Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track
Aditya Desai, Anshumali Shrivastava
Embedding tables dominate industrial-scale recommendation model sizes, using up to terabytes of memory. A popular and the largest publicly available machine learning MLPerf benchmark on recommendation data is a Deep Learning Recommendation Model (DLRM) trained on a terabyte of click-through data. It contains 100GB of embedding memory (25+Billion parameters). DLRMs, due to their sheer size and the associated volume of data, face difficulty in training, deploying for inference, and memory bottlenecks due to large embedding tables. This paper analyzes and extensively evaluates a generic parameter-sharing setup (PSS) for compressing DLRM models. We show theoretical upper bounds on the learnable memory requirements for achieving approximations to the embedding table. Our bounds indicate exponentially fewer parameters suffice for a good approximation. To this end, we demonstrate a PSS DLRM reaching 10000$\times$ compression on criteo-tb without losing quality. Such a compression, however, comes with a caveat. It requires 4.5 $\times$ more iterations to achieve the same saturation quality. The paper argues that this tradeoff needs more investigation as it might be significantly favorable. Leveraging the small size of the compressed model, we show a 4.3$\times$ improvement in training latency leading to similar overall training times. Thus, in the tradeoff between the system advantage of a small DLRM model vs. slower convergence, we show that scales are tipped towards having a smaller DLRM model, leading to the same quality, faster inference, easier deployment, and similar training times.