TY - UNPB

T1 - Asynchronous Stochastic Gradient Descent with Decoupled Backpropagation and Layer-Wise Updates

AU - Fokam, Cabrel Teguemne

AU - Nazeer, Khaleelulla Khan

AU - König, Lukas

AU - Kappel, David

AU - Subramoney, Anand

PY - 2024/10/8

Y1 - 2024/10/8

N2 - The increasing size of deep learning models has created the need for more efficient alternatives to the standard error backpropagation algorithm, that make better use of asynchronous, parallel and distributed computing. One major shortcoming of backpropagation is the interlocking between the forward phase of the algorithm, which computes a global loss, and the backward phase where the loss is backpropagated through all layers to compute the gradients, which are used to update the network parameters. To address this problem, we propose a method that parallelises SGD updates across the layers of a model by asynchronously updating them from multiple threads. Furthermore, since we observe that the forward pass is often much faster than the backward pass, we use separate threads for the forward and backward pass calculations, which allows us to use a higher ratio of forward to backward threads than the usual 1:1 ratio, reducing the overall staleness of the parameters. Thus, our approach performs asynchronous stochastic gradient descent using separate threads for the loss (forward) and gradient (backward) computations and performs layer-wise partial updates to parameters in a distributed way. We show that this approach yields close to state-of-the-art results while running up to 2.97x faster than Hogwild! scaled on multiple devices (Locally-Partitioned-Asynchronous-Parallel SGD). We theoretically prove the convergence of the algorithm using a novel theoretical framework based on stochastic differential equations and the drift diffusion process, by modeling the asynchronous parameter updates as a stochastic process.

AB - The increasing size of deep learning models has created the need for more efficient alternatives to the standard error backpropagation algorithm, that make better use of asynchronous, parallel and distributed computing. One major shortcoming of backpropagation is the interlocking between the forward phase of the algorithm, which computes a global loss, and the backward phase where the loss is backpropagated through all layers to compute the gradients, which are used to update the network parameters. To address this problem, we propose a method that parallelises SGD updates across the layers of a model by asynchronously updating them from multiple threads. Furthermore, since we observe that the forward pass is often much faster than the backward pass, we use separate threads for the forward and backward pass calculations, which allows us to use a higher ratio of forward to backward threads than the usual 1:1 ratio, reducing the overall staleness of the parameters. Thus, our approach performs asynchronous stochastic gradient descent using separate threads for the loss (forward) and gradient (backward) computations and performs layer-wise partial updates to parameters in a distributed way. We show that this approach yields close to state-of-the-art results while running up to 2.97x faster than Hogwild! scaled on multiple devices (Locally-Partitioned-Asynchronous-Parallel SGD). We theoretically prove the convergence of the algorithm using a novel theoretical framework based on stochastic differential equations and the drift diffusion process, by modeling the asynchronous parameter updates as a stochastic process.

M3 - Preprint

BT - Asynchronous Stochastic Gradient Descent with Decoupled Backpropagation and Layer-Wise Updates

ER -