"L3: Accelerator-Friendly Lossless Image Format for High-Resolution, High-Throughput DNN Training"
Jonghyun Bae, Woohyeon Baek, Tae Jun Ham, Jae W. Lee
"The training process of deep neural networks (DNNs) is usually pipelined with stages for data preparation on CPUs followed by gradient computation on accelerators like GPUs. In an ideal pipeline, the end-to-end training throughput is eventually limited by the throughput of the accelerator, not by that of data preparation. In the past, the DNN training pipeline achieved a near-optimal throughput by utilizing datasets encoded with a lightweight, lossy image format like JPEG. However, as high-resolution, losslessly-encoded datasets become more popular for applications requiring high accuracy, a performance problem arises in the data preparation stage due to low-throughput image decoding on the CPU. Thus, we propose L3, a custom lightweight, lossless image format for high-resolution, high-throughput DNN training. The decoding process of L3 is effectively parallelized on the accelerator, thus minimizing CPU intervention for data preparation during DNN training. L3 achieves a 9.29x higher data preparation throughput than PNG, the most popular lossless image format, for the Cityscapes dataset on NVIDIA A100 GPU, which leads to 1.71x higher end-to-end training throughput. Compared to JPEG and WebP, two popular lossy image formats, L3 provides up to 1.77x and 2.87x higher end-to-end training throughput for ImageNet, respectively, at equivalent metric performance."