H2O: Heavy-Hitter Oracle for Efficient Generative Inference of Large Language Models

Zhenyu Zhang · Ying Sheng · Tianyi Zhou · Tianlong Chen · Lianmin Zheng · Ruisi Cai · Zhao Song · Yuandong Tian · Christopher RĂ© · Clark Barrett · Zhangyang "Atlas" Wang · Beidi Chen

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #534
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Tue 12 Dec 8:45 a.m. PST — 10:45 a.m. PST

Abstract: Large Language Models (LLMs), despite their recent impressive accomplishments, are notably cost-prohibitive to deploy, particularly for applications involving long-content generation, such as dialogue systems and story writing. Often, a large amount of transient state information, referred to as the $\mathsf{KV}$ $\mathsf{cache}$, is stored in GPU memory in addition to model parameters, scaling linearly with the sequence length and batch size. In this paper, we introduce a novel approach for implementing the $\mathsf{KV}$ $\mathsf{cache}$ which significantly reduces its memory footprint. Our approach is based on the noteworthy observation that a small portion of tokens contributes most of the value when computing attention scores. We call these tokens Heavy Hitters ($\mathsf{H_2}$). Through a comprehensive investigation, we find that ($i$) the emergence of $\mathsf{H_2}$ is natural and strongly correlates with the frequent co-occurrence of tokens in the text, and ($ii$) removing them results in significant performance degradation. Based on these insights, we propose Heavy Hitter Oracle ($\mathsf{H_2O}$), a $\mathsf{KV}$ $\mathsf{cache}$ eviction policy that dynamically retains a balance of recent and $\mathsf{H_2}$ tokens. We formulate the $\mathsf{KV}$ $\mathsf{cache}$ eviction as a dynamic submodular problem and prove (under mild assumptions) a theoretical guarantee for our novel eviction algorithm which could help guide future work. We validate the accuracy of our algorithm with OPT, LLaMA, and GPT-NeoX across a wide range of tasks. Our implementation of $\mathsf{H_2O}$ with 20\% heavy hitters improves the throughput over three leading inference systems DeepSpeed Zero-Inference, Hugging Face Accelerate, and FlexGen by up to $29\times$, $29\times$, and $3\times$ on OPT-6.7B and OPT-30B. With the same batch size, $\mathsf{H_2O}$ can reduce the latency by up to $1.9\times$.

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