Gemel: Model Merging for Memory-Efficient, Real-Time Video Analytics at the Edge


Arthi Padmanabhan, UCLA; Neil Agarwal, Princeton University; Anand Iyer and Ganesh Ananthanarayanan, Microsoft Research; Yuanchao Shu, Zhejiang University; Nikolaos Karianakis, Microsoft Research; Guoqing Harry Xu, UCLA; Ravi Netravali, Princeton University


Video analytics pipelines have steadily shifted to edge deployments to reduce bandwidth overheads and privacy violations, but in doing so, face an ever-growing resource tension. Most notably, edge-box GPUs lack the memory needed to concurrently house the growing number of (increasingly complex) models for real-time inference. Unfortunately, existing solutions that rely on time/space sharing of GPU resources are insufficient as the required swapping delays result in unacceptable frame drops and accuracy loss. We present model merging, a new memory management technique that exploits architectural similarities between edge vision models by judiciously sharing their layers (including weights) to reduce workload memory costs and swapping delays. Our system, Gemel, efficiently integrates merging into existing pipelines by (1) leveraging several guiding observations about per-model memory usage and inter-layer dependencies to quickly identify fruitful and accuracy-preserving merging configurations, and (2) altering edge inference schedules to maximize merging benefits. Experiments across diverse workloads reveal that Gemel reduces memory usage by up to 60.7%, and improves overall accuracy by 8-39% relative to time or space sharing alone.

NSDI '23 Open Access Sponsored by
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

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This content is available to:

@inproceedings {285111,
author = {Arthi Padmanabhan and Neil Agarwal and Anand Iyer and Ganesh Ananthanarayanan and Yuanchao Shu and Nikolaos Karianakis and Guoqing Harry Xu and Ravi Netravali},
title = {Gemel: Model Merging for {Memory-Efficient}, {Real-Time} Video Analytics at the Edge},
booktitle = {20th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-33-5},
address = {Boston, MA},
pages = {973--994},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = apr
Padmanabhan Paper (Prepublication) PDF

Presentation Video