- ICML, 2023
Many deep learning applications benefit from using large models with billions of parameters. Training these models is notoriously expensive due to the need for specialized HPC clusters. In this work, we consider alternative setups for training large models: using cheap "preemptible" instances or pooling existing resources from multiple regions. We analyze the performance of existing model-parallel algorithms in these conditions and find configurations where training larger models becomes less communication-intensive. Based on these findings, we propose SWARM parallelism, a model-parallel training algorithm designed for poorly connected, heterogeneous and unreliable devices. SWARM creates temporary randomized pipelines between nodes that are rebalanced in case of failure. We empirically validate our findings and compare SWARM parallelism with existing large-scale training approaches. Finally, we combine our insights with compression strategies to train a large Transformer language model with 1B shared parameters (approximately 13B before sharing) on preemptible T4 GPUs with less than 200Mb/s network.
- ICML, 2022
Many areas of deep learning benefit from using increasingly larger neural networks trained on public data, as is the case for pre-trained models for NLP and computer vision. Training such models requires a lot of computational resources (e.g., HPC clusters) that are not available to small research groups and independent researchers. One way to address it is for several smaller groups to pool their computational resources together and train a model that benefits all participants. Unfortunately, in this case, any participant can jeopardize the entire training run by sending incorrect updates, deliberately or by mistake. Training in presence of such peers requires specialized distributed training algorithms with Byzantine tolerance. These algorithms often sacrifice efficiency by introducing redundant communication or passing all updates through a trusted server, making it infeasible to apply them to large-scale deep learning, where models can have billions of parameters. In this work, we propose a novel protocol for secure (Byzantine-tolerant) decentralized training that emphasizes communication efficiency.
- NeurIPS Demos, 2022
The infrastructure necessary for training state-of-the-art models is becoming overly expensive, which makes training such models affordable only to large corporations and institutions. Recent work proposes several methods for training such models collaboratively, i.e., by pooling together hardware from many independent parties and training a shared model over the Internet. In this demonstration, we collaboratively trained a text-to-image transformer similar to OpenAI DALL-E. We invited the viewers to join the ongoing training run, showing them instructions on how to contribute using the available hardware. We explained how to address the engineering challenges associated with such a training run (slow communication, limited memory, uneven performance between devices, and security concerns) and discussed how the viewers can set up collaborative training runs themselves. Finally, we show that the resulting model generates images of reasonable quality on a number of prompts.
Alexander works on methods for efficient large-scale distributed deep learning, fine-tuning, and inference. Before joining Yandex Research, he got a MSc degree in Data Science from HSE University and worked as a research engineer at Yandex Self-Driving Group.