism, our approach achieved $13.7\times$ and $3.0\times$ maximum batch size and sequence length respectively when scaling up to 64 NVIDIA P100 GPUs. With efficient attention, sequence can handle sequence with over 114K tokens, which is over $27\times$ longer than existing efficient attention works holding the whole sequence on a single device.
Submission Number: 3