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Pre-RMSNorm and Pre-CRMSNorm Transformers: Equivalent and Efficient Pre-LN Transformers

Zixuan Jiang · Jiaqi Gu · Hanqing Zhu · David Pan

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #706
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[ Paper [ Poster [ OpenReview
Thu 14 Dec 3 p.m. PST — 5 p.m. PST


Transformers have achieved great success in machine learning applications.Normalization techniques, such as Layer Normalization (LayerNorm, LN) and Root Mean Square Normalization (RMSNorm), play a critical role in accelerating and stabilizing the training of Transformers.While LayerNorm recenters and rescales input vectors, RMSNorm only rescales the vectors by their RMS value.Despite being more computationally efficient, RMSNorm may compromise the representation ability of Transformers.There is currently no consensus regarding the preferred normalization technique, as some models employ LayerNorm while others utilize RMSNorm, especially in recent large language models.It is challenging to convert Transformers with one normalization to the other type.While there is an ongoing disagreement between the two normalization types,we propose a solution to unify two mainstream Transformer architectures, Pre-LN and Pre-RMSNorm Transformers.By removing the inherent redundant mean information in the main branch of Pre-LN Transformers, we can reduce LayerNorm to RMSNorm, achieving higher efficiency.We further propose the Compressed RMSNorm (CRMSNorm) and Pre-CRMSNorm Transformer based on a lossless compression of the zero-mean vectors.We formally establish the equivalence of Pre-LN, Pre-RMSNorm, and Pre-CRMSNorm Transformer variants in both training and inference.It implies that Pre-LN Transformers can be substituted with Pre-(C)RMSNorm counterparts at almost no cost, offering the same arithmetic functionality along with free efficiency improvement.Experiments demonstrate that we can reduce the training and inference time of Pre-LN Transformers by 1% - 10%.

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