PDL Abstract

STRADS: A Distributed Framework for Scheduled Model Parallel Machine Learning

ACM European Conference on Computer Systems, 2016 (EuroSys'16), 18th-21st April, 2016, London, UK.

Jin Kyu Kim, Qirong Ho*, Seunghak Lee, Xun Zheng, Wei Dai, Garth A. Gibson, Eric P. Xing

Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

*Institute of Infocomm Research, A*STAR, Singapore

Machine learning (ML) algorithms are commonly applied to big data, using distributed systems that partition the data across machines and allow each machine to read and update all ML model parameters — a strategy known as data parallelism. An alternative and complimentary strategy, model parallelism, partitions the model parameters for non-shared parallel access and updates, and may periodically repartition the parameters to facilitate communication. Model parallelism is motivated by two challenges that data-parallelism does not usually address: (1) parameters may be dependent, thus naive concurrent updates can introduce errors that slow convergence or even cause algorithm failure; (2) model parameters converge at different rates, thus a small subset of parameters can bottleneck ML algorithm completion. We propose scheduled model parallelism (SchMP), a programming approach that improves ML algorithm convergence speed by efficiently scheduling parameter updates, taking into account parameter dependencies and uneven convergence. To support SchMP at scale, we develop a distributed framework STRADS which optimizes the throughput of SchMP programs, and benchmark four common ML applications written as SchMP programs: LDA topic modeling, matrix factorization, sparse least-squares (Lasso) regression and sparse logistic regression. By improving ML progress per iteration through SchMP programming whilst improving iteration throughput through STRADS we show that SchMP programs running on STRADS outperform nonmodel-parallel ML implementations: for example, SchMP LDA and SchMP Lasso respectively achieve 10x and 5x faster convergence than recent, well-established baselines.