Memory Optimization

Ballroom C

Moderator: Yingyan (Celine) Lin

Mon 5 Jun 10:30 a.m. PDT — 11:50 a.m. PDT


Chat is not available.

# Ballroom B - Position 10
Reducing Activation Recomputation in Large Transformer Models

Vijay Anand Korthikanti · Jared Casper · Sangkug Lym · Lawrence McAfee · Michael Andersch · Mohammad Shoeybi · Bryan Catanzaro

Training large transformer models is one of the most important computational challenges of modern AI. In this paper, we show how to significantly accelerate the training of large transformer models by reducing activation recomputation. Activation recomputation is commonly used to work around memory capacity constraints. Rather than storing activations for backpropagation, they are traditionally recomputed, which saves memory but adds redundant compute. In this work, we show most of this redundant compute is unnecessary because we can reduce memory consumption sufficiently without it. We present two novel yet very simple techniques: sequence parallelism and selective activation recomputation. In conjunction with tensor parallelism, these techniques almost eliminate the need to recompute activations. We evaluate our approach on language models up to one trillion parameters in scale and show that our method reduces activation memory by 5x, while reducing execution time overhead from activation recomputation by over 90%. For example, when training a 530B parameter GPT-3 style model on 2240 NVIDIA A100 GPUs, we achieve a Model Flops Utilization of 54.2%, which is 29% faster than the 42.1% we achieve using recomputation.

# Ballroom B - Position 11
RevBiFPN: The Fully Reversible Bidirectional Feature Pyramid Network

Vitaliy Chiley · Vithursan Thangarasa · Abhay Gupta · Anshul Samar · Joel Hestness · Dennis DeCoste

This work introduces RevSilo, the first reversible bidirectional multi-scale feature fusion module. Like other reversible methods, RevSilo eliminates the need to store hidden activations by recomputing them. However, existing reversible methods do not apply to multi-scale feature fusion and are, therefore, not applicable to a large class of networks. Bidirectional multi-scale feature fusion promotes local and global coherence and has become a de facto design principle for networks targeting spatially sensitive tasks, e.g., HRNet (Sun et al., 2019a) and EfficientDet (Tan et al., 2020). These networks achieve state-of-the-art results across various computer vision tasks when paired with high-resolution inputs. However, training them requires substantial accelerator memory for saving large, multi-resolution activations. These memory requirements inherently cap the size of neural networks, limiting improvements that come from scale. Operating across resolution scales, RevSilo alleviates these issues. Stacking RevSilos, we create RevBiFPN, a fully reversible bidirectional feature pyramid network. RevBiFPN is competitive with networks such as EfficientNet while using up to 19.8x lesser training memory for image classification. When fine-tuned on MS COCO, RevBiFPN provides up to a 2.5% boost in AP over HRNet using fewer MACs and a 2.4x reduction in training-time memory.

# Ballroom B - Position 8
Transcending Runtime-Memory Tradeoffs in Checkpointing by being Fusion Aware

Horace He · Shangdi Yu

Gradient checkpointing is an optimization that reduces the memory footprint by re-computing some operations instead of saving their activations. Previous works on checkpointing have viewed this as a tradeoff between peak memory and performance. However, we argue that this framing does not account for a key aspect of modern deep learning systems -- operator fusion. In this work, we demonstrate that with a fusion aware checkpointing algorithm, we can transcend the runtime-memory tradeoffs of traditional checkpointing and improve both memory and runtime simultaneously. We evaluate our algorithm on a wide range of standard neural network models as well as some novel patterns. We achieve a geomean of 12% throughput improvement over an existing compiled baseline, and the maximum batch size that can be attained is up to 1.75 times larger on standard models. In novel patterns, we achieve up to a 10x improvement, with by a 5x reduction in peak memory.

# Ballroom B - Position 9
Safe Optimized Static Memory Allocation for Parallel Deep Learning

Ioannis Lamprou · Zhen Zhang · Javier de Juan · Hang Yang · Yongqiang Lai · Etienne Filhol · Cedric Bastoul

Parallel training is mandatory in order to maintain performance efficiency and tackle memory constraints for deep neural network (DNN) models. For this purpose, a critical optimization in order to tune a parallelism strategy is to schedule tensors onto device memory in compilation time. In this paper, we present a safe and optimized solver for this problem capturing a general parallel scenario to enable execution in open-source MindSpore framework. The input is a computational graph and a partition of its operators into streams of execution, which may run in parallel. First, we design algorithms to efficiently and provably decide if it is safe, for any two tensors, to reuse memory. Second, given such a set of reuse constraints, as well as a set of contiguous constraints to enable bulk communication among processing elements, we design algorithms to assign an offset to each tensor, such that all constraints are satisfied and total memory is minimized. Our experiments in parallel training of a variety of DNNs demonstrate nearly optimal, improved in some cases, memory consumption compared to state-of-the-art (adapted for our setting) and a sequential execution lower bound. Our algorithms show compilation time gains of up to 44% in determining safety and up to 70% in tensor offset assignment.