Accelerated On-Device Forward Neural Network Training with Module-Wise Descending Asynchronism

Xiaohan Zhao · Hualin Zhang · Zhouyuan Huo · Bin Gu

Great Hall & Hall B1+B2 (level 1) #2010
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Tue 12 Dec 3:15 p.m. PST — 5:15 p.m. PST


On-device learning faces memory constraints when optimizing or fine-tuning on edge devices with limited resources. Current techniques for training deep models on edge devices rely heavily on backpropagation. However, its high memory usage calls for a reassessment of its dominance.In this paper, we propose forward gradient descent (FGD) as a potential solution to overcome the memory capacity limitation in on-device learning. However, FGD's dependencies across layers hinder parallel computation and can lead to inefficient resource utilization.To mitigate this limitation, we propose AsyncFGD, an asynchronous framework that decouples dependencies, utilizes module-wise stale parameters, and maximizes parallel computation. We demonstrate its convergence to critical points through rigorous theoretical analysis.Empirical evaluations conducted on NVIDIA's AGX Orin, a popular embedded device, show that AsyncFGD reduces memory consumption and enhances hardware efficiency, offering a novel approach to on-device learning.

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