Accelerating Collective Communication in Data Parallel Training across Deep Learning Frameworks


Joshua Romero, NVIDIA, Inc.; Junqi Yin, Nouamane Laanait, Bing Xie, and M. Todd Young, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Sean Treichler, NVIDIA, Inc.; Vitalii Starchenko and Albina Borisevich, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Alex Sergeev, Carbon Robotics; Michael Matheson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory


This work develops new techniques within Horovod, a generic communication library supporting data parallel training across deep learning frameworks. In particular, we improve the Horovod control plane by implementing a new coordination scheme that takes advantage of the characteristics of the typical data parallel training paradigm, namely the repeated execution of collectives on the gradients of a fixed set of tensors. Using a caching strategy, we execute Horovod’s existing coordinator-worker logic only once during a typical training run, replacing it with a more efficient decentralized orchestration strategy using the cached data and a global intersection of a bitvector for the remaining training duration. Next, we introduce a feature for end users to explicitly group collective operations, enabling finer grained control over the communication buffer sizes. To evaluate our proposed strategies, we conduct experiments on a world-class supercomputer — Summit. We compare our proposals to Horovod’s original design and observe 2x performance improvement at a scale of 6000 GPUs; we also compare them against tf.distribute and torch.DDP and achieve 12% better and comparable performance, respectively, using up to 1536 GPUs; we compare our solution against BytePS in typical HPC settings and achieve about 20% better performance on a scale of 768 GPUs. Finally, we test our strategies on a scientific application (STEMDL) using up to 27,600 GPUs (the entire Summit) and show that we achieve a near-linear scaling of 0.93 with a sustained performance of 1.54 exaflops (with standard error +- 0.02) in FP16 precision.

NSDI '22 Open Access Sponsored by
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

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