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Dynamic Sparse Training with Structured Sparsity

Mike Lasby · Anna Golubeva · Utku Evci · Mihai Nica · Yani Ioannou

Halle B #47
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Tue 7 May 7:30 a.m. PDT — 9:30 a.m. PDT


Dynamic Sparse Training (DST) methods achieve state-of-the-art results in sparse neural network training, matching the generalization of dense models while enabling sparse training and inference. Although the resulting models are highly sparse and theoretically less computationally expensive, achieving speedups with unstructured sparsity on real-world hardware is challenging. In this work, we propose a sparse-to-sparse DST method, Structured RigL (SRigL), to learn a variant of fine-grained structured N:M sparsity by imposing a constant fan-in constraint. Using our empirical analysis of existing DST methods at high sparsity, we additionally employ a neuron ablation method which enables SRigL to achieve state-of-the-art sparse-to-sparse structured DST performance on a variety of Neural Network (NN) architectures. Using a 90% sparse linear layer, we demonstrate a real-world acceleration of 3.4×/2.5× on CPU for online inference and 1.7×/13.0× on GPU for inference with a batch size of 256 when compared to equivalent dense/unstructured (CSR) sparse layers, respectively.

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