Hippo: Sharing Computations in Hyper-Parameter Optimization

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This paper was published by FriendliAI and SNU at Proceedings of VLDB.


Hyper-parameter optimization is crucial for pushing the accuracy of a deep learning model to its limits. However, a hyper-parameter optimization job, referred to as a study, involves numerous trials of training a model using different training knobs, and therefore is very computation-heavy, typically taking hours and days to finish.

We observe that trials issued from hyper-parameter optimization algorithms often share common hyper-parameter sequence prefixes. Based on this observation, we propose Hippo, a hyper-parameter optimization system that reuses computation across trials to reduce the overall amount of computation significantly. Instead of treating each trial independently as in existing hyper-parameter optimization systems, Hippo breaks down the hyper-parameter sequences into stages and merges common stages to form a tree of stages (a stage tree). Hippo maintains an internal data structure, search plan, to manage the current status and history of a study, and employs a critical path based scheduler to minimize the overall study completion time. Hippo applies to not only single studies but multi-study scenarios as well. Evaluations show that Hippo’s stage-based execution strategy outperforms trial-based methods for several models and hyper-parameter optimization algorithms, reducing end-to-end training time by up to 2.76× (3.53×) and GPU-hours by up to 4.81× (6.77×), for single (multiple) studies.