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DIMAT: Decentralized Iterative Merging-And-Training for Deep Learning Models

Nastaran Saadati · Minh Pham · Nasla Saleem · Joshua R. Waite · Aditya Balu · Zhanhong Jiang · Chinmay Hegde · Soumik Sarkar

Arch 4A-E Poster #323
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Fri 21 Jun 5 p.m. PDT — 6:30 p.m. PDT


Recent advances in decentralized deep learning algorithms have demonstrated cutting-edge performance on various tasks with large pre-trained models. However, a pivotal prerequisite for achieving this level of competitiveness is the significant communication and computation overheads when updating these models, which prohibits the applications of them to real-world scenarios.To address this issue, drawing inspiration from advanced model merging techniques without requiring additional training, we introduce the Decentralized Iterative Merging-And-Training (DIMAT) paradigm—a novel decentralized deep learning framework. Within DIMAT, each agent is trained on their local data and periodically merged with their neighboring agents using advanced model merging techniques like activation matching until convergence is achieved. DIMAT provably converges with the best available rate for nonconvex functions with various first-order methods, while yielding tighter error bounds compared to the popular existing approaches. We conduct a comprehensive empirical analysis to validate DIMAT's superiority over baselines across diverse computer vision tasks sourced from multiple datasets. Empirical results validate our theoretical claims by showing that DIMAT attains faster and higher initial gain in accuracy with independent and identically distributed (IID) and non-IID data, incurring lower communication overhead. This DIMAT paradigm presents a new opportunity for the future decentralized learning, enhancing its adaptability to real-world with sparse and light-weight communication and computation.

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