Deep Learning Recommendation Models (DLRM) are widespread, account for a considerable data center footprint, and grow by more than 1.5x per year. With model size soon to be in terabytes range, leveraging Storage ClassMemory (SCM) for inference enables lower power consumption and cost. This paper evaluates the major challenges in extending the memory hierarchy to SCM for DLRM, and presents different techniques to improve performance through a Software Defined Memory. We show how underlying technologies such as Nand Flash and 3DXP differentiate, and relate to real world scenarios, enabling from 5% to 29% power savings.
Tremendous success of machine learning (ML) and the unabated growth in ML model complexity motivated many ML-specific designs in both CPU and accelerator architectures to speed up the model inference. While these architectures are diverse, highly optimized low-precision arithmetic is a component shared by most. Impressive compute throughputs are indeed often exhibited by these architectures on benchmark ML models. Nevertheless, production models such as recommendation systems important to Facebook's personalization services are demanding and complex: These systems must serve billions of users per month responsively with low latency while maintaining high prediction accuracy, notwithstanding computations with many tens of billions parameters per inference. Do these low-precision architectures work well with our production recommendation systems? They do. But not without significant effort. We share in this paper our search strategies to adapt reference recommendation models to low-precision hardware, our optimization of low-precision compute kernels, and the design and development of tool chain so as to maintain our models' accuracy throughout their lifespan during which topic trends and users' interests inevitably evolve. Practicing these low-precision technologies helped us save datacenter capacities while deploying models with up to 5X complexity that would otherwise not be deployed on traditional general-purpose CPUs. We believe these lessons from the trenches promote better co-design between hardware architecture and software engineering and advance the state of the art of ML in industry.
Continuous representations have been widely adopted in recommender systems where a large number of entities are represented using embedding vectors. As the cardinality of the entities increases, the embedding components can easily contain millions of parameters and become the bottleneck in both storage and inference due to large memory consumption. This work focuses on post-training 4-bit quantization on the continuous embeddings. We propose row-wise uniform quantization with greedy search and codebook-based quantization that consistently outperforms state-of-the-art quantization approaches on reducing accuracy degradation. We deploy our uniform quantization technique on a production model in Facebook and demonstrate that it can reduce the model size to only 13.89% of the single-precision version while the model quality stays neutral.
This paper presents the first comprehensive empirical study demonstrating the efficacy of the Brain Floating Point (BFLOAT16) half-precision format for Deep Learning training across image classification, speech recognition, language modeling, generative networks and industrial recommendation systems. BFLOAT16 is attractive for Deep Learning training for two reasons: the range of values it can represent is the same as that of IEEE 754 floating-point format (FP32) and conversion to/from FP32 is simple. Maintaining the same range as FP32 is important to ensure that no hyper-parameter tuning is required for convergence; e.g., IEEE 754 compliant half-precision floating point (FP16) requires hyper-parameter tuning. In this paper, we discuss the flow of tensors and various key operations in mixed precision training, and delve into details of operations, such as the rounding modes for converting FP32 tensors to BFLOAT16. We have implemented a method to emulate BFLOAT16 operations in Tensorflow, Caffe2, IntelCaffe, and Neon for our experiments. Our results show that deep learning training using BFLOAT16 tensors achieves the same state-of-the-art (SOTA) results across domains as FP32 tensors in the same number of iterations and with no changes to hyper-parameters.
The application of deep learning techniques resulted in remarkable improvement of machine learning models. In this paper provides detailed characterizations of deep learning models used in many Facebook social network services. We present computational characteristics of our models, describe high performance optimizations targeting existing systems, point out their limitations and make suggestions for the future general-purpose/accelerated inference hardware. Also, we highlight the need for better co-design of algorithms, numerics and computing platforms to address the challenges of workloads often run in data centers.