TurboTransformers: An Efficient GPU Serving System For Transformer Models

9 Oct 2020  ·  Jiarui Fang, Yang Yu, Chengduo Zhao, Jie zhou ·

The transformer is the most critical algorithm innovation of the Nature Language Processing (NLP) field in recent years. Unlike the Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) models, Transformers can process on dimensions of sequence lengths in parallel, therefore leading to better accuracy on long sequences. However, efficient deployments of them for online services in data centers equipped with GPUs are not easy. First, more computation introduced by transformer structures makes it more challenging to meet the latency and throughput constraints of serving. Second, NLP tasks take in sentences of variable length. The variability of input dimensions brings a severe problem to efficient memory management and serving optimization. This paper designed a transformer serving system called TurboTransformers, which consists of a computing runtime and a serving framework to solve the above challenges. Three innovative features make it stand out from other similar works. An efficient parallel algorithm is proposed for GPU-based batch reduction operations, like Softmax and LayerNorm, major hot spots besides BLAS routines. A memory allocation algorithm, which better balances the memory footprint and allocation/free efficiency, is designed for variable-length input situations. A serving framework equipped with a new batch scheduler using dynamic programming achieves the optimal throughput on variable-length requests. The system can achieve the state-of-the-art transformer model serving performance on GPU platforms and can be seamlessly integrated into your PyTorch code with a few lines of code.

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