Marco Canini — May 1st 2019

Scaling Distributed Machine Learning with In-Network Aggregation

Training complex machine learning models in parallel is an increasingly important workload. We accelerate distributed parallel training by designing a communication primitive that uses a programmable switch dataplane to execute a key step of the training process. Our approach reduces the volume of exchanged data by aggregating the model updates from multiple workers in the network. We co-design the switch processing with the end-host protocols and ML frameworks to provide a robust, efficient solution that speeds up training by up to 300%, and at least by 20% for a number of real-world benchmark models.

Marco does not know what the next big thing will be. But he’s sure that our next-gen computing and networking infrastructure must be a viable platform for it and avoid stifling innovation. Marco’s research area is cloud computing, distributed systems and networking. His current interest is in designing better systems support for AI/ML and provide practical implementations deployable in the real-world. Marco is an assistant professor in Computer Science at KAUST. Marco obtained his Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from the University of Genoa in 2009 after spending the last year as a visiting student at the University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory. He was a postdoctoral researcher at EPFL from 2009 to 2012 and after that a senior research scientist for one year at Deutsche Telekom Innovation Labs & TU Berlin. Before joining KAUST, he was an assistant professor at the UCLouvain. He also held positions at Intel, Microsoft and Google.

Host: Professor Theophilus Benson