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.
We introduce PaLM 2, a new state-of-the-art language model that has better multilingual and reasoning capabilities and is more compute-efficient than its predecessor PaLM. PaLM 2 is a Transformer-based model trained using a mixture of objectives. Through extensive evaluations on English and multilingual language, and reasoning tasks, we demonstrate that PaLM 2 has significantly improved quality on downstream tasks across different model sizes, while simultaneously exhibiting faster and more efficient inference compared to PaLM. This improved efficiency enables broader deployment while also allowing the model to respond faster, for a more natural pace of interaction. PaLM 2 demonstrates robust reasoning capabilities exemplified by large improvements over PaLM on BIG-Bench and other reasoning tasks. PaLM 2 exhibits stable performance on a suite of responsible AI evaluations, and enables inference-time control over toxicity without additional overhead or impact on other capabilities. Overall, PaLM 2 achieves state-of-the-art performance across a diverse set of tasks and capabilities. When discussing the PaLM 2 family, it is important to distinguish between pre-trained models (of various sizes), fine-tuned variants of these models, and the user-facing products that use these models. In particular, user-facing products typically include additional pre- and post-processing steps. Additionally, the underlying models may evolve over time. Therefore, one should not expect the performance of user-facing products to exactly match the results reported in this report.
Neural kernels have drastically increased performance on diverse and nonstandard data modalities but require significantly more compute, which previously limited their application to smaller datasets. In this work, we address this by massively parallelizing their computation across many GPUs. We combine this with a distributed, preconditioned conjugate gradients algorithm to enable kernel regression at a large scale (i.e. up to five million examples). Using this approach, we study scaling laws of several neural kernels across many orders of magnitude for the CIFAR-5m dataset. Using data augmentation to expand the original CIFAR-10 training dataset by a factor of 20, we obtain a test accuracy of 91.2\% (SotA for a pure kernel method). Moreover, we explore neural kernels on other data modalities, obtaining results on protein and small molecule prediction tasks that are competitive with SotA methods.
Bayesian deep learning seeks to equip deep neural networks with the ability to precisely quantify their predictive uncertainty, and has promised to make deep learning more reliable for safety-critical real-world applications. Yet, existing Bayesian deep learning methods fall short of this promise; new methods continue to be evaluated on unrealistic test beds that do not reflect the complexities of downstream real-world tasks that would benefit most from reliable uncertainty quantification. We propose the RETINA Benchmark, a set of real-world tasks that accurately reflect such complexities and are designed to assess the reliability of predictive models in safety-critical scenarios. Specifically, we curate two publicly available datasets of high-resolution human retina images exhibiting varying degrees of diabetic retinopathy, a medical condition that can lead to blindness, and use them to design a suite of automated diagnosis tasks that require reliable predictive uncertainty quantification. We use these tasks to benchmark well-established and state-of-the-art Bayesian deep learning methods on task-specific evaluation metrics. We provide an easy-to-use codebase for fast and easy benchmarking following reproducibility and software design principles. We provide implementations of all methods included in the benchmark as well as results computed over 100 TPU days, 20 GPU days, 400 hyperparameter configurations, and evaluation on at least 6 random seeds each.
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.
A recent trend in artificial intelligence is the use of pretrained models for language and vision tasks, which have achieved extraordinary performance but also puzzling failures. Probing these models' abilities in diverse ways is therefore critical to the field. In this paper, we explore the reliability of models, where we define a reliable model as one that not only achieves strong predictive performance but also performs well consistently over many decision-making tasks involving uncertainty (e.g., selective prediction, open set recognition), robust generalization (e.g., accuracy and proper scoring rules such as log-likelihood on in- and out-of-distribution datasets), and adaptation (e.g., active learning, few-shot uncertainty). We devise 10 types of tasks over 40 datasets in order to evaluate different aspects of reliability on both vision and language domains. To improve reliability, we developed ViT-Plex and T5-Plex, pretrained large model extensions for vision and language modalities, respectively. Plex greatly improves the state-of-the-art across reliability tasks, and simplifies the traditional protocol as it improves the out-of-the-box performance and does not require designing scores or tuning the model for each task. We demonstrate scaling effects over model sizes up to 1B parameters and pretraining dataset sizes up to 4B examples. We also demonstrate Plex's capabilities on challenging tasks including zero-shot open set recognition, active learning, and uncertainty in conversational language understanding.
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.
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.
In this work, we study the evolution of the loss Hessian across many classification tasks in order to understand the effect the curvature of the loss has on the training dynamics. Whereas prior work has focused on how different learning rates affect the loss Hessian observed during training, we also analyze the effects of model initialization, architectural choices, and common training heuristics such as gradient clipping and learning rate warmup. Our results demonstrate that successful model and hyperparameter choices allow the early optimization trajectory to either avoid -- or navigate out of -- regions of high curvature and into flatter regions that tolerate a higher learning rate. Our results suggest a unifying perspective on how disparate mitigation strategies for training instability ultimately address the same underlying failure mode of neural network optimization, namely poor conditioning. Inspired by the conditioning perspective, we show that learning rate warmup can improve training stability just as much as batch normalization, layer normalization, MetaInit, GradInit, and Fixup initialization.
High-quality estimates of uncertainty and robustness are crucial for numerous real-world applications, especially for deep learning which underlies many deployed ML systems. The ability to compare techniques for improving these estimates is therefore very important for research and practice alike. Yet, competitive comparisons of methods are often lacking due to a range of reasons, including: compute availability for extensive tuning, incorporation of sufficiently many baselines, and concrete documentation for reproducibility. In this paper we introduce Uncertainty Baselines: high-quality implementations of standard and state-of-the-art deep learning methods on a variety of tasks. As of this writing, the collection spans 19 methods across 9 tasks, each with at least 5 metrics. Each baseline is a self-contained experiment pipeline with easily reusable and extendable components. Our goal is to provide immediate starting points for experimentation with new methods or applications. Additionally we provide model checkpoints, experiment outputs as Python notebooks, and leaderboards for comparing results. Code available at https://github.com/google/uncertainty-baselines.