Keywords: Distributed Machine Learnig, Large-Batch Training, Adversarial Learning
Abstract: Large-batch training has become a commonly used technique when training neural networks with a large number of GPU/TPU processors. As batch size increases, stochastic optimizers tend to converge to sharp local minima, leading to degraded test performance. Current methods usually use extensive data augmentation to increase the batch size, but we found the performance gain with data augmentation decreases as batch size increases, and data augmentation will become insufficient after certain point. In this paper, we propose to use adversarial learning to increase the batch size in large-batch training. Despite being a natural choice for smoothing the decision surface and biasing towards a flat region, adversarial learning has not been successfully applied in large-batch training since it requires at least two sequential gradient computations at each step, which will at least double the running time compared with vanilla training even with a large number of processors. To overcome this issue, we propose a novel Concurrent Adversarial Learning (ConAdv) method that decouple the sequential gradient computations in adversarial learning by utilizing staled parameters. Experimental results demonstrate that ConAdv can successfully increase the batch size on both ResNet-50 and EfficientNet training on ImageNet while maintaining high accuracy. In particular, we show ConAdv along can achieve 75.3\% top-1 accuracy on ImageNet ResNet-50 training with 96K batch size, and the accuracy can be further improved to 76.2\% when combining ConAdv with data augmentation. This is the first work successfully scales ResNet-50 training batch size to 96K.