Multi-Level Local SGD: Distributed SGD for Heterogeneous Hierarchical Networks

Timothy Castiglia · Anirban Das · Stacy Patterson

Keywords: [ Convergence Analysis ] [ Heterogeneous ] [ Distributed ] [ Hierarchical Networks ] [ Stochastic Gradient Descent ] [ Machine Learning ] [ Federated Learning ]


We propose Multi-Level Local SGD, a distributed stochastic gradient method for learning a smooth, non-convex objective in a multi-level communication network with heterogeneous workers. Our network model consists of a set of disjoint sub-networks, with a single hub and multiple workers; further, workers may have different operating rates. The hubs exchange information with one another via a connected, but not necessarily complete communication network. In our algorithm, sub-networks execute a distributed SGD algorithm, using a hub-and-spoke paradigm, and the hubs periodically average their models with neighboring hubs. We first provide a unified mathematical framework that describes the Multi-Level Local SGD algorithm. We then present a theoretical analysis of the algorithm; our analysis shows the dependence of the convergence error on the worker node heterogeneity, hub network topology, and the number of local, sub-network, and global iterations. We illustrate the effectiveness of our algorithm in a multi-level network with slow workers via simulation-based experiments.

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