Building a scalable and real-time recommendation system is vital for many businesses driven by time-sensitive customer feedback, such as short-videos ranking or online ads. Despite the ubiquitous adoption of production-scale deep learning frameworks like TensorFlow or PyTorch, these general-purpose frameworks fall short of business demands in recommendation scenarios for various reasons: on one hand, tweaking systems based on static parameters and dense computations for recommendation with dynamic and sparse features is detrimental to model quality; on the other hand, such frameworks are designed with batch-training stage and serving stage completely separated, preventing the model from interacting with customer feedback in real-time. These issues led us to reexamine traditional approaches and explore radically different design choices. In this paper, we present Monolith, a system tailored for online training. Our design has been driven by observations of our application workloads and production environment that reflects a marked departure from other recommendations systems. Our contributions are manifold: first, we crafted a collisionless embedding table with optimizations such as expirable embeddings and frequency filtering to reduce its memory footprint; second, we provide an production-ready online training architecture with high fault-tolerance; finally, we proved that system reliability could be traded-off for real-time learning. Monolith has successfully landed in the BytePlus Recommend product.
The click-through rate (CTR) prediction task is to predict whether a user will click on the recommended item. As mind-boggling amounts of data are produced online daily, accelerating CTR prediction model training is critical to ensuring an up-to-date model and reducing the training cost. One approach to increase the training speed is to apply large batch training. However, as shown in computer vision and natural language processing tasks, training with a large batch easily suffers from the loss of accuracy. Our experiments show that previous scaling rules fail in the training of CTR prediction neural networks. To tackle this problem, we first theoretically show that different frequencies of ids make it challenging to scale hyperparameters when scaling the batch size. To stabilize the training process in a large batch size setting, we develop the adaptive Column-wise Clipping (CowClip). It enables an easy and effective scaling rule for the embeddings, which keeps the learning rate unchanged and scales the L2 loss. We conduct extensive experiments with four CTR prediction networks on two real-world datasets and successfully scaled 128 times the original batch size without accuracy loss. In particular, for CTR prediction model DeepFM training on the Criteo dataset, our optimization framework enlarges the batch size from 1K to 128K with over 0.1% AUC improvement and reduces training time from 12 hours to 10 minutes on a single V100 GPU. Our code locates at https://github.com/bytedance/LargeBatchCTR.
Feature selection has been an essential step in developing industry-scale deep Click-Through Rate (CTR) prediction systems. The goal of neural feature selection (NFS) is to choose a relatively small subset of features with the best explanatory power as a means to remove redundant features and reduce computational cost. Inspired by gradient-based neural architecture search (NAS) and network pruning methods, people have tackled the NFS problem with Gating approach that inserts a set of differentiable binary gates to drop less informative features. The binary gates are optimized along with the network parameters in an efficient end-to-end manner. In this paper, we analyze the gradient-based solution from an exploration-exploitation perspective and use empirical results to show that Gating approach might suffer from insufficient exploration. To improve the exploration capacity of gradient-based solutions, we propose a simple but effective ensemble learning approach, named Ensemble Gating. We choose two public datasets, namely Avazu and Criteo, to evaluate this approach. Our experiments show that, without adding any computational overhead or introducing any hyper-parameter (except the size of the ensemble), our method is able to consistently improve Gating approach and find a better subset of features on the two datasets with three different underlying deep CTR prediction models.
Crowdsourcing has emerged as a popular approach for collecting annotated data to train supervised machine learning models. However, annotator bias can lead to defective annotations. Though there are a few works investigating individual annotator bias, the group effects in annotators are largely overlooked. In this work, we reveal that annotators within the same demographic group tend to show consistent group bias in annotation tasks and thus we conduct an initial study on annotator group bias. We first empirically verify the existence of annotator group bias in various real-world crowdsourcing datasets. Then, we develop a novel probabilistic graphical framework GroupAnno to capture annotator group bias with a new extended Expectation Maximization (EM) training algorithm. We conduct experiments on both synthetic and real-world datasets. Experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of our model in modeling annotator group bias in label aggregation and model learning over competitive baselines.
We introduce "talking-heads attention" - a variation on multi-head attention which includes linearprojections across the attention-heads dimension, immediately before and after the softmax operation.While inserting only a small number of additional parameters and a moderate amount of additionalcomputation, talking-heads attention leads to better perplexities on masked language modeling tasks, aswell as better quality when transfer-learning to language comprehension and question answering tasks.
Medical images such as 3D computerized tomography (CT) scans and pathology images, have hundreds of millions or billions of voxels/pixels. It is infeasible to train CNN models directly on such high resolution images, because neural activations of a single image do not fit in the memory of a single GPU/TPU, and naive data and model parallelism approaches do not work. Existing image analysis approaches alleviate this problem by cropping or down-sampling input images, which leads to complicated implementation and sub-optimal performance due to information loss. In this paper, we implement spatial partitioning, which internally distributes the input and output of convolutional layers across GPUs/TPUs. Our implementation is based on the Mesh-TensorFlow framework and the computation distribution is transparent to end users. With this technique, we train a 3D Unet on up to 512 by 512 by 512 resolution data. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work for handling such high resolution images end-to-end.
Lingvo is a Tensorflow framework offering a complete solution for collaborative deep learning research, with a particular focus towards sequence-to-sequence models. Lingvo models are composed of modular building blocks that are flexible and easily extensible, and experiment configurations are centralized and highly customizable. Distributed training and quantized inference are supported directly within the framework, and it contains existing implementations of a large number of utilities, helper functions, and the newest research ideas. Lingvo has been used in collaboration by dozens of researchers in more than 20 papers over the last two years. This document outlines the underlying design of Lingvo and serves as an introduction to the various pieces of the framework, while also offering examples of advanced features that showcase the capabilities of the framework.
Deep learning is extremely computationally intensive, and hardware vendors have responded by building faster accelerators in large clusters. Training deep learning models at petaFLOPS scale requires overcoming both algorithmic and systems software challenges. In this paper, we discuss three systems-related optimizations: (1) distributed batch normalization to control per-replica batch sizes, (2) input pipeline optimizations to sustain model throughput, and (3) 2-D torus all-reduce to speed up gradient summation. We combine these optimizations to train ResNet-50 on ImageNet to 76.3% accuracy in 2.2 minutes on a 1024-chip TPU v3 Pod with a training throughput of over 1.05 million images/second and no accuracy drop.
* Presented as part of Systems for ML Workshop @ NIPS 2018