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Save Memory on GPU

Memory capacity is critical in deep learning training and inference and determines whether the model can run successfully. Common memory saving approaches include:

  • Enable Efficient Conv BN Eval Feature (Experimental)

    We’ve recently introduced an experimental feature in MMCV: the Efficient Conv BN Eval, based on the concepts discussed in this paper. This feature has been designed with the aim of reducing memory footprint during network training without hurting performance. If your network architecture contains a series of consecutive Conv+BN blocks, and these normalization layers are maintained in eval mode during the training process (a common occurrence when training object detectors with MMDetection), this feature could reduce memory consumption by more than $20%$. To enable the Efficient Conv BN Eval feature, simply add the following command-line arguments: --cfg-options efficient_conv_bn_eval="[backbone]". When you see Enabling the "efficient_conv_bn_eval" feature for these modules ... in the output log, the feature is successfully enabled. As this is currently in an experimental phase, we are eagerly looking forward to hearing about your experience with it. Please share your usage reports, observations, and suggestions at this discussion thread. Your feedback is crucial for further development and for determining whether this feature should be integrated into the stable release.

  • Gradient Accumulation

    Gradient accumulation is the mechanism that runs at a configured number of steps accumulating the gradients instead of updating parameters, after which the network parameters are updated and the gradients are cleared. With this technique of delayed parameter update, the result is similar to those scenarios using a large batch size, while the memory of activation can be saved. However, it should be noted that if the model contains a batch normalization layer, using gradient accumulation will impact performance.

  • Gradient Checkpointing

    Gradient checkpointing is a time-for-space method that compresses the model by reducing the number of saved activations, however, the unstored activations must be recomputed when calculating the gradient. The corresponding functionality has been implemented in the torch.utils.checkpoint package. The implementation can be briefly concluded as that, in the forward phase, the forward function passed to the checkpoint runs in torch.no_grad mode and saves only the input and the output of the forward function. Then recalculates its intermediate activations in the backward phase.

  • Large Model Training Techniques

    Recent research has shown that training a large model would be helpful to improve performance, but training a model at such a scale requires huge resources, and it is hard to store the entire model in the memory of a single graphics card. Therefore large model training techniques, typically such as DeepSpeed ZeRO and the Fully Shared Data Parallel (FSDP) technique introduced in FairScale are introduced. These techniques allow slicing the parameters, gradients, and optimizer states among the parallel processes, while still maintaining the simplicity of the data parallelism.

MMEngine now supports gradient accumulation and large model training FSDP techniques, and the usages are described as follows.

Gradient Accumulation

The configuration can be written in this way:

optim_wrapper_cfg = dict(
    type='OptimWrapper',
    optimizer=dict(type='SGD', lr=0.001, momentum=0.9),
    # update every four times
    accumulative_counts=4)

The full example working with Runner is as follows.

import torch
import torch.nn as nn
from torch.utils.data import DataLoader
from mmengine.runner import Runner
from mmengine.model import BaseModel

train_dataset = [(torch.ones(1, 1), torch.ones(1, 1))] * 50
train_dataloader = DataLoader(train_dataset, batch_size=2)


class ToyModel(BaseModel):
    def __init__(self) -> None:
        super().__init__()
        self.linear = nn.Linear(1, 1)

    def forward(self, img, label, mode):
        feat = self.linear(img)
        loss1 = (feat - label).pow(2)
        loss2 = (feat - label).abs()
        return dict(loss1=loss1, loss2=loss2)


runner = Runner(
    model=ToyModel(),
    work_dir='tmp_dir',
    train_dataloader=train_dataloader,
    train_cfg=dict(by_epoch=True, max_epochs=1),
    optim_wrapper=dict(optimizer=dict(type='SGD', lr=0.01),
                       accumulative_counts=4)
)
runner.train()

Gradient Checkpointing

Note

Starting from MMEngine v0.9.0, gradient checkpointing is supported. For performance comparisons, you can click on #1319. If you encounter any issues during usage, feel free to provide feedback in #1319.

You can simply enable gradient checkpointing by configuring activation_checkpointing in the Runner’s cfg parameters.

Let’s take Get Started in 15 Minutes as an example:

cfg = dict(
    activation_checkpointing=['resnet.layer1', 'resnet.layer2', 'resnet.layer3']
)
runner = Runner(
    model=MMResNet50(),
    work_dir='./work_dir',
    train_dataloader=train_dataloader,
    optim_wrapper=dict(optimizer=dict(type=SGD, lr=0.001, momentum=0.9)),
    train_cfg=dict(by_epoch=True, max_epochs=2, val_interval=1),
    val_dataloader=val_dataloader,
    val_cfg=dict(),
    val_evaluator=dict(type=Accuracy),
    launcher=args.launcher,
    cfg=cfg,
)
runner.train()

Large Model Training

Warning

If you have the requirement to train large models, we recommend reading Training Big Models.

FSDP is officially supported from PyTorch 1.11. The config can be written in this way:

# located in cfg file
model_wrapper_cfg=dict(type='MMFullyShardedDataParallel', cpu_offload=True)

The full example working with Runner is as follows.

import torch
import torch.nn as nn
from torch.utils.data import DataLoader
from mmengine.runner import Runner
from mmengine.model import BaseModel

train_dataset = [(torch.ones(1, 1), torch.ones(1, 1))] * 50
train_dataloader = DataLoader(train_dataset, batch_size=2)


class ToyModel(BaseModel):
    def __init__(self) -> None:
        super().__init__()
        self.linear = nn.Linear(1, 1)

    def forward(self, img, label, mode):
        feat = self.linear(img)
        loss1 = (feat - label).pow(2)
        loss2 = (feat - label).abs()
        return dict(loss1=loss1, loss2=loss2)


runner = Runner(
    model=ToyModel(),
    work_dir='tmp_dir',
    train_dataloader=train_dataloader,
    train_cfg=dict(by_epoch=True, max_epochs=1),
    optim_wrapper=dict(optimizer=dict(type='SGD', lr=0.01)),
    cfg=dict(model_wrapper_cfg=dict(type='MMFullyShardedDataParallel', cpu_offload=True))
)
runner.train()

Please be noted that FSDP works only in distributed training environments.

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