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$D^2$: Decentralized Training over Decentralized Data
Hanlin Tang · Xiangru Lian · Ming Yan · Ce Zhang · Ji Liu

Wed Jul 11 09:15 AM -- 12:00 PM (PDT) @ Hall B #207
While training a machine learning model using multiple workers, each of which collects data from its own data source, it would be useful when the data collected from different workers are {\em unique} and {\em different}. Ironically, recent analysis of decentralized parallel stochastic gradient descent (D-PSGD) relies on the assumption that the data hosted on different workers are {\em not too different}. In this paper, we ask the question: {\em Can we design a decentralized parallel stochastic gradient descent algorithm that is less sensitive to the data variance across workers?} In this paper, we present D$^2$, a novel decentralized parallel stochastic gradient descent algorithm designed for large data variance \xr{among workers} (imprecisely, ``decentralized'' data). The core of D$^2$ is a variance reduction extension of D-PSGD. It improves the convergence rate from $O\left({\sigma \over \sqrt{nT}} + {(n\zeta^2)^{\frac{1}{3}} \over T^{2/3}}\right)$ to $O\left({\sigma \over \sqrt{nT}}\right)$ where $\zeta^{2}$ denotes the variance among data on different workers. As a result, D$^2$ is robust to data variance among workers. We empirically evaluated D$^2$ on image classification tasks, where each worker has access to only the data of a limited set of labels, and find that D$^2$ significantly outperforms D-PSGD.

Author Information

Hanlin Tang (University of Rochester)
Xiangru Lian (University of Rochester)
Ming Yan (Michigan State University)
Ce Zhang (ETH Zurich)
Ji Liu (University of Rochester)

Ji Liu is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Goergen Institute for Data Science at University of Rochester (UR). He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests focus on distributed optimization and machine learning. He also has rich experiences in various data analytics applications in healthcare, bioinformatics, social network, computer vision, etc. His recent research focus is on asynchronous parallel optimization, sparse learning (compressed sensing) theory and algorithm, structural model estimation, online learning, abnormal event detection, feature / pattern extraction, etc. He published more than 40 papers in top CS journals and conferences including JMLR, SIOPT, TPAMI, TIP, TKDD, NIPS, ICML, UAI, SIGKDD, ICCV, CVPR, ECCV, AAAI, IJCAI, ACM MM, etc. He won the award of Best Paper honorable mention at SIGKDD 2010 and the award of Best Student Paper award at UAI 2015.

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