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Global Momentum Compression for Sparse Communication in Distributed SGD

by   Shen-Yi Zhao, et al.
Nanjing University

With the rapid growth of data, distributed stochastic gradient descent (DSGD) has been widely used for solving large-scale machine learning problems. Due to the latency and limited bandwidth of network, communication has become the bottleneck of DSGD when we need to train large scale models, like deep neural networks. Communication compression with sparsified gradient, abbreviated as sparse communication, has been widely used for reducing communication cost in DSGD. Recently, there has appeared one method, called deep gradient compression (DGC), to combine memory gradient and momentum SGD for sparse communication. DGC has achieved promising performance in practise. However, the theory about the convergence of DGC is lack. In this paper, we propose a novel method, called global momentum compression (GMC), for sparse communication in DSGD. GMC also combines memory gradient and momentum SGD. But different from DGC which adopts local momentum, GMC adopts global momentum. We theoretically prove the convergence rate of GMC for both convex and non-convex problems. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work that proves the convergence of distributed momentum SGD (DMSGD) with sparse communication and memory gradient. Empirical results show that, compared with the DMSGD counterpart without sparse communication, GMC can reduce the communication cost by approximately 100 fold without loss of generalization accuracy. GMC can also achieve comparable (sometimes better) performance compared with DGC, with extra theoretical guarantee.


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