Parallelisms

User Guide (Latest Version)

NeMo Megatron supports 5 types of parallelisms (which can be mixed together arbitrarily):

Distributed Data Parallelism (DDP) creates idential copies of the model across multiple GPUs.

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Tensor Parallelism (TP) is a method for distributing a model’s computation across multiple GPUs by splitting tensors into non-overlapping pieces. This allows different parts of the tensor to be processed simultaneously on separate GPUs, enhancing performance and enabling the training of larger models.

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Enable Tensor Parallelism

To enable TP in the NeMo framework, configure the tensor_model_parallel_size parameter in the model configuration. This parameter determines the number of GPUs among which the model’s tensors are partitioned.

For Tensor Parallelism:
  • Set tensor_model_parallel_size to greater than 1 to enable intra-layer model parallelism.

The configuration file can be adjusted here: NeMo Megatron GPT Config.

Implement Tensor Parallelism

NeMo integrates Tensor Parallelism through the implementation from Megatron Core. To understand how TP is activated within transformer blocks, refer to the code in the following repository: Megatron-LM Transformer Block.

For detailed API usage and additional configurations, consult the Megatron Core Developer Guide.

Pipeline Parallelism (PP) is a technique that assigns consecutive layers or segments of a neural network to different GPUs. This division allows each GPU to process different stages of the network sequentially.

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Enable Pipeline Parallelism

To utilize PP in the NeMo framework, you need to set the pipeline_model_parallel_size parameter in the model’s configuration. This parameter specifies the number of GPUs among which the model’s layers are distributed.

For Pipeline Parallelism:
  • Set pipeline_model_parallel_size to a value greater than 1 to enable inter-layer model parallelism.

Adjust the configuration accordingly here: NeMo Megatron GPT Config.

Interleaved Pipeline Parallel Schedule

To minimize the pipeline bubble, the computation on each GPU can be divided into multiple subsets of layers (referred to as model chunks), rather than a single contiguous block. For instance, instead of each GPU processing a continuous set of four layers, it might handle two model chunks with two layers each. This method ensures that each GPU in the pipeline manages multiple stages rather than on a single contiguous block.

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virtual_pipeline_model_parallel_size: 2 # Set for interleaved pipeline


For more insights into this approach, see our detailed blog: Scaling Language Model Training.

Implement Pipeline Parallelism

NeMo’s implementation of PP leverages functionalities from Megatron Core. For a practical example of how PP is implemented within transformer blocks in NeMo, you can inspect the following codebase: Megatron-LM Transformer Block.

For more detailed API usage and configurations related to PP, visit the Megatron Core Developer Guide.

Sequence Parallelism extends tensor-level model parallelism by distributing computing load and activation memory across multiple GPUs along the sequence dimension of transformer layers. This method is particularly useful for portions of the layer that have previously not been parallelized, enhancing overall model performance and efficiency.

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Enable Sequence Parallelism

To utilize Sequence Parallelism in NeMo, set the sequence_parallel parameter to True in the model’s configuration. Note that this feature is effective only when the tensor parallel size (tensor_model_parallel_size) is greater than 1.

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sequence_parallel: True # Enable Sequence Parallelism


For further information on configuration, refer to the following documentation: NeMo Megatron GPT Config.

Implement Sequence Parallelism

NeMo’s implementation of Sequence Parallelism utilizes functionality from Megatron Core. For an in-depth look at how Sequence Parallelism is integrated into the Megatron Core architecture, you can examine the source code here: Megatron-LM Sequence Parallel Source Code.

Context Parallelism (CP) is a method for parallelizing the processing of neural network activations across multiple GPUs, focusing on the sequence dimension of the input data. Unlike Sequence Parallelism (SP) that only partitions specific types of activations, CP divides all network activations along the sequence dimension.

Enable Context Parallelism

To activate CP in the NeMo framework, set the context_parallel_size parameter in the model configuration. This parameter specifies the number of GPUs among which the model’s sequence activations are distributed.

For Context Parallelism:
  • Set context_parallel_size to a value greater than 1 to enable sequence-wide model parallelism.

The configuration can be found and modified here: NeMo Megatron Core Context Config.

Implement Context Parallelism

NeMo leverages functionalities from both Megatron Core and transformer-engine to implement CP efficiently. During forward propagation, each GPU handles a segment of the sequence, storing only the necessary Key and Value (KV) pairs. In the backward pass, these KV pairs are reassembled across GPUs using advanced communication schemes like all-gather and reduce-scatter transformed into point-to-point communications in a ring topology. This method reduces the memory footprint significantly while maintaining computational efficiency.

Additionally, NeMo’s CP supports integration with various forms of model parallelism such as TP (Tensor Parallelism), PP (Pipeline Parallelism), and DP (Data Parallelism), ensuring broad usability and flexibility in large-scale model training environments.

Visit our source code for more insights into the implementation: - Megatron Core transformer engine: Megatron Core - Transformer Engine repository: Transformer Engine Code

Expert Parallelism (EP) is a type of model parallelism that distributes experts of an MoE across GPUs.

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Enable Expert Parallelism

To enable it users can pass model.expert_model_parallel_size=k, where k is an integer with the desired expert parallelism level, for example if the model has three experts (i.e. model.num_moe_experts=3), we can specify k=3 (i.e. via CLI using model.expert_model_parallel_size=3). The number of experts should be exactly divisible by the expert_model_parallel_size.

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expert_model_parallel_size: 3 # Set EP to 3


For further information on configuration, refer to the following documentation: NeMo Megatron GPT Config.

Implement Expert Parallelism

NeMo’s expert parallelism functionality is provided by Megatron-LM repository, please consult the corresponding Moe-layer for more moe implementation details.

When reading and modifying NeMo Megatron code you will encounter the following terms.

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