Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)
Max Ryabinin, Anton Gusev
Many recent breakthroughs in deep learning were achieved by training increasingly larger models on massive datasets. However, training such models can be prohibitively expensive. For instance, the cluster used to train GPT-3 costs over $250 million. As a result, most researchers cannot afford to train state of the art models and contribute to their development. Hypothetically, a researcher could crowdsource the training of large neural networks with thousands of regular PCs provided by volunteers. The raw computing power of a hundred thousand $2500 desktops dwarfs that of a $250M server pod, but one cannot utilize that power efficiently with conventional distributed training methods. In this work, we propose Learning@home: a novel neural network training paradigm designed to handle large amounts of poorly connected participants. We analyze the performance, reliability, and architectural constraints of this paradigm and compare it against existing distributed training techniques.