Let Your Cores Run Wild!: Avoiding Coordination In Parallel ML

Speaker: Dimitris Papailiopoulos
UC Berkeley

Venue: Packard 101
Time: 4:15 pm to 5:15 pm
Date: Thursday, May 26, 2016


I will discuss strategies to gracefully scale machine learning on modern parallel computational platforms. A common approach to such scaling is coordination-free parallel algorithms, where individual processors run independently without communication, thus maximizing the time they compute. However, analyzing the performance of these algorithms can be challenging, as they often introduce race conditions and synchronization problems.

In this talk, I will introduce a general methodology for analyzing asynchronous parallel algorithms. The key idea is to model the effects of core asynchrony as noise in the algorithmic input. This allows us to understand the performance of several popular asynchronous machine learning approaches, and to determine when asynchrony effects might overwhelm them. To overcome these effects, I will propose a new framework for parallelizing ML algorithms, where all memory conflicts and race conditions can be completely avoided. I will discuss the implementation of these ideas in practice, and demonstrate that they outperform the state-of-the-art across several machine learning tasks.

Speaker Bio

Dimitris Papailiopoulos is a postdoctoral researcher in EECS at UC Berkeley and a member of the AMPLab. His research interests span machine learning, coding theory, and parallel and distributed algorithms, with a current focus on coordination-free parallel machine learning and the use of erasure codes to speed up distributed computation pipelines. Dimitris earned his Ph.D. in ECE from UT Austin in 2014, under the supervision of Alex Dimakis. In 2015, he received the IEEE Signal Processing Society, Young Author Best Paper Award.