Large scale performance analysis of distributed deep learning frameworks for convolutional neural networks

Marcel Joel Joachim Aach*, Eray Inanc, Rakesh Sarma, Morris Riedel, Andreas Lintermann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Continuously increasing data volumes from multiple sources, such as simulation and experimental measurements, demand efficient algorithms for an analysis within a realistic timeframe. Deep learning models have proven to be capable of understanding and analyzing large quantities of data with high accuracy. However, training them on massive datasets remains a challenge and requires distributed learning exploiting High-Performance Computing systems. This study presents a comprehensive analysis and comparison of three well-established distributed deep learning frameworks—Horovod, DeepSpeed, and Distributed Data Parallel by PyTorch—with a focus on their runtime performance and scalability. Additionally, the performance of two data loaders, the native PyTorch data loader and the DALI data loader by NVIDIA, is investigated. To evaluate these frameworks and data loaders, three standard ResNet architectures with 50, 101, and 152 layers are tested using the ImageNet dataset. The impact of different learning rate schedulers on validation accuracy is also assessed. The novel contribution lies in the detailed analysis and comparison of these frameworks and data loaders on the state-of-the-art Jülich Wizard for European Leadership Science (JUWELS) Booster system at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre, using up to 1024 A100 NVIDIA GPUs in parallel. Findings show that the DALI data loader significantly reduces the overall runtime of ResNet50 from more than 12 h on 4 GPUs to less than 200 s on 1024 GPUs. The outcomes of this work highlight the potential impact of distributed deep learning using efficient tools on accelerating scientific discoveries and data-driven applications. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number96
JournalJournal of Big Data
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

Other keywords

  • Convolutional neural network
  • Distributed deep learning
  • High-Performance Computing
  • ImageNet
  • Performance analysis


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