DYAD: A Descriptive Yet Abjuring Density efficient approximation to linear neural network layers

Published: 28 Oct 2023, Last Modified: 01 Dec 2023WANT@NeurIPS 2023 PosterEveryoneRevisionsBibTeX
Keywords: sparse, tensor operations, pretraining efficient, block sparse, linear layer, large language model
TL;DR: We come up with a tuneably somewhat sparse pattern that can be represented as a sum of two near blocksparse
Abstract: We devise, implement and performance-asses DYAD, a layer which can serve as a faster and more memory-efficient approximate replacement for linear layers, (nn.Linear() in Pytorch). These layers appear in common subcomponents, such as in the ff module of Transformers. DYAD is based on a bespoke near-sparse matrix structure which approximates the dense "weight" matrix W that matrix-multiplies the input in the typical realization of such a layer, a.k.a DENSE. Our alternative near-sparse matrix structure is decomposable to a sum of 2 matrices permutable to a block-sparse counterpart. These can be represented as 3D tensors, which in unison allow a faster execution of matrix multiplication with the mini-batched input matrix compared to DENSE (O(rows(W) × cols(W)) → O(rows(W)×cols(W)/ (# of blocks )). As the crux of our experiments, we pretrain both DYAD and DENSE variants of 2 sizes of the OPT arch and 1 size of the Pythia arch, including at different token scales of the babyLM benchmark. We find DYAD to be competitive (≥ 90%) of DENSE performance on zero-shot (e.g. BLIMP), few-shot (OPENLM) and finetuning (GLUE) benchmarks, while being ≥7-15% faster to train on-GPU even at 125m scale, besides surfacing larger speedups at increasing scale and model width.
Submission Number: 37