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FFCV: Accelerating Training by Removing Data Bottlenecks

Guillaume Leclerc · Andrew Ilyas · Logan Engstrom · Sung Min Park · Hadi Salman · Aleksander Mądry

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 361


We present FFCV, a library for easy, fast, resource-efficient training of machine learning models. FFCV speeds up model training by eliminating (often subtle) data bottlenecks from the training process. In particular, we combine techniques such as an efficient file storage format, caching, data pre-loading, asynchronous data transfer, and just-in-time compilation to (a) make data loading and transfer significantly more efficient, ensuring that GPUs can reach full utilization; and (b) offload as much data processing as possible to the CPU asynchronously, freeing GPU up capacity for training. Using FFCV, we train ResNet-18 and ResNet-50 on the ImageNet dataset with a state-of-the-art tradeoff between accuracy and training time. For example, across the range of ResNet-50 models we test, we obtain the same accuracy as the best baselines in half the time. We demonstrate FFCV’s performance, ease-of-use, extensibility, and ability to adapt to resource constraints through several case studies.

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