Faster Neural Network Training with Approximate Tensor Operations

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Menachem Adelman, Kfir Levy, Ido Hakimi, Mark Silberstein


We propose a novel technique for faster deep neural network training which systematically applies sample-based approximation to the constituent tensor operations, i.e., matrix multiplications and convolutions. We introduce new sampling techniques, study their theoretical properties, and prove that they provide the same convergence guarantees when applied to SGD training. We apply approximate tensor operations to single and multi-node training of MLP and CNN networks on MNIST, CIFAR-10 and ImageNet datasets. We demonstrate up to 66% reduction in the amount of computations and communication, and up to 1.37x faster training time while maintaining negligible or no impact on the final test accuracy.