Abstract: The recent trend of using large-scale deep neural networks (DNN) to boost performance has propelled the development of the parallel pipelining technique for efficient DNN training, which has resulted in the development of several prominent pipelines such as GPipe, PipeDream, and PipeDream-2BW. However, the current leading pipeline PipeDream-2BW still suffers from two major drawbacks, i.e., the excessive memory redundancy and the delayed weight updates across all stages. In this work, we propose a novel pipeline named WPipe, which achieves better memory efficiency and fresher weight updates. WPipe uses a novel pipelining scheme that divides model partitions into two groups. It moves the forward pass of the next period of weight updates to the front of the backward pass of the current period of weight updates in the first group, retains the order in the second group, and updates each group alternatively. This scheme can eliminate half of the delayed gradients and memory redundancy compared to PipeDream-2BW. The experiments, which train large BERT language models, show that compared to PipeDream-2BW, WPipe achieves $1.4\times$ acceleration and reduces the memory footprint by 36%, without nearly sacrificing any final model accuracy.
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