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Title: An elastic, parallel and distributed computing architecture for machine learning
Author: Li, Anthony Zhenyu
ISNI:       0000 0004 9358 0752
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2019
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Machine learning is a powerful tool that allows us to make better and faster decisions in a data-driven fashion based on training data. Neural networks are especially popular in the context of supervised learning due to their ability to approximate auxiliary functions. However, building these models is typically computationally intensive, which can take significant time to complete on a conventional CPU-based computer. Such a long turnaround time makes business and research infeasible using these models. This research seeks to accelerate this training process through parallel and distributed computing using High-Performance Computing (HPC) resources. To understand machine learning on HPC platforms, theoretical performance analysis from this thesis summarises four key factors for data-parallel machine learning: convergence, batch size, computational and communication efficiency. It is discovered that a maximum computational speed-up exists through parallel and distributed computing for a fixed experimental setup. This primary focus of this thesis is convolutional neural network applications on the Apache Spark platform. The work presented in this thesis directly addresses the computational and communication inefficiencies associated with the Spark platform with improvements to the Resilient Distributed Dataset (RDD) and the introduction of an elastic non-blocking all-reduce. In addition to implementation optimisations, the computational performance has been further improved by overlapping computation and communication, and the use of large batch sizes through fine-grained control. The impacts of these improvements are more prominent with the rise of massively parallel processors and high-speed networks. With all the techniques combined, it is predicted that training the ResNet50 model on the ImageNet dataset for 100 epochs at an effective batch size of 16K will take under 20 minutes on an NVIDIA Tesla P100 cluster, in contrast to 26 months on a single Intel Xeon E5-2660 v3 2.6 GHz processor. Due to the similarities to scientific computing, the resulting computing model of this thesis serves as an exemplar of the integration of high-performance computing and elastic computing with dynamic workloads, which lays the foundation for future research in emerging computational steering applications, such as interactive physics simulations and data assimilation in weather forecast and research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Atos IT Services UK Limited ; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Q Science (General) ; QA76 Electronic computers. Computer science. Computer software