Training algorithms, broadly construed, are an essential part of every deep learning pipeline. Training algorithm improvements that speed up training across a wide variety of workloads (e.g., better update rules, tuning protocols, learning rate schedules, or data selection schemes) could save time, save computational resources, and lead to better, more accurate, models. Unfortunately, as a community, we are currently unable to reliably identify training algorithm improvements, or even determine the state-of-the-art training algorithm. In this work, using concrete experiments, we argue that real progress in speeding up training requires new benchmarks that resolve three basic challenges faced by empirical comparisons of training algorithms: (1) how to decide when training is complete and precisely measure training time, (2) how to handle the sensitivity of measurements to exact workload details, and (3) how to fairly compare algorithms that require hyperparameter tuning. In order to address these challenges, we introduce a new, competitive, time-to-result benchmark using multiple workloads running on fixed hardware, the AlgoPerf: Training Algorithms benchmark. Our benchmark includes a set of workload variants that make it possible to detect benchmark submissions that are more robust to workload changes than current widely-used methods. Finally, we evaluate baseline submissions constructed using various optimizers that represent current practice, as well as other optimizers that have recently received attention in the literature. These baseline results collectively demonstrate the feasibility of our benchmark, show that non-trivial gaps between methods exist, and set a provisional state-of-the-art for future benchmark submissions to try and surpass.
Very little is known about the training dynamics of adaptive gradient methods like Adam in deep learning. In this paper, we shed light on the behavior of these algorithms in the full-batch and sufficiently large batch settings. Specifically, we empirically demonstrate that during full-batch training, the maximum eigenvalue of the preconditioned Hessian typically equilibrates at a certain numerical value -- the stability threshold of a gradient descent algorithm. For Adam with step size $\eta$ and $\beta_1 = 0.9$, this stability threshold is $38/\eta$. Similar effects occur during minibatch training, especially as the batch size grows. Yet, even though adaptive methods train at the ``Adaptive Edge of Stability'' (AEoS), their behavior in this regime differs in a significant way from that of non-adaptive methods at the EoS. Whereas non-adaptive algorithms at the EoS are blocked from entering high-curvature regions of the loss landscape, adaptive gradient methods at the AEoS can keep advancing into high-curvature regions, while adapting the preconditioner to compensate. Our findings can serve as a foundation for the community's future understanding of adaptive gradient methods in deep learning.
Bayesian optimization (BO) has become a popular strategy for global optimization of many expensive real-world functions. Contrary to a common belief that BO is suited to optimizing black-box functions, it actually requires domain knowledge on characteristics of those functions to deploy BO successfully. Such domain knowledge often manifests in Gaussian process priors that specify initial beliefs on functions. However, even with expert knowledge, it is not an easy task to select a prior. This is especially true for hyperparameter tuning problems on complex machine learning models, where landscapes of tuning objectives are often difficult to comprehend. We seek an alternative practice for setting these functional priors. In particular, we consider the scenario where we have data from similar functions that allow us to pre-train a tighter distribution a priori. To verify our approach in realistic model training setups, we collected a large multi-task hyperparameter tuning dataset by training tens of thousands of configurations of near-state-of-the-art models on popular image and text datasets, as well as a protein sequence dataset. Our results show that on average, our method is able to locate good hyperparameters at least 3 times more efficiently than the best competing methods.
* ICML2022 Workshop on Adaptive Experimental Design and Active Learning
in the Real World. arXiv admin note: substantial text overlap with
Despite considerable progress in maternal healthcare, maternal and perinatal deaths remain high in low-to-middle income countries. Fetal ultrasound is an important component of antenatal care, but shortage of adequately trained healthcare workers has limited its adoption. We developed and validated an artificial intelligence (AI) system that uses novice-acquired "blind sweep" ultrasound videos to estimate gestational age (GA) and fetal malpresentation. We further addressed obstacles that may be encountered in low-resourced settings. Using a simplified sweep protocol with real-time AI feedback on sweep quality, we have demonstrated the generalization of model performance to minimally trained novice ultrasound operators using low cost ultrasound devices with on-device AI integration. The GA model was non-inferior to standard fetal biometry estimates with as few as two sweeps, and the fetal malpresentation model had high AUC-ROCs across operators and devices. Our AI models have the potential to assist in upleveling the capabilities of lightly trained ultrasound operators in low resource settings.
Black box optimization requires specifying a search space to explore for solutions, e.g. a d-dimensional compact space, and this choice is critical for getting the best results at a reasonable budget. Unfortunately, determining a high quality search space can be challenging in many applications. For example, when tuning hyperparameters for machine learning pipelines on a new problem given a limited budget, one must strike a balance between excluding potentially promising regions and keeping the search space small enough to be tractable. The goal of this work is to motivate -- through example applications in tuning deep neural networks -- the problem of predicting the quality of search spaces conditioned on budgets, as well as to provide a simple scoring method based on a utility function applied to a probabilistic response surface model, similar to Bayesian optimization. We show that the method we present can compute meaningful budget-conditional scores in a variety of situations. We also provide experimental evidence that accurate scores can be useful in constructing and pruning search spaces. Ultimately, we believe scoring search spaces should become standard practice in the experimental workflow for deep learning.
The performance of deep neural networks can be highly sensitive to the choice of a variety of meta-parameters, such as optimizer parameters and model hyperparameters. Tuning these well, however, often requires extensive and costly experimentation. Bayesian optimization (BO) is a principled approach to solve such expensive hyperparameter tuning problems efficiently. Key to the performance of BO is specifying and refining a distribution over functions, which is used to reason about the optima of the underlying function being optimized. In this work, we consider the scenario where we have data from similar functions that allows us to specify a tighter distribution a priori. Specifically, we focus on the common but potentially costly task of tuning optimizer parameters for training neural networks. Building on the meta BO method from Wang et al. (2018), we develop practical improvements that (a) boost its performance by leveraging tuning results on multiple tasks without requiring observations for the same meta-parameter points across all tasks, and (b) retain its regret bound for a special case of our method. As a result, we provide a coherent BO solution for iterative optimization of continuous optimizer parameters. To verify our approach in realistic model training setups, we collected a large multi-task hyperparameter tuning dataset by training tens of thousands of configurations of near-state-of-the-art models on popular image and text datasets, as well as a protein sequence dataset. Our results show that on average, our method is able to locate good hyperparameters at least 3 times more efficiently than the best competing methods.
Evaluation for many natural language understanding (NLU) tasks is broken: Unreliable and biased systems score so highly on standard benchmarks that there is little room for researchers who develop better systems to demonstrate their improvements. The recent trend to abandon IID benchmarks in favor of adversarially-constructed, out-of-distribution test sets ensures that current models will perform poorly, but ultimately only obscures the abilities that we want our benchmarks to measure. In this position paper, we lay out four criteria that we argue NLU benchmarks should meet. We argue most current benchmarks fail at these criteria, and that adversarial data collection does not meaningfully address the causes of these failures. Instead, restoring a healthy evaluation ecosystem will require significant progress in the design of benchmark datasets, the reliability with which they are annotated, their size, and the ways they handle social bias.
Recently the LARS and LAMB optimizers have been proposed for training neural networks faster using large batch sizes. LARS and LAMB add layer-wise normalization to the update rules of Heavy-ball momentum and Adam, respectively, and have become popular in prominent benchmarks and deep learning libraries. However, without fair comparisons to standard optimizers, it remains an open question whether LARS and LAMB have any benefit over traditional, generic algorithms. In this work we demonstrate that standard optimization algorithms such as Nesterov momentum and Adam can match or exceed the results of LARS and LAMB at large batch sizes. Our results establish new, stronger baselines for future comparisons at these batch sizes and shed light on the difficulties of comparing optimizers for neural network training more generally.
Selecting an optimizer is a central step in the contemporary deep learning pipeline. In this paper, we demonstrate the sensitivity of optimizer comparisons to the metaparameter tuning protocol. Our findings suggest that the metaparameter search space may be the single most important factor explaining the rankings obtained by recent empirical comparisons in the literature. In fact, we show that these results can be contradicted when metaparameter search spaces are changed. As tuning effort grows without bound, more general optimizers should never underperform the ones they can approximate (i.e., Adam should never perform worse than momentum), but recent attempts to compare optimizers either assume these inclusion relationships are not practically relevant or restrict the metaparameters in ways that break the inclusions. In our experiments, we find that inclusion relationships between optimizers matter in practice and always predict optimizer comparisons. In particular, we find that the popular adaptive gradient methods never underperform momentum or gradient descent. We also report practical tips around tuning often ignored metaparameters of adaptive gradient methods and raise concerns about fairly benchmarking optimizers for neural network training.