BigDL-Nano TensorFlow Training Overview

BigDL-Nano can be used to accelerate TensorFlow Keras applications on training workloads. The optimizations in BigDL-Nano are delivered through BigDL-Nano’s Model and Sequential classes, which have identical APIs with tf.keras.Model and tf.keras.Sequential. For most cases, you can just replace your tf.keras.Model with and tf.keras.Sequential with to benefit from BigDL-Nano.

We will briefly describe here the major features in BigDL-Nano for TensorFlow training. You can find complete examples here links to be added.

Best Known Configurations

When you install BigDL-Nano by pip install bigdl-nano[tensorflow], intel-tensorflow will be installed in your environment, which has intel’s oneDNN optimizations enabled by default; and when you run source bigdl-nano-init, it will export a few environment variables, such as OMP_NUM_THREADS and KMP_AFFINITY, according to your current hardware. Empirically, these environment variables work best for most TensorFlow applications. After setting these environment variables, you can just run your applications as usual (python and no additional changes are required.

Multi-Instance Training

When training on a server with dozens of CPU cores, it is often beneficial to use multiple training instances in a data-parallel fashion to make full use of the CPU cores. However, naively using TensorFlow’s MultiWorkerMirroredStrategy can cause conflict in CPU cores and often cannot provide performance benefits.

BigDL-Nano makes it very easy to conduct multi-instance training correctly. You can just set the num_processes parameter in the fit method in your Model or Sequential object and BigDL-Nano will launch the specific number of processes to perform data-parallel training. Each process will be automatically pinned to a different subset of CPU cores to avoid conflict and maximize training throughput.

import tensorflow as tf
from tensorflow.keras import layers
from import Sequential

model = Sequential([
    layers.Rescaling(1. / 255, input_shape=(img_height, img_width, 3)),
    layers.Conv2D(16, 3, padding='same', activation='relu'),
    layers.Conv2D(32, 3, padding='same', activation='relu'),
    layers.Conv2D(64, 3, padding='same', activation='relu'),
    layers.Dense(128, activation='relu'),

              metrics=['accuracy']), epochs=3, validation_data=val_ds, num_processes=2)

Note that, different from the conventions in BigDL-Nano PyTorch multi-instance training, the effective batch size will not change in TensorFlow multi-instance training, which means it is still the batch size you specify in your dataset. This is because TensorFlow’s MultiWorkerMirroredStrategy will try to split the batch into multiple sub-batches for different workers. We chose this behavior to match the semantics of TensorFlow distributed training.

When you do want to increase your effective batch_size, you can do so by directly changing it in your dataset definition and you may also want to gradually increase the learning rate linearly to the batch_size, as described in this paper published by Facebook.