Making Scalable Meta Learning Practical

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Sang Choe, Sanket Vaibhav Mehta, Hwijeen Ahn, Willie Neiswanger, Pengtao Xie, Emma Strubell, Eric Xing


Despite its flexibility to learn diverse inductive biases in machine learning programs, meta learning (i.e.,\ learning to learn) has long been recognized to suffer from poor scalability due to its tremendous compute/memory costs, training instability, and a lack of efficient distributed training support. In this work, we focus on making scalable meta learning practical by introducing SAMA, which combines advances in both implicit differentiation algorithms and systems. Specifically, SAMA is designed to flexibly support a broad range of adaptive optimizers in the base level of meta learning programs, while reducing computational burden by avoiding explicit computation of second-order gradient information, and exploiting efficient distributed training techniques implemented for first-order gradients. Evaluated on multiple large-scale meta learning benchmarks, SAMA showcases up to 1.7/4.8x increase in throughput and 2.0/3.8x decrease in memory consumption respectively on single-/multi-GPU setups compared to other baseline meta learning algorithms. Furthermore, we show that SAMA-based data optimization leads to consistent improvements in text classification accuracy with BERT and RoBERTa large language models, and achieves state-of-the-art results in both small- and large-scale data pruning on image classification tasks, demonstrating the practical applicability of scalable meta learning across language and vision domains.