Beyond Data and Model Parallelism for Deep Neural Networks.

Part of Proceedings of Machine Learning and Systems 1 (MLSys 2019)

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Zhihao Jia, Matei Zaharia, Alex Aiken


Existing deep learning systems commonly parallelize deep neural network (DNN) training using data or model parallelism, but these strategies often result in suboptimal parallelization performance. We introduce SOAP, a more comprehensive search space of parallelization strategies for DNNs that includes strategies to parallelize a DNN in the Sample, Operator, Attribute, and Parameter dimensions. We present FlexFlow, a deep learning engine that uses guided randomized search of the SOAP space to find a fast parallelization strategy for a specific parallel machine. To accelerate this search, FlexFlow introduces a novel execution simulator that can accurately predict a parallelization strategy’s performance and is three orders of magnitude faster than prior approaches that execute each strategy. We evaluate FlexFlow with six real-world DNN benchmarks on two GPU clusters and show that FlexFlow increases training throughput by up to 3.3× over state-of-the-art approaches, even when including its search time, and also improves scalability.