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Distributed Learning With Sparsified Gradient Differences

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

A very large number of communications are typically required to solve distributed learning tasks, and this critically limits scalability and convergence speed in wireless communications applications. In this paper, we devise a Gradient Descent method with Sparsification and Error Correction (GD-SEC) to improve the communications efficiency in a general worker-server architecture. Motivated by a variety of wireless communications learning scenarios, GD-SEC reduces the number of bits per communication from worker to server with no degradation in the order of the convergence rate. This enables larger-scale model learning without sacrificing convergence or accuracy. At each iteration of GD-SEC, instead of directly transmitting the entire gradient vector, each worker computes the difference between its current gradient and a linear combination of its previously transmitted gradients, and then transmits the sparsified gradient difference to the server. A key feature of GD-SEC is that any given component of the gradient difference vector will not be transmitted if its magnitude is not sufficiently large. An error correction technique is used at each worker to compensate for the error resulting from sparsification. We prove that GD-SEC is guaranteed to converge for strongly convex, convex, and nonconvex optimization problems with the same order of convergence rate as GD. Furthermore, if the objective function is strongly convex, GD-SEC has a fast linear convergence rate. Numerical results not only validate the convergence rate of GD-SEC but also explore the communication bit savings it provides. Given a target accuracy, GD-SEC can significantly reduce the communications load compared to the best existing algorithms without slowing down the optimization process.


Communication Efficient Federated Learning via Ordered ADMM in a Fully Decentralized Setting

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The challenge of communication-efficient distributed optimization has attracted attention in recent years. In this paper, a communication efficient algorithm, called ordering-based alternating direction method of multipliers (OADMM) is devised in a general fully decentralized network setting where a worker can only exchange messages with neighbors. Compared to the classical ADMM, a key feature of OADMM is that transmissions are ordered among workers at each iteration such that a worker with the most informative data broadcasts its local variable to neighbors first, and neighbors who have not transmitted yet can update their local variables based on that received transmission. In OADMM, we prohibit workers from transmitting if their current local variables are not sufficiently different from their previously transmitted value. A variant of OADMM, called SOADMM, is proposed where transmissions are ordered but transmissions are never stopped for each node at each iteration. Numerical results demonstrate that given a targeted accuracy, OADMM can significantly reduce the number of communications compared to existing algorithms including ADMM. We also show numerically that SOADMM can accelerate convergence, resulting in communication savings compared to the classical ADMM.


Communication-Efficient Distributed Learning via Lazily Aggregated Quantized Gradients

Neural Information Processing Systems

The present paper develops a novel aggregated gradient approach for distributed machine learning that adaptively compresses the gradient communication. The key idea is to first quantize the computed gradients, and then skip less informative quantized gradient communications by reusing outdated gradients. Quantizing and skipping result in'lazy' worker-server communications, which justifies the term Lazily Aggregated Quantized gradient that is henceforth abbreviated as LAQ. Our LAQ can provably attain the same linear convergence rate as the gradient descent in the strongly convex case, while effecting major savings in the communication overhead both in transmitted bits as well as in communication rounds. Empirically, experiments with real data corroborate a significant communication reduction compared to existing gradient- and stochastic gradient-based algorithms.


Learned Gradient Compression for Distributed Deep Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Training deep neural networks on large datasets containing high-dimensional data requires a large amount of computation. A solution to this problem is data-parallel distributed training, where a model is replicated into several computational nodes that have access to different chunks of the data. This approach, however, entails high communication rates and latency because of the computed gradients that need to be shared among nodes at every iteration. The problem becomes more pronounced in the case that there is wireless communication between the nodes (i.e. due to the limited network bandwidth). To address this problem, various compression methods have been proposed including sparsification, quantization, and entropy encoding of the gradients. Existing methods leverage the intra-node information redundancy, that is, they compress gradients at each node independently. In contrast, we advocate that the gradients across the nodes are correlated and propose methods to leverage this inter-node redundancy to improve compression efficiency. Depending on the node communication protocol (parameter server or ring-allreduce), we propose two instances of the LGC approach that we coin Learned Gradient Compression (LGC). Our methods exploit an autoencoder (i.e. trained during the first stages of the distributed training) to capture the common information that exists in the gradients of the distributed nodes. We have tested our LGC methods on the image classification and semantic segmentation tasks using different convolutional neural networks (ResNet50, ResNet101, PSPNet) and multiple datasets (ImageNet, Cifar10, CamVid). The ResNet101 model trained for image classification on Cifar10 achieved an accuracy of 93.57%, which is lower than the baseline distributed training with uncompressed gradients only by 0.18%.


Gradient Sparsification for Communication-Efficient Distributed Optimization

Neural Information Processing Systems

Modern large-scale machine learning applications require stochastic optimization algorithms to be implemented on distributed computational architectures. A key bottleneck is the communication overhead for exchanging information such as stochastic gradients among different workers. In this paper, to reduce the communication cost, we propose a convex optimization formulation to minimize the coding length of stochastic gradients. The key idea is to randomly drop out coordinates of the stochastic gradient vectors and amplify the remaining coordinates appropriately to ensure the sparsified gradient to be unbiased. To solve the optimal sparsification efficiently, several simple and fast algorithms are proposed for an approximate solution, with a theoretical guarantee for sparseness. Experiments on $\ell_2$ regularized logistic regression, support vector machines, and convolutional neural networks validate our sparsification approaches.