Large batch size training of neural networks with adversarial training and second-order information

Zhewei Yao, Amir Gholami, Kurt Keutzer, Michael Mahoney
October 2, 2018

Abstract: Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD) methods using randomly selected batches are widely-used to train neural network (NN) models. Performing design exploration to find the best NN for a particular task often requires extensive training with different models on a large dataset, which is very computationally expensive. The most straightforward method to accelerate this computation is to distribute the batch of SGD over multiple processors. To keep the distributed processors fully utilized requires commensurately growing the batch size; however, large batch training often times leads to degradation in accuracy, poor generalization, and even poor robustness to adversarial attacks. Existing solutions for large batch training either significantly degrade accuracy or require massive hyper-parameter tuning. To address this issue, we propose a novel large batch training method which combines recent results in adversarial training (to regularize against `sharp minima') and second order optimization (to use curvature information to change batch size adaptively during training). We extensively evaluate our method on Cifar-10/100, SVHN, TinyImageNet, and ImageNet datasets, using multiple NNs, including residual networks as well as smaller networks for mobile applications such as SqueezeNext. Our new approach exceeds the performance of the existing solutions in terms of both accuracy and the number of SGD iterations (up to 1\% and 5×, respectively). We emphasize that this is achieved without any additional hyper-parameter tuning to tailor our proposed method in any of these experiments.


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Featured Fellows

Amir Gholami

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, BAIR Lab, FODA Institute

Michael Mahoney