Les billets libellés: google_cloud. Afficher tous les billets.

CoLab TPUs One Month Later

mercredi 31 octobre 2018

After having used both CoLab GPUs and TPUs for almost a month I must significantly revise my previous opinion. Even for a Keras model not written or optimized for TPUs, with some minimal configuration changes TPUs perform much faster - minimum of twice the speed. In addition to making sure that all operations are TPU compatible, the only major configuration change required is increasing the batch size by 8. At first I was playing around with the batch size, but I realized that this was unnecessary. TPUs have 8 shards, so you simply multiple the GPU batch size by 8 and that should be a good baseline. 

The model I am currently training on a TPU and a GPU simultaneously is training 3-4x faster on the TPU than on the GPU and the code is exactly the same. I have this block of code:

use_tpu = True
# if we are using the tpu copy the keras model to a new var and assign the tpu model to model
if use_tpu:
    TPU_WORKER = 'grpc://' + os.environ['COLAB_TPU_ADDR']
    # create network and compiler
    tpu_model = tf.contrib.tpu.keras_to_tpu_model(
        model, strategy = tf.contrib.tpu.TPUDistributionStrategy(

The model is created with Keras and the only change I make is setting use_tpu to True on the TPU instance. 

One other thing I thought I would mention is that CoLab creates separate instances for GPU, TPU and CPU, so you can run multiple notebooks without sharing RAM or processor if you give each one a different type.

Libellés: machine_learning, tensorflow, google, google_cloud
2 commentaires

CoLab TPUs

mardi 09 octobre 2018

The other day I was having problems with a CoLab notebook and I was trying to debug it when I noticed that TPU is now an option for runtime type. I found no references to this in the CoLab documentation, but apparently it was quietly introduced only recently. If anyone doesn't know, TPUs are chips designed by Google specifically for matrix multiplications and are supposedly incredibly fast. Last I checked the cost to rent one through GCP was about $6 per hour, so the ability to have access to one for free could be a huge benefit.

As TPUs are specialized chips you can't just run the same code as on a CPU or a GPU. TPUs do not support all TensorFlow operations and you need to create a special optimizer to be able to take advantage of the TPU at all. The model I was working with at the time was created using TensorFlow's Keras API so I decided to try to convert that to be TPU compatible in order to test it.

Normally you would have to use a cross shard optimizer, but there is a shortcut for Keras models:

TPU_WORKER = 'grpc://' + os.environ['COLAB_TPU_ADDR']

# create network and compiler
tpu_model = tf.contrib.tpu.keras_to_tpu_model(
keras_model, strategy = tf.contrib.tpu.TPUDistributionStrategy(

The first line finds an available TPU and gets it's address. The second line takes your keras model as input and converts it to a TPU compatible model. Then you would train the model using tpu_model.fit() instead of keras_model. This was the easy part.

For this particular model I am using a lot of custom functions for loss and metrics. Many of the functions turned out to not be compatible with TPUs so had to be rewritten. While at the time this was annoying, it turned out to be worth it regardless of the TPU because I had to optimize the functions in order to make them compatible with TPUs. The specific operations which were not compatible were non-matrix ops - logical operations and boolean masks specifically. Some of the code was downright hideous and this forced me to sit down and think through it and re-write it in a much cleaner manner, vectorizing as much as possible.

After all that effort, so far my experience with the TPUs hasn't been all that great. I can train my model with a significantly larger batch size - whereas  on an Nvidia K80 16 was the maximum batch size, I am currently training with batches of 64 on the TPU and may be able to push that even higher. However the time per epoch hasn't really improved all that much - it is about 1750 seconds on the TPU versus 1850 seconds on the K80. I have read code may need to be altered more to take full advantage of TPUs and I have not really tried playing with the batch size to see how that changes the performance yet.

I suspect that if I did some more research about TPUs and coded the model to be optimized for a TPU from scratch there might be a more noticeable performance gain, but this is based solely on having heard other people talk about how fast they are and not from my experience. 

Update - I have realized that the data augmentation is the bottleneck which is limiting the speed of training. I am training with a Keras generator which performs the augmentation on the CPU and if this is removed or reduced the TPUs do, in fact, train significantly faster than a GPU and also yield better results.

Libellés: coding, machine_learning, google_cloud
Aucun commentaire

I have previously written about Google CoLab which is a way to access Nvidia K80 GPUs for free, but only for 12 hours at a time. After a few months of using Google Cloud instances with GPUs I have run up a substantial bill and have reverted to using CoLab whenever possible. The main problem with CoLab is that the instance is terminated after 12 hours taking all files with it, so in order to use them you need to save your files somewhere.

Until recently I had been saving my files to Google Drive with this method, but while it is easy to save files to Drive it is much more difficult to read them back. As far as I can tell, in order to do this with the API you need to get the file id from Drive and even then it is not so straightforward to upload the files to CoLab. To deal with this I had been uploading files that needed to be accessed often to an AWS S3 bucket and then downloading them to CoLab with wget, which works fine, but there is a much simpler way to do the same thing by using Google Cloud Storage instead of S3.

First you need to authenticate CoLab to your Google account with:

from google.colab import auth


Once this is done you need to set your project and bucket name and then update the gcloud config.
project_id = [project_name]
bucket_name = [bucket_name]
!gcloud config set project {project_id}

After this has been done files can simply and quickly be upload or downloaded from the bucket with the following simple commands:

# download
!gsutil cp gs://{bucket_name}/foo.bar ./foo.bar

# upload
!gsutil cp  ./foo.bar gs://{bucket_name}/foo.bar

I actually have been adding the line to upload the weights to GCS to my training code so it is automatically uploaded every couple epochs, which removes the need for me to manually back them up periodically throughout the day.

Libellés: coding, python, machine_learning, google, google_cloud
1 commentaires

TensorFlow GPU Bottlenecks

mercredi 16 mai 2018

I was training a model on a Google Cloud instance with a Tesla K80 GPU. This particular model had more data pre-processing required than normal. The model was training very slowly, the GPU usage was oscillating between 0% and 75-100%. I thought the CPU was the bottleneck and was trying to put as much pre-processing on the GPU as possible.

I read TensorFlow's optimization guide, which suggested forcing the pre-processing to be on the CPU by enclosing it with:

with tf.device('/cpu:0'):

Since I thought the CPU was the bottleneck I didn't think that would help, but I tried it anyway because I had no other good ideas and was surprised that it worked like magic! The GPU usage now stays constant around 95-100% while the CPU usage stays at about the same levels as before.

Libellés: machine_learning, tensorflow, google_cloud
Aucun commentaire

I decided to try a Google Cloud GPU instance as well as EC2. Once I had my quotas set properly and was able to start the instance it took me all day to get TensorFlow running with GPU. The instructions Google provides are for CUDA 8.0, and the latest version of TensorFlow requires CUDA 9.0.

To get everything running follow these steps:

  1. curl -O https://developer.download.nvidia.com/compute/cuda/repos/ubuntu1604/x86_64/cuda-repo-ubuntu1604_9.0.176-1_amd64.deb
  2. sudo dpkg -i cuda-repo-ubuntu1604_9.0.176-1_amd64.deb
  3. sudo apt-get update
  4. sudo apt-get install cuda-9-0
  5. sudo nvidia-smi -pm 1

These are the steps in the instructions with the proper repo to CUDA 9.0 inserted.

Then I had to install cudnn, which isn't mentioned at all in Google's instructions. I downloaded libcudnn7_7.0.4.31-1+cuda9.0_amd64.deb from the Nvidia cudnn site, and then uploaded it to the instance with scp. Then install it with:

sudo dpkg -i libcudnn7_7.0.4.31-1+cuda9.0_amd64.deb

Then you need to export the path with:

echo 'export CUDA_HOME=/usr/local/cuda' >> ~/.bashrc
echo 'export PATH=$PATH:$CUDA_HOME/bin' >> ~/.bashrc
echo 'export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$CUDA_HOME/lib64' >> ~/.bashrc
echo 'export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/cuda/extras/CUPTI/lib64:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH' >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc

And finally install TensorFlow:

sudo apt-get install python-dev python-pip libcupti-dev
sudo pip install tensorflow-gpu

I used pip3 and python3, but the rest is the same. 

Update: I thought it was working fine but I was still getting errors about locating libcupti.so.9.0. That was fixed by making symlinks as described here.

I ran these commands and now it seems to be working...

  1. # Put symlinks in /usr/local/cuda
  2. sudo mkdir /usr/local/cuda
  3. cd /usr/local/cuda
  4. sudo ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ lib64
  5. sudo ln -s /usr/include/ include
  6. sudo ln -s /usr/bin/ bin
  7. sudo ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ nvvm
  8. sudo mkdir -p extras/CUPTI
  9. cd extras/CUPTI
  10. sudo ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ lib64
  11. sudo ln -s /usr/include/ include

Another Update: TensorFlow requires version 7.0.4 of the cudnn, I had originally downloaded 7.1.2, the code has been updated accordingly.

Final Update: I set up another instance and followed this process and it almost worked. I needed to export another path which I added here. The commands to export the path were temporary and had to be repeated every time the instance was booted, I changed that to echo the path to .bashrc so it would be automatically set.

Libellés: coding, machine_learning, tensorflow, google_cloud
Aucun commentaire

Archives du Blogue