FLEET: Flexible Efficient Ensemble Training for Heterogeneous Deep Neural Networks

Part of Proceedings of Machine Learning and Systems 2 (MLSys 2020)

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Hui Guan, Laxmikant Kishor Mokadam, Xipeng Shen, Seung-Hwan Lim, Robert Patton


Parallel training of an ensemble of Deep Neural Networks (DNN) on a cluster of nodes is an effective approach to shorten the process of neural network architecture search and hyper-parameter tuning for a given learning task. Prior efforts have shown that data sharing, where the common preprocessing operation is shared across the DNN training pipelines, saves computational resources and improves pipeline efficiency. Data sharing strategy, however, performs poorly for a heterogeneous set of DNNs where each DNN has varying computational needs and thus different training rate and convergence speed. This paper proposes FLEET, a flexible ensemble DNN training framework for efficiently training a heterogeneous set of DNNs. We build FLEET via several technical innovations. We theoretically prove that an optimal resource allocation is NP-hard and propose a greedy algorithm to efficiently allocate resources for training each DNN with data sharing. We integrate data-parallel DNN training into ensemble training to mitigate the differences in training rates. We introduce checkpointing into this context to address the issue of different convergence speeds. Experiments show that FLEET significantly improves the training efficiency of DNN ensembles without compromising the quality of the result.