SC22 Proceedings

The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis

Technical Papers Archive

STRONGHOLD: Fast and Affordable Billion-Scale Deep Learning Model Training

Authors: Xiaoyang Sun (University of Leeds, Alibaba Group); Wei Wang (Alibaba Group); Shenghao Qiu and Renyu Yang (University of Leeds); Songfang Huang (Alibaba Group); and Jie Xu and Zheng Wang (University of Leeds)

Abstract: Deep neural networks (DNNs) with billion-scale parameters have demonstrated impressive performance in solving many tasks. Unfortunately, training a billion-scale DNN is out of the reach of many data scientists because it requires high-performance GPU servers that are too expensive to purchase and maintain. We present STRONGHOLD, a novel approach for enabling large DNN model training with no change to the user code. STRONGHOLD scales up the largest trainable model size by dynamically offloading data to the CPU RAM and enabling the use of secondary storage. It automatically determines the minimum amount of data to be kept in the GPU memory to minimize GPU memory usage. Compared to state-of-the-art offloading-based solutions, STRONGHOLD improves the trainable model size by 1.9x∼6.5x on a 32GB V100 GPU, with 1.2x∼3.7x improvement on the training throughput. It has been deployed into production to successfully support large-scale DNN training.

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