Bypass Exponential Time Preprocessing: Fast Neural Network Training via Weight-Data Correlation Preprocessing

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper


Josh Alman, 杰昊 梁, Zhao Song, Ruizhe Zhang, Danyang Zhuo


Over the last decade, deep neural networks have transformed our society, and they are already widely applied in various machine learning applications. State-of-the-art deep neural networks are becoming larger in size every year to deliver increasing model accuracy, and as a result, model training consumes substantial computing resources and will only consume more in the future.Using current training methods, in each iteration, to process a data point $x \in \mathbb{R}^d$ in a layer, we need to spend $\Theta(md)$ time to evaluate all the $m$ neurons in the layer. This means processing the entire layer takes $\Theta(nmd)$ time for $n$ data points. Recent work [Song, Yang and Zhang, NeurIPS 2021] reduces this time per iteration to $o(nmd)$, but requires exponential time to preprocess either the data or the neural network weights, making it unlikely to have practical usage. In this work, we present a new preprocessing method that simply stores the weight-data correlation in a tree data structure in order to quickly and dynamically detect which neurons fire at each iteration. Our method requires only $O(nmd)$ time in preprocessing and still achieves $o(nmd)$ time per iteration. We complement our new algorithm with a lower bound, proving that assuming a popular conjecture from complexity theory, one could not substantially speed up our algorithm for dynamic detection of firing neurons.