PLink: Discovering and Exploiting Locality for Accelerated Distributed Training on the public Cloud

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

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Authors

Liang Luo, Peter West, Arvind Krishnamurthy, Luis Ceze, Jacob Nelson

Abstract

Training deep learning models has become an important workload on the public cloud. Scaling cloud-based distributed training faces unique challenges from the hierarchical network topology of the datacenter and the dynamic nature of the multi-tenant environment. Timely training of deep learning models requires effective use of topology-induced locality in the datacenter network. This work proposes PLink, an optimized communication library that probes the physical network and then generates and executes a fitted hierarchical aggregation plan to take advantage of such locality, and evolves the plan to adapt to changing network conditions. PLink needs no support from cloud providers and operates out-of-the-box on unmodified public clouds. PLink serves as a direct plug-in to many training frameworks, delivering up to 2.3x better end-to-end training throughput for popular DL models on Azure and EC2 compared to the state of the art.