FlashDecoding++: Faster Large Language Model Inference on GPUs

As the Large Language Model (LLM) becomes increasingly important in various domains. However, the following challenges still remain unsolved in accelerating LLM inference: (1) Synchronized partial softmax update. The softmax operation requires a synchronized update operation among each partial softmax result, leading to ~20% overheads for the attention computation in LLMs. (2) Under-utilized computation of flat GEMM. The shape of matrices performing GEMM in LLM inference is flat, leading to under-utilized computation and >50% performance loss after padding zeros in previous designs. (3) Performance loss due to static dataflow. Kernel performance in LLM depends on varied input data features, hardware configurations, etc. A single and static dataflow may lead to a 50.25% performance loss for GEMMs of different shapes in LLM inference. We present FlashDecoding++, a fast LLM inference engine supporting mainstream LLMs and hardware back-ends. To tackle the above challenges, FlashDecoding++ creatively proposes: (1) Asynchronized softmax with unified max value. FlashDecoding++ introduces a unified max value technique for different partial softmax computations to avoid synchronization. (2) Flat GEMM optimization with double buffering. FlashDecoding++ points out that flat GEMMs with different shapes face varied bottlenecks. Then, techniques like double buffering are introduced. (3) Heuristic dataflow with hardware resource adaptation. FlashDecoding++ heuristically optimizes dataflow using different hardware resource considering input dynamics. Due to the versatility of optimizations in FlashDecoding++, FlashDecoding++ can achieve up to 4.86x and 2.18x speedup on both NVIDIA and AMD GPUs compared to Hugging Face implementations. FlashDecoding++ also achieves an average speedup of 1.37x compared to state-of-the-art LLM inference engines on mainstream LLMs.

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