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Workshop: Second Workshop on Efficient Natural Language and Speech Processing (ENLSP-II)

Colossal-AI: A Unified Deep Learning System For Large-Scale Parallel Training

Yang You


The Transformer architecture has improved the performance of deep learning models in domains such as Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing. Together with better performance come larger model sizes. This imposes challenges to the memory wall of the current accelerator hardware such as GPU. It is never ideal to train large models such as Vision Transformer, BERT, and GPT on a single GPU or a single machine. There is an urgent demand to train models in a distributed environment. However, distributed training, especially model parallelism, often requires domain expertise in computer systems and architecture. It remains a challenge for AI researchers to implement complex distributed training solutions for their models. To solve this problem, we introduce Colossal-AI, which is a unified parallel training system designed to seamlessly integrate different paradigms of parallelization techniques including data parallelism, pipeline parallelism, multiple tensor parallelism, and sequence parallelism. Colossal-AI aims to support the AI community to write distributed models in the same way as how they write models normally. This allows them to focus on developing the model architecture and separates the concerns of distributed training from the development process. Colossal-AI is able to achieve 2x speedup over state-of-the-art distributed systems for GPT model training. The source code can be found at this

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