Home / Blog

Frameworks Google GPipe and Microsoft PipeDream

Jason Li
Sr. Software Development Engineer
Skilled Angular and .NET developer, team leader for a healthcare insurance company.
November 19, 2020

In recent years, Microsoft & Google, have been working on developing new models to train deep neural networks. Two brand new frameworks got launched as a result, which got referred to as Google GPipe and Microsoft PipeDream. These two frameworks follow similar principles to scale the training process. The process of training is one of those areas in a lifecycle of deep learning programs, which does not become challenging unless it reaches a certain threshold limit or scale.

Deep learning models get composed of several parallel branches or entities that get trained independently. A classic strategy involves several divisions & partitions that lead to different branches. This strategy might fall apart in certain deep learning models that stack layers sequentially.

Google GPipe

GPipe helps in focusing on the scaling process of coaching-workloads that deal with deep-studying applications. From an infrastructure standpoint, the coaching processes are complex & is often overlooked. Training the datasets are getting complex & complicated. They tend to take a very long time to finish while having the consequences of being extremely costly from a CPU consumption standpoint.

The ability of Google GPipe

GPipe can combine each & every information and mannequin parallelism through effective leverage; referred to as pipelining. Google GPipe forms a distributed machine library that uses a synchronous stochastic gradient design as well as pipeline parallelism for an effective coaching process. GPipe works by partitioning a mannequin throughout different accelerators. It simplifies a mini-batch of coaching routines to several micro-batches. The mannequin permits various accelerators of GPipe to function parallelly for maximizing the scalability of a coaching course.

Scaling the Artificial Intelligence (AI) training in every direction

As is known, data science is quite hard work. All AI models work differently & hence the data needs to be modified accordingly. The process of scaling is tricky while training various AI models. Training is especially challenging concerning neural networks.

The model grows so large that it exceeds a memory limit in a single processing platform. Training sets grow substantially huge with the process taking a long time to become prohibitively expensive. The scaling process becomes simple when no models are required that might complicate it a tad. With an increase in accuracy, the training process stretches longer and chew up more resources. It is a known fact that one can't rely on faster processors for sustaining any kind of linear scaling as the AI model complexity grows.

One interesting approach is distributed training. The components in a model get partitioned & distributed to several optimized nodes for the ease of processing in parallel. This process reduces the time needed to train an AI model significantly.

Google GPipe simplifies the training as well as the scaling process significantly. GPipe framework works very well with available resources & attributes while reducing the overall cost; efficient & affordable!


Microsoft PipeDream

Sometimes among recent months, Microsoft Research made a significant announcement, a new venture referred to as the Project Fiddle. The Project Fiddle comprises a series of research projects that streamlines data about distributed deep learning. A framework, Microsoft PipeDream got launched as one of the first research projects under Project Fiddle.

Attributes of Microsoft PipeDream

Microsoft PipeDream deals in an out-of-the-box approach for the scaling processes along with the training of deep learning models. The approach used by Microsoft PipeDream is referred to as Pipeline Parallelism. Microsoft PipeDream focuses on challenges brought forth by Google GPipe and addresses them; these are the challenges of data and model parallelism techniques.

Data parallelism techniques usually suffer from high communication costs at scale when training on the cloud infrastructure. It increases GPU (Graphics Processing Units) compute speed over time. Model parallelism techniques leverage hardware resources inefficiently that places an undue burden on programmers.

Microsoft PipeDream overcomes these challenges of data-model parallelism presented by Google GPipe through the pipeline parallelism. The pipeline parallel computation does involve layer-partitioning of a DNN model into multiple stages; each stage comprises a consecutive set of layers in the framework model. Each stage gets mapped into a separate GPU that performs the forward & backward press for all available layers.

Workings of Microsoft PipeDream

Microsoft PipeDream automatically partitions the DNN operators based on short profiling runs conducted by a single GPU. This aids in balancing a computational load among several different stages while minimizing communications for a target platform. Microsoft PipeDream effectively load balances in the presence of model diversity, which includes both computation & communication. It also deals with platform diversity that includes interconnecting topologies along with hierarchical bandwidths.

Microsoft PipeDream brings in several advantages during the approach to training parallelism, over the concept of the data-model parallelism methods. Microsoft PipeDream requires fewer communications between various worker nodes. Each worker in the pipeline execution communicates in subsets of gradients & output activations to another single worker. The Microsoft PipeDream can separate computation & communication that leads to an easier parallelism process.

As is known, training parallelism is a major key challenge that helps in building larger & more accurate deep learning models. Upon looking at an active area of research within a deep learning community, it can be observed that training parallelism methods need a combination of effective concurrent programming techniques with the nature of deep learning models.

Google & Microsoft Open source these frameworks: Google GPipe & Microsoft PipeDream

It is of no surprise that Google & Microsoft are actively working on new fashions that help coach deep neural networks. Google GPipe & Microsoft PipeDream are the frameworks developed that aid in training these deep neural networks. The frameworks work on models that simplify the whole coaching process by extensive use of distributed computing strategies, which parallelize training workloads throughout different nodes with an observation into a scale-coaching.

An idea of parallelizable coaching is the one that gets employed by both Google GPipe as well as the Microsoft PipeDream framework projects. The partitioning of information acquisition points gets done throughout different nodes while recombining the items right into a cohesive mannequin. Coaching parallelism helps in studying various scaling fashions.

Brand new industry frameworks

Without any doubt, Google GPipe, and Microsoft PipeDream are brand new industry frameworks for distributed AI training. These frameworks got developed as part of innovations brought forth by both Google as well as Microsoft, in sectors regarding the AI model training process. These frameworks, Google GPipe & Microsoft PipeDream, share some common visions that are mentioned below:

• AI developers need to know about the connection between split-specific models & hardware deployment.

• Models of any size & shape get trained diligently with the right parameters.

• Models get partitioned in order to execute the parallelism process. The training does not distort the domain knowledge.

• Boosting GPU (Graphics Processing Units) compute speeds for several & all training workloads.

• Reducing communication costs when training on cloud infrastructures.

Scaling of training processes

It is necessary to scale the training processes when the AI models & networks become extremely complex in due course. The distinguishing feature between Google GPipe & Microsoft PipeDream is the extent to which they support optimized performances of training workflows under all conditions!

Attributes of Google GPipe

• Google GPipe framework moves the partitioned models to different accelerators that include GPUs (Graphics Processing Units), or TPUs (Tensor Processing Units). These have special hardware optimized for different training workloads.

• Splits a mini-batch of training schedule into smaller micro-batches, processed by accelerators.

• Internode distributed learning gets enabled by the use of synchronous stochastic gradient descent as well as pipeline parallelism.

Attributes of Microsoft PipeDream

• Internode computation & communication, which lead to data parallelisms helps in training AI and coaching processes.

• The AI models get partitioned into a consecutive set of layers.

• Mapping of each stage into a separate GPU, which performs both forward & backward-pass neural network functions.

• Balancing of computational loads among various different model partitions & nodes.

• Minimizing communications among various distributed worker nodes, which handle various partitions.

A need for consensus & scalability

It is a well-known fact that training forms the critical feature that determines the success of an AI. The AI professionals distribute various workflows across multi-clouds and other distributed edges. Scalability is a key consideration in any kind of framework such as Google GPipe & Microsoft PipeDream.

Different types of learning processes help with the training of AI & deeper neural networks.

These processes include semi-supervised learning, reinforcement learning, collaborative learning, evolutionary learning, transfer learning, on-device training, and robot navigation learning. All these learnings help AI & deeper neural networks to execute parallelism and train themselves to evolve into better as well as useful entities.


Frameworks, Google GPipe, and Microsoft PipeDream work wonders by simplifying the whole coaching and training processes employed to teach AI & deep neural networks. Pipeline parallelism forms the crux behind both frameworks and simplifies the training or coaching processes. These are the main attributes of frameworks, Google GPipe & Microsoft PipeDream.