PaLM or Pathways Language Model, a 540 billion parameter model that was recently introduced by Google AI, is intriguing not only because of its size or even because of how well it performs, but also because of how it was trained. Along with being trained using Google's Pathway system, it also avoids making use of pipeline parallelism.
What Is Pipeline Parallelism?
In pipeline parallelism, several steps are interdependent but can be carried out concurrently, with the output of one step serving as the input for a subsequent step.
Using pipeline parallelism, the task of processing is divided into a series of stages that execute sequentially, building on the idea of simple task parallelism. For extensive language models, this strategy has traditionally been used.
Training Google’s PaLM
Pathways was introduced by Google last year. It is a single model that has been trained to carry out millions of tasks. Pathways was used by Google as a way of demonstrating how one model can handle a lot of different tasks at the same time, build on existing skills, and combine them to become more efficient and faster at picking up new tasks.
This is a resource and time-intensive activity. Multimodal models could also be enabled by Pathways allowing for simultaneous auditory processing, language understanding, and perception of vision. PaLM, which has a 540 billion parameter model, makes it possible to train a single model across many TPU v4 pods.
PaLM is also a dense decoder-only Transformer that achieves high-tech performance over a wide range of tasks. Both TPU v4 Pods on which PaLM is trained are connected over a DCN or data center network. It combines data and model parallelism. Since pipelining provides additional parallelization and has a lower bandwidth, it is commonly used with DCN.
This exceeds the highest effective scale permitted by data and model parallelism. However, this has two major limitations: higher bandwidth memory is required because it reloads weights from memory, and a step time is incurred overhead when the device is not in use.
By going pipe-line free, PaLM can avoid these drawbacks. Implementing two-way data parallelism requires PaLM to use Pathway’s client-server architecture. Each Pod receives half of the training batch from a single Python client.
Data parallelism and a within-pod model are then used by each Pod to perform backward and forward computations to assess gradients parallelly. The gradients are transferred by the pods of the remote Pod after they have been computed on their portion of the batch.
Then for the step that follows, each Pod accumulates the remote and local gradient, and bitwise-identical parameters are achieved after the parallel application of parameter updates.
Read More: ChatGPT: What Is It and How Does It Work?
PaLM Compared with Other Models
In addition to its displayed superior performance and efficiency, PaLM is trained differently from other models, which is one of its beauties. By training on a larger dataset from multiple sources, making use of sparsely activated modules, and scaling model sizes, models like Megatron-Turing NLG, Gopher, LaMDA, and GLaM, achieved state-of-the-art few-shot results on a range of tasks.
However, little progress
has been made in comprehending the abilities that arise from few-shot learning
with an expanding model scale; PaLM moves closer to comprehending these
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