An Argument in Favor of Strong Scaling for Deep Neural Networks with Small Datasets
In recent years, with the popularization of deep learning frameworks and large datasets, researchers have started parallelizing their models in order to train faster. This is crucially important, because they typically explore many hyperparameters in order to find the best ones for their applications. This process is time consuming and, consequently, speeding up training improves productivity. One approach to parallelize deep learning models followed by many researchers is based on weak scaling. The minibatches increase in size as new GPUs are added to the system. In addition, new learning rates schedules have been proposed to fix optimization issues that occur with large minibatch sizes. In this paper, however, we show that the recommendations provided by recent work do not apply to models that lack large datasets. In fact, we argument in favor of using strong scaling for achieving reliable performance in such cases. We evaluated our approach with up to 32 GPUs and show that weak scaling not only does not have the same accuracy as the sequential model, it also fails to converge most of time. Meanwhile, strong scaling has good scalability while having exactly the same accuracy of a sequential implementation.