U.S. Department of Energy

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Adaptive Neuron Apoptosis for Accelerating Deep Learning on Large Scale Systems

Publish Date: 
Monday, December 5, 2016
Machine Learning and Data Mining (MLDM) algorithms are becoming ubiquitous in {\em model learning} from the large volume of data generated using simulations, experiments and handheld devices. Deep Learning algorithms -- a class of MLDM algorithms -- are applied for automatic feature extraction, and learning non-linear models for unsupervised and supervised algorithms. Naturally, several libraries which support large scale Deep Learning -- such as TensorFlow and Caffe -- have become popular. In this paper, we present novel techniques to accelerate the convergence of Deep Learning algorithms by conducting low overhead removal of redundant neurons -- {\em apoptosis} of neurons -- which do not contribute to model learning, during the training phase itself. We provide in-depth theoretical underpinnings of our heuristics (bounding accuracy loss and handling apoptosis of several neuron types), and present the methods to conduct adaptive neuron apoptosis. We implement our proposed heuristics with the recently introduced TensorFlow and using its recently proposed extension with MPI. Our performance evaluation on two difference clusters -- one connected with Intel Haswell multi-core systems, and other with nVIDIA GPUs -- using InfiniBand, indicates the efficacy of the proposed heuristics and implementations. Specifically, we are able to improve the training time for several datasets by 2-3x, while reducing the number of parameters by 30x (4-5x on average) on datasets such as ImageNet classification. For the Higgs Boson dataset, our implementation improves the accuracy (measured by Area Under Curve (AUC)) for classification from 0.88/1 to 0.94/1, while reducing the number of parameters by 3x in comparison to existing literature, while achieving a 2.44x speedup in comparison to the default (no apoptosis) algorithm.
Siegel C.M., J.A. Daily, and A. Vishnu. 2017. "Adaptive Neuron Apoptosis for Accelerating Deep Learning on Large Scale Systems." In IEEE International Conference on Big Data (Big Data 2016), December 5-8, 2016, Washington DC, 753-762. Piscataway, New Jersey:IEEE. PNNL-SA-120738. doi:10.1109/BigData.2016.7840668
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