A Communication-Efficient Distributed Gradient Clipping Algorithm for Training Deep Neural NetworksDownload PDF

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Sep 29, 2021 (edited Oct 05, 2021)ICLR 2022 Conference Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
  • Keywords: Distributed Training, Federated Learning, Gradient Clipping, Communication-Efficient, Optimization
  • Abstract: In distributed training of deep neural networks or Federated Learning (FL), people usually run Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD) or its variants on each machine and communicate with other machines periodically. However, SGD might converge slowly in training some deep neural networks (e.g., RNN, LSTM) because of the exploding gradient issue. Gradient clipping is usually employed to address this issue in the single machine setting, but exploring this technique in the FL setting is still in its infancy: it remains mysterious whether the gradient clipping scheme can take advantage of multiple machines to enjoy parallel speedup in the FL setting. The main technical difficulty lies at dealing with nonconvex loss function, non-Lipschitz continuous gradient, and skipping communication rounds simultaneously. In this paper, we explore a relaxed-smoothness assumption of the loss landscape which LSTM was shown to satisfy in previous works, and design a communication-efficient gradient clipping algorithm. This algorithm can be run on multiple machines, where each machine employs a gradient clipping scheme and communicate with other machines after multiple steps of gradient-based updates. Our algorithm is proved to have $O\left(\frac{1}{N\epsilon^4}\right)$ iteration complexity for finding an $\epsilon$-stationary point, where $N$ is the number of machines. This indicates that our algorithm enjoys linear speedup. Our experiments on several benchmark datasets demonstrate that our algorithm indeed exhibits fast convergence speed in practice and validate our theory.
  • One-sentence Summary: This paper develops a communication-efficient distributed gradient clipping algorithm, which provably enjoys linear speedup for deep learning applications.
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