Maximizing Training Throughput Using PyTorch FSDP and Torch.compile

Maximizing Training Throughput Using PyTorch FSDP and Torch.compile

Recently, we demonstrated how FSDP and selective activation checkpointing can be used to achieve 57% MFU (Model Flops Utilization) for training a 7B model on A100 GPUs. We also demonstrated how it can train a high quality model, which we open sourced as Granite 7B base model on Hugging Face Hub under the Apache v2.0 license.

We continued our quest to improve the utilization of GPUs by leveraging torch.compile. Using torch.compile and the selective activation checkpointing from our previous work, we achieve a MFU of 68% for the 7B model on A100 GPUs! torch.compile improves training MFU between 10% and 23% for various model sizes.

This blog is organized into three parts: (1) Challenges addressed in order to train using torch.compile, (2) Numerical parity of compile with no-compile, and (3) MFU report.

We open sourced all the code and updated it in the fms-fsdp repository. We are also working with Team PyTorch at Meta to contribute these to the newly released torch titan repository for pre-training.

Challenges of using torch.compile

torch.compile is a graph compilation technique that improves GPU utilization. For details on how torch compile works, we refer the readers to the recent PyTorch paper and associated tutorials. A key challenge in getting torch.compile to perform well is to minimize (or eliminate) graph breaks. We initially started with the Llama implementation provided by Meta, but compiling it caused too many graph breaks resulting in reduced training throughput.

Several portions of the model architecture had to be fixed, with the most important one being the positional embedding layer (RoPE). The typical RoPE implementation uses complex numbers, which was not supported in torch.compile at the time of testing. We implemented RoPE using einops while maintaining parity with the original model architecture implementation. We had to properly cache the frequencies so that we did not run into graph breaks within the RoPE implementation.

Compiling an FSDP model does result in graph breaks, which the PyTorch team at Meta is working to remove. However, these graph breaks as of PyTorch 2.3 are at FSDP unit boundaries and do not affect throughput significantly.

When using custom kernels, we need to wrap each kernel by exposing its API to torch.compile. This involves indicating what parameters are modified in-place, how they are modified, and what shapes and strides will their return values have based on the inputs. In our case, SDPA Flash attention is already integrated appropriately and we were able to get that kernel to work with torch.compile with no graph breaks.

We also noticed that when increasing the amount of data from 2T to 6T tokens, the data loader became a bottleneck. A key reason for this is the fact that previously, we implemented document shuffling in our dataloader naively, by having each worker maintain a list of shuffled document pointers.

With the larger dataset, these pointer lists were growing to hundreds of thousands of entries per worker. Maintaining pointer lists at this scale became expensive enough that cpu contention throttled our training throughput. We re-implemented document shuffling without any pointer lists using a Linear Congruential Generator. LCG is a pseudorandom number generator algorithm that implements a random walk over a population, providing sampling without replacement.

We leveraged the same idea to produce implicit bijective mappings from ordered to shuffled document indices. This enables us to shrink those annoying lists of hundreds of thousands of pointers down to a single integer state for the LCG. This eliminated 80% of the bottleneck and provided a significant boost to our performance. We will devote a separate blog to go into all the details of our performant pre-training data loader.

Numerical Parity of torch.compile and

We had previously observed parity issues when training with compile and no-compile options, with one of these being related to the use of SDPA. After a few days of intense debugging sessions between the PyTorch teams at Meta and IBM, we were able to achieve parity between PyTorch compile and no-compile modes. To document and verify this parity, we take a mini-Llama model architecture of 1.4B size and train it to 100B tokens in four variations – no-compile, compile with no activation checkpointing, compile with selective activation checkpointing, and compile with full activation checkpointing.

We plot the loss curves and gradient norm for these options below:

Figure 1: Loss curve and gradient norm for various compile options

Figure 1: Loss curve and gradient norm for various compile options

Further, we run the lm-evaluation-harness and compare the various model scores on different benchmarks and observe no major differences between compile and no-compile, which is shown below.

Figure 2: lm-evaluation-harness comparison of various benchmarks between compile and no-compile

Figure 2: lm-evaluation-harness comparison of various benchmarks between compile and no-compile

We observe from all these results that compile with all its variants is equal to no-compile option, thus demonstrating parity between compile and no-compile.

MFU report

Finally, like our previous blog, we compute the MFU for four different model sizes on two clusters. One cluster is 128 A100 GPUs with 400 Gbps inter-node connectivity, and the other is 464 H100 GPUs with 3.2 Tbps inter-node connectivity. We use the selective activation checkpointing that we covered in the prior blog in addition to compile. We capture the results in the table below.

Model size Batch size MFU no-compile MFU compile Percentage gain (%)
7B 2 0.57 0.68 20
13B 2 0.51 0.60 17
34B 2 0.47 0.54 15
70B 2 0.50 0.55 10

Table 1: MFU results with compile and no compile for Llama2 model architectures on 128 A100 80GB GPUs with 400Gbps internode interconnect

Model size Batch size MFU no-compile MFU compile Percentage gain
7B 2 0.37 0.45 21
13B 2 0.35 0.43 23
34B 2 0.32 0.38 19
70B 2 0.32 0.38 19

Table 2: MFU results with compile and no compile for Llama2 model architectures on 464 H100 80GB GPUs with 3.2Tbps internode interconnect

We also had an internal production run on 448 GPUs using a Llama2 7B architecture. Using compile and selective activation checkpointing, with a global batch size of 3.7M, we trained for 4T tokens in 13 days 10 hours!

During training, the data center cooling had to kick in with extra air conditioning and our training team was alerted to this, since we were using the GPUs quite effectively ☺

One key observation from the tables 1 and 2 is that the MFU numbers do not linearly scale with model size. There are two possible explanations that we are actively investigating, one is the scalability of FSDP as model size increases and when tensor parallel needs to be enabled to more effectively use the GPU and the other is batch size, which can be increased further to get better MFU. We plan to explore FSDP v2 and selective operator checkpointing along with the tensor parallel feature to study the scaling laws of FSDP with model size.

Future Work

We plan to start testing FSDP v2 which will be released as part of PyTorch 2.4. FSDP2 provides per parameter sharding and selective operator checkpointing feature that can potentially provide even better memory-compute tradeoffs.

We have also been engaged with the PyTorch team at Meta to evaluate the new asynchronous checkpointing feature that can further improve the GPU utilization by reducing the time to write checkpoints.

We are exploring extending various Triton kernels currently used in inference to perform backward operations to gain speedups beyond inference only.

Finally, as recent work on use of fp8 is emerging, we plan to explore how we can even further accelerate model training using the new data type that promises a 2x acceleration.


There are several teams that have been involved in reaching this proof point and we would like to thank the teams across Meta and IBM. Specifically, we extend our gratitude to the Meta PyTorch distributed and compiler teams and IBM Research.

Multiple people were extensively involved in the effort of achieving torch.compile numerical parity with our models, and we wish to acknowledge the key folks involved in this effort; Animesh Jain and Less Wright at Meta, and Linsong Chu, Davis Wertheimer, Brian Vaughan, Antoni i Viros Martin, Mudhakar Srivatsa, and Raghu Ganti at IBM Research.

Special thanks to Stas Bekman, who provided extensive feedback and helped improve this blog. Their insights have been invaluable in highlighting key aspects of optimizing the training and exploring further enhancements.

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Achieving Sustainability Goals with PyTorch and Intel AI

Achieving Sustainability Goals with PyTorch and Intel AI

This post was contributed by Intel AI in partnership with the PyTorch Foundation.

In 2017, the UN Global Compact emphasized digital technology, particularly open source, as crucial for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), projecting a potential $2.1 trillion boost to the tech sector by 2030. The SDGs, part of the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” address global prosperity across various sectors.

The Linux Foundation’s Sustainability Initiative aligns projects with sustainable development goals. By assessing project impact, resources can be better allocated for enhancement. Intel is also a contributor to this initiative, and recently presented three use cases with PyTorch and Intel AI to address UN SDG-aligned issues.

Sustainability Goals

SDG 15: Life on Land

  • Using a bone likelihood map to pinpoint dinosaur bones, which paves the way for transfer learning to tackle contemporary challenges like wildfire prediction.
  • Employing transfer learning for wildfire prediction and generating data with Stable Diffusion.

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, Infrastructure

  • Identifying crucial minerals, oil, and gas through subsurface models.

Here are the key highlights from the workshops. Read below for a summary, and be sure to watch the full workshop videos and visit the GitHub repositories.

Session 1: Introduction to Dinosaur Bone Bed Maps

Bob Chesebrough recently led a PyTorch workshop demonstrating how to create a dinosaur bone bed map for Dinosaur National Monument. He shared footage of his discoveries and explained his AI-driven approach, utilizing geological data to pinpoint possible bone-rich areas.

Attendees learned to set up JupyterLab, access the training section, and launch a BASH shell. Bob’s classification model, applied to aerial images, facilitated heatmap generation to identify potential bone locations, refined through field data. The GitHub repo “Jurassic” guided participants through directory setup and model optimization steps.

Rahul Unnikrishnan Nair demonstrated the use of PyTorch, focusing on performance enhancements. The workshop covered modeling best practices, such as data transformations, class distribution, dropout layers, and efficient training methods. Training and scoring procedures were examined, with a focus on model accuracy and transportability to other regions. Heatmap creation involved cutting images into tiles, considering context for accurate environmental identification.

Watch the full workshop video here and visit the GitHub repository to access the code sample and experiment with the code using Intel ® Extension for PyTorch. Try it out with PyTorch and explore what works best for you. Happy dinosaur bone hunting!

Session 2: Seismic Data to Subsurface Models with OpenFWI: Training an AI Model with PyTorch

Seismic exploration is crucial for subsurface imaging in mineral and oil/gas exploration. Full waveform inversion (FWI) recreates subsurface sound wave velocities, akin to ultrasound for the Earth.

Ben Consolvo, an AI Software Engineering Manager at Intel, presented training AI models directly from seismic data using PyTorch on Intel high-performance processors. FWI, though accurate, is computationally intensive and relies on precise initial models. AI models offer an alternative approach, learning directly from data without the need for precise initializations. Ben explained the challenges of AI models, highlighting the need for diverse datasets and the potential use of CPUs for fine-tuning. He also discussed FWI’s surprising medical applications.

Watch the full video here and go to the paper for more details. The GitHub repo is OpenFWI.

Session 3: Using PyTorch to Aid Wildfire Prediction

Forest fires pose significant threats to ecosystems, wildlife, and communities. Machine learning presents a promising approach to enhance prediction accuracy. In this Earth Day webinar, Bob Chesebrough and Rahul Unnikrishnan Nair demonstrated image analysis techniques using the MODIS dataset which was used to predict early forest fire probabilities. Through fine-tuning a ResNet18 model with the Intel® Extension for PyTorch, pre-trained models were adjusted with aerial photos, utilizing geo-spatial and color data for fire risk assessment.

Emphasizing the temporal and geographical filtering requirements for dataset analysis, showcasing images from fire-affected areas like Paradise, CA, the model’s adaptability to different hardware configurations was highlighted, along with the utilization of Stable Diffusion for data synthesis when real datasets were unavailable. The presenters encouraged audience engagement in PyTorch experimentation for early fire detection by extending a challenge to leverage these tools for critical predictive tasks. Join them in this endeavor to enhance wildfire prevention and protection efforts.

Watch the full video here and go to the paper for more details. The GitHub repo is ForestFirePrediction.

About the Intel Speakers

Bob Chesebrough, Sr Solutions Architect

Bob Chesebrough’s industry experience is software development/AI solution engineering for Fortune 100 companies and national laboratories for over three decades. He is also a hobbyist who has logged over 800 miles and 1000 hours in the field finding dinosaur bones. He and his sons discovered an important fossil of the only known crocodilian from the Jurassic in New Mexico, they have also discovered and logged into the museum 2000+ bones localities and described a new mass bone bed in New Mexico.

Rahul Unnikrishnan Nair, Architect in Applied AI and the Engineering Lead at Intel® Liftoff

In his current role at Intel® Liftoff for Startups program, Rahul Nair brings his extensive experience in applied AI and engineering to mentor early-stage AI startups. His dedication lies in helping these startups transform their innovative ideas into fully-fledged, market-ready products with a strong emphasis on use-case-driven, practical engineering and optimization.

Ben Consolvo, AI Software Engineering Manager

Ben Consolvo is an AI Solutions Engineering Manager at Intel. He has been building a team and a program around Intel’s AI technology paired with Intel’s hardware offerings. He brings a background and passion in data science, particularly in deep learning (DL) and computer vision. He has applied his skills in DL in the cybersecurity industry to automatically identify phishing websites, as well as to the oil and gas industry to identify subsurface features for geophysical imaging.

Kelli Belcher, AI Solutions Engineer

Kelli Belcher is an AI Solutions Engineer at Intel with over 5 years of experience across the financial services, healthcare, and tech industries. In her current role, Kelli helps build Machine Learning solutions using Intel’s portfolio of open AI software tools. Kelli has experience with Python, R, SQL, and Tableau, and holds a Master of Science in Data Analytics from the University of Texas.

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Speeding up ViTs using Block Sparsity

Speeding up ViTs using Block Sparsity

TLDR: We show promising results of up to a 1.46x speedup with <2% drop in accuracy on float32 Vision Transformers on A100 GPUs by applying block sparsity on MLP module’s weights. This approach can potentially be applied to other types of transformers including large language models. Our implementation and benchmarks to reproduce our results are available at


PyTorch has landed a lot of improvements to CUDA kernels that implement block sparse matrix multiplications. Recent updates to Pytorch can lead up to 4.8x speedup on large matrix multiplication shapes with high sparsity levels over dense baselines.

In this blog, we show the promising results of applying block sparsity on weights of linear layers of MLP (multi-layer perceptron) layers in vision transformers (ViTs) and show end-to-end model speedups on A100 Nvidia GPUs.

As a recap, block sparsity sparsifies weights in tiles of blocks of predetermined size, rather than sparsifying individual elements. This particular sparsity pattern is interesting because it is amenable to GPU acceleration via fast sparse kernels. For more information about the differences between different sparsity patterns, or about sparsity as a whole, please check out torchao.

Illustrations of different types of sparsity.

Illustrations of different types of sparsity.


Our approach can be broken down into two distinct steps:

  1. Training the model from scratch using block sparse masks subnets.
  2. Folding these masks into our weights to accelerate them for inference.

We explain our training and inference steps below


Starting with an uninitialized Vision Transformer, we apply random trainable masks with a specified block size and sparsity level on the weights of output projection linear layer of attention blocks, the weights of the two linear layers inside the MLP, a.k.a., FFN (feed forward networks), as well as the final linear classification layer. The forward pass during training follows the supermask approach, as each mask is converted to binary map using a tuned threshold based on sparsity requirements, e.g., if we want 80% sparsity, we will have the threshold automatically tuned to keep top 20% weights. The masks are of a square <block size>x<block size> elements, where <block size> is a hyperparameter. The priority of the weights is dependent on the mask value or score which is trained. We multiply the binary masks of each layer with the weights to sparsify the model.

Illustration of the Supermask sparsification approach

Illustration of the Supermask sparsification approach.


After training, the dense weights can be turned to sparse weights by multiplying with the mask and stored for inference. At this stage, although the weights have a high percentage of zero values, they are still stored in dense format. We use PyTorch’s to_sparse_bsr() API to to convert the weights to Block Sparse Representation (BSR) format that stores only the non-zero values and the indices of their blocks. This step only needs to be done once and the results can be cached for runtime.

During runtime, no changes in code are required. We just pass any input tensor to the model, and when the forward() function of the sparsified linear layers are invoked, PyTorch takes care of invoking the optimized matrix multiplication for block sparse weights. This should work for A100 as well as H100 NVIDIA GPUs.

Results: Microbenchmarks

To validate the viability of block sparsity from a performance standpoint, we first ran a series of microbenchmarks using this simple script. Using the linear shapes from ViT-b, we compared the speedup of our block sparse kernels across a single linear layer as we varied the sparsity level and block size of the weight matrix.

We run using PyTorch 2.3.0.dev20240305+cu121 nightly on NVIDIA A100s and report the speedup of each sparsity configuration compared to dense baseline. We observed positive speedups when block size >=32 or sparsity level >= 0.8 for float32, while for bfloat16 we observe smaller speedups and usually for block size 64 and higher sparsities. Hence, for end-to-end speedups on the model, we will focus in this blog on float32 and leave bfloat16 for future work.

Micro benchmarking results on linear layers of ViT-b-16.

Micro benchmarking results on linear layers of ViT-b-16.

Micro benchmarking results on linear layers of ViT-b-16.

Results: Vision Transformers

Once we confirmed that we were able to show speedups over the linear layers, we focused on showing end-to-end speedups on ViT_B_16.

We trained this model from scratch on ImageNet dataset using the standard ViT_B_16 recipe. We show speedups for sparsifying MLP modules and leave sparsifying weights of input and output projections of attention for future work.

We looked at wall-clock inference speedup, focusing on batch size 256. We found that:

  • For 90% sparsity we can get 1.24x, 1.37x, 1.65x speedups for block sizes 16, 32, and 64 respectively.
  • To obtain speedup, the minimum sparsity for block sizes 16, 32, and 64 are 0.86, 0.82, and 0.7 respectively. Hence, as expected, the larger the block size, the smaller sparsity we need to obtain speedup.

We note a limitation of the sparse_bsr() API: that layers need to be multiples of the block size. Since the dimensions of the last FC classification layer in ViT was not a multiple of the block size, they were not converted to BSR representation in our experiments.

Speedup on ViT-b-16 with batch size 256 on MLP modules across different batch sparsities and block sizes.

Speedup on ViT-b-16 with batch size 256 on MLP modules across different batch sparsities and block sizes.

We also explored the speedup for different batch sizes for 90% sparsity. We observed a speedup over the baseline for batch sizes starting from 16 and upwards. While bigger block sizes have bigger speedups at the largest batch sizes, the smallest possible batch size to obtain >1 speedup is smaller for smaller block sizes.

We believe on-device hardware can obtain speedups for batch size 1 as they – unlike server GPUs – can be fully utilized at such small batch sizes.

Speedup on ViT-b-16 with 90% sparsity on MLP modules across different batch sizes and block sizes.

Speedup on ViT-b-16 with 90% sparsity on MLP modules across different batch sizes and block sizes.

Looking at the Top-1 accuracy on ImageNet=blurred test set of the sparsified models for different block sizes and sparsities, we see a few expected results:

  • low levels of sparsity (<=70%) have no meaningful regression in accuracy
  • mid levels of sparsity (>=80% to <90%) have limited regression in accuracy
  • high levels of sparsity (>=90%) removes so many weights that accuracy is significantly impacted

More research could be done to improve accuracies of higher sparsities and larger block sizes. We hope that the block sparsity support in PyTorch and the illustrated speedups in this blog will encourage researchers to explore more accurate sparsification approaches.

Accuracies on training ViT-b-16 on ImageNet-blurred using the SuperMask approach.

Accuracies on training ViT-b-16 on ImageNet-blurred using the SuperMask approach.

Next Steps

We have shown promising speedups for block sparsifying MLP modules ViT in float32 precision. There is still more work to be done in order to observe speedups on bfloat16 and we hope to obtain progress on that soon. Possible next steps to further optimize block sparsity on vision transformers and transformers in general:

  • Perform block sparsity on attention input and output projections.
  • Perform block sparsity during finetuning rather than training from scratch.
  • Perform further optimizations on the matmul kernels for ViT’s linear operator specific shapes (especially for 80% and lower sparsity).
  • Combine with other optimizations such as int8 and torch.compile()
  • Explore other weight sparsification algorithms, e.g., Spartan, to improve accuracy
  • Explore selecting weights to sparsify (e.g., specific transformer layers)

Please reach out to if you have questions or are interested in contributing to block sparsification!

Additionally if you’re broadly interested in sparsity please feel free to reach out to @jcaip / and please come check out torchao, a community we’re building for architecture optimization techniques like quantization and sparsity.

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Deep Learning Energy Measurement and Optimization

Deep Learning Energy Measurement and Optimization

Zeus logo

This post is authored by Jae-Won Chung, a PhD student at the University of Michigan and the lead of the ML.ENERGY Initiative.

Deep learning consumes quite a bit of energy. For instance, training a single 200B LLM on AWS p4d instances consumed around 11.9 GWh (source: CIDR 2024 keynote), which is an amount that can single-handedly power more than a thousand average US households for a year.

Zeus is an open-source toolbox for measuring and optimizing the energy consumption of deep learning workloads. Our goal is to make energy optimization based on accurate measurements as easy as possible for diverse deep learning workloads and setups by offering composable tools with minimal assumptions.

Zeus largely provides two types of tools:

  1. Programmatic and command line GPU energy measurement tools
  2. Several energy optimization tools that find the best ML and/or GPU configurations

Zeus can benefit those who would like to

  • measure and optimize their electricity cost
  • reduce heat dissipation from their GPUs (by lowering power draw)
  • report energy usage from research and development
  • reduce carbon footprint from electricity usage

Part 1: Measuring Energy

Just like performance optimization, accurate measurement is the basis of effective energy optimization. Popular proxies for estimating power consumption like the maximum power draw of the hardware can sometimes be vastly off compared to actual measurement.

To make energy measurement as easy and transparent as possible, the core utility Zeus offers is the ZeusMonitor class. Let’s take a look at the actual snippet:

from zeus.monitor import ZeusMonitor

# All four GPUs are measured simultaneously.
monitor = ZeusMonitor(gpu_indices=[0,1,2,3])

# Measure total time and energy within the window.
for e in range(100):

    # Measurement windows can arbitrarily be overlapped.
    for x, y in train_dataloader:
        y_hat = model(x)
        loss = criterion(y, y_hat)
    measurement = monitor.end_window("epoch")
    print(f"Epoch {e}: {measurement.time} s, {measurement.total_energy} J")

measurement = monitor.end_window("training")
print(f"Entire training: {measurement.time} s, {measurement.total_energy} J")

<script src=””></script>

What you see above is a typical PyTorch training loop which uses four GPUs for data parallel training. Inside, we created an instance of ZeusMonitor and passed in a list of GPU indices to monitor. Then, using the monitor, we can measure the time and energy consumption of arbitrary execution windows within the training script by pairing calls to begin_window and end_window. Multiple windows can overlap and nest in arbitrary ways without affecting the measurement of each, as long as their names are different.

ZeusMonitor adds very little overhead – typically single digit milliseconds – around the window. This allows ZeusMonitor to be used in various applications. For instance:

  • The ML.ENERGY Leaderboard: The first open-source benchmark on how much energy LLM text generation consumes.
  • The ML.ENERGY Colosseum: An online service that lets users compare LLM responses side-by-side based on response quality and energy consumption.

See our blog post for a deeper technical dive into accurate GPU energy measurement.

Part 2: Optimizing Energy

Let me introduce you to two of the energy optimizers provided by Zeus.


GPUs allow users to configure its maximum power draw, called power limit. Typically, as you lower the GPU’s power limit from the default maximum, computation may get slightly slower, but you’ll save disproportionately more energy. The GlobalPowerLimitOptimizer in Zeus automatically finds the optimal GPU power limit globally across all GPUs.

from zeus.monitor import ZeusMonitor
from zeus.optimizer.power_limit import GlobalPowerLimitOptimizer

# The optimizer measures time and energy through the ZeusMonitor.
monitor = ZeusMonitor(gpu_indices=[0,1,2,3])
plo = GlobalPowerLimitOptimizer(monitor)

for e in range(100):
    for x, y in train_dataloader:

        y_hat = model(x)
        loss = criterion(y, y_hat)


<script src=””></script>

In our familiar PyTorch training loop, we have instantiated GlobalPowerLimitOptimizer and passed it an instance of the ZeusMonitor, through which the optimizer sees the GPUs. Then, we just need to let the optimizer know about training progress (step and epoch boundaries), and the optimizer will transparently do all the necessary profiling and converge to the optimal power limit.

If you’re using the HuggingFace Trainer or SFTTrainer, integration is even easier:

from zeus.monitor import ZeusMonitor
from zeus.optimizer.power_limit import HFGlobalPowerLimitOptimizer

# ZeusMonitor actually auto-detects CUDA_VISIBLE_DEVICES.
monitor = ZeusMonitor()
pl_optimizer = HFGlobalPowerLimitOptimizer(monitor)

# Pass in the optimizer as a Trainer callback. Also works for SFTTrainer.
trainer = Trainer(

<script src=””></script>

The HFGlobalPowerLimitOptimizer wraps GlobalPowerLimitOptimizer so that it automatically detects step and epoch boundaries. We have example integrations here, including running Gemma 7B supervised fine-tuning with QLoRA.

Now, we know how to integrate the optimizer, but what is the optimal power limit? We know different users can have different preferences regarding trading off time and energy, so we allow users to specify an OptimumSelector (basically the Strategy Pattern) to express their needs.

# Built-in strategies for selecting the optimal power limit.
from zeus.optimizer.power_limit import (

# Minimize energy while tolerating at most 10% slowdown.
plo = GlobalPowerLimitOptimizer(

<script src=””></script>

Some of the built-in strategies include “Minimize time” (Time, this might still reduce the power limit from the default since some workloads exhibit almost no slowdown even on lower power limits), “Minimize energy” (Energy), “Somewhere in between” (ZeusCost), and “Minimize energy given maximum slowdown” (MaxSlowdownConstraint). Users can also create their own optimum selectors as needed.


The pipeline frequency optimizer, based on our research paper Perseus, is our latest work on energy optimization for large model training, like GPT-3. Perseus can reduce the energy consumption of large model training with no or negligible training throughput degradation. We’ll briefly talk about how.

one iteration of training with four stage pipeline parallelism

The above is a visualization of one iteration of training with four stage pipeline parallelism running with the 1F1B schedule. Each box is either a forward or a backward computation, and is colored with its power consumption.

The key observation here is that when models are partitioned into pipeline stages, it’s very difficult to slice them in perfectly equal sizes. This leads to forward/backward boxes of varying widths and therefore computation idle time between boxes. You would notice that those smaller boxes can run slightly slower than wider boxes and the overall critical path (blue line) will not change at all.

one iteration of training with four stage pipeline parallelism

That’s what Perseus automatically does. Based on profiling, it identifies computation boxes that are not on the critical path and figures out the precise amount of slowdown for each box that minimizes energy consumption. When done correctly, computations we slowed down will consume less power & energy, but the overall iteration time of the pipeline does not change.

See our guide to get started with Perseus!

Final Words

For users who run their own on-premise compute, energy consumption and the resulting electricity bill is not something that can be easily overlooked. On a larger scale, energy consumption is not just about electricity bills, but also about data center power delivery. With thousands of GPUs running in clusters, finding stable, affordable, and sustainable electricity sources to power data centers is becoming increasingly challenging. Finding ways to reduce energy disproportionately more than slowdown leads to lower average power consumption, which can help with the power delivery challenge.

With Zeus, we hope to take the first step towards deep learning energy measurement and optimization.

Wondering where to go from here? Here are a couple helpful links:

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Introducing depyf: mastering torch.compile with ease

Introducing depyf: mastering torch.compile with ease

depyf logo

We are thrilled to introduce depyf, a new project to the PyTorch ecosystem designed to help users understand, learn, and adapt to torch.compile!


torch.compile is a cornerstone of PyTorch 2.x, offering a straightforward path to accelerate machine learning workflows with just a single line of code for both training and inference. The mere inclusion of @torch.compile can dramatically enhance the performance of your code. However, identifying the optimal insertion point for torch.compile is not easy, not to mention the complexity of adjusting various knobs for maximum efficiency.

The intricacies of the torch.compile stack, encompassing Dynamo, AOTAutograd, Inductor, and more, present a steep learning curve. These components, essential for deep learning performance optimization, can be daunting without a solid foundation in the subject.

Note: For an introductory example of how torch.compile works, please refer to this walk-through explanation.


To demystify torch.compile, the common approach involves leveraging the TORCH_COMPILE_DEBUG environment variable. While it provides more information, deciphering the output remains a formidable task.

For example, when we have the following code:

import torch
from torch import _dynamo as torchdynamo
from typing import List

def toy_example(a, b):
   x = a / (torch.abs(a) + 1)
   if b.sum() < 0:
       b = b * -1
   return x * b

def main():
   for _ in range(100):
       toy_example(torch.randn(10), torch.randn(10))

if __name__ == "__main__":

And run it with TORCH_COMPILE_DEBUG=1 python , we will get a directory named torch_compile_debug/run_2024_02_05_23_02_45_552124-pid_9520 , under which there are these files:

├── torchdynamo
│   └── debug.log
└── torchinductor
   ├── aot_model___0_debug.log
   ├── aot_model___10_debug.log
   ├── aot_model___11_debug.log
   ├── model__4_inference_10.1
   │   ├──
   │   ├──
   │   ├──
   │   ├── ir_post_fusion.txt
   │   ├── ir_pre_fusion.txt
   │   └──
   ├── model__5_inference_11.2
   │   ├──
   │   ├──
   │   ├──
   │   ├── ir_post_fusion.txt
   │   ├── ir_pre_fusion.txt
   │   └──
   └── model___9.0
       ├── ir_post_fusion.txt
       ├── ir_pre_fusion.txt

The generated files and logs often raise more questions than they answer, leaving developers puzzled over the meaning and relationships within the data. Common puzzles for TORCH_COMPILE_DEBUG include:

  • What does model__4_inference_10.1 mean?
  • I have one function but three in the directory, what is their correspondence?
  • What are those LOAD_GLOBAL stuff in debug.log ?

A better tool: depyf comes to rescue

Let’s see how depyf can help developers to resolve the above challenges. To use depyf , simply execute pip install depyf or follow the project page to install the latest version, and then surround the main code within with depyf.prepare_debug .

import torch
from torch import _dynamo as torchdynamo
from typing import List

def toy_example(a, b):
   x = a / (torch.abs(a) + 1)
   if b.sum() < 0:
       b = b * -1
   return x * b

def main():
   for _ in range(100):
       toy_example(torch.randn(10), torch.randn(10))

if __name__ == "__main__":
   import depyf
   with depyf.prepare_debug("depyf_debug_dir"):

After executing python , depyf will produce a directory named depyf_debug_dir (the argument of the prepare_debug function). Under the directory, there would be these files:

├── __compiled_fn_0 AFTER POST GRAD
├── __compiled_fn_0 Captured Graph
├── __compiled_fn_0 Forward graph
├── __compiled_fn_0 kernel
├── __compiled_fn_3 AFTER POST GRAD
├── __compiled_fn_3 Captured Graph
├── __compiled_fn_3 Forward graph
├── __compiled_fn_3 kernel
├── __compiled_fn_4 AFTER POST GRAD
├── __compiled_fn_4 Captured Graph
├── __compiled_fn_4 Forward graph
├── __compiled_fn_4 kernel

And there are two obvious benefits:

  1. The long and difficult-to-understand torchdynamo/debug.log is gone. Its content is cleaned up and shown as human-readable source code, in and __transformed_code_{n} . It is worth to note, that the most tedious and difficult job of depyf is to decompile the bytecode inside torchdynamo/debug.log into Python source code, freeing developers from intimidating internals of Python.
  2. The correspondence between function names and computation graphs are respected. For example, in , we can see a function named __compiled_fn_0 , and we will immediately know its corresponding computation graphs are in , because they share the same __compiled_fn_0 prefix name.

Starting with , and following the functions involved, users will have a clear view of what torch.compile does to their code.

One more thing: step-through debuggability

Stepping through code line by line using debuggers is a great way to understand how code works. However, under TORCH_COMPILE_DEBUG , those files are only for users’ information, and cannot be executed with the data users concern.

Note: By “debug”, we mean the process of inspecting and improving a program, rather than correcting buggy code.

A standout feature of depyf is its capability to facilitate step-through debugging for torch.compile: all of the files it generates are linked with runtime code objects inside Python interpreter, and we can set breakpoints in these files. The usage is simple, just add one context manager with depyf.debug() , and it should do the trick:

import torch
from torch import _dynamo as torchdynamo
from typing import List

def toy_example(a, b):
   x = a / (torch.abs(a) + 1)
   if b.sum() < 0:
       b = b * -1
   return x * b

def main():
   for _ in range(100):
       toy_example(torch.randn(10), torch.randn(10))

if __name__ == "__main__":
   import depyf
   with depyf.prepare_debug("depyf_debug_dir"):
   with depyf.debug():

Just one caveat: the workflow of debugging torch.compile deviates from standard debugging workflow. With torch.compile, many codes are dynamically generated. Therefore, we need to:

  1. launch the program
  2. when the program exits with depyf.prepare_debug("depyf_debug_dir") , code will be available in depyf_debug_dir.
  3. when the program enters with depyf.debug() , it will automatically set a breakpoint internally, so that the program is paused.
  4. navigate to depyf_debug_dir to set breakpoints.
  5. continue to run the code, and debuggers will hit these breakpoints!

depyf screenshot

Here is a screenshot of what it looks like. All code and tensor variables are live, and we can inspect any variable, and step through the code, as in our daily debugging workflow now! The only difference is that we are debugging torch.compile generated code rather than human-written code.


torch.compile serves as an invaluable tool for accelerating PyTorch code effortlessly. For those looking to delve deeper into torch.compile, whether to leverage its full potential or to integrate custom operations, the learning curve can be very steep though. depyf is designed to lower this barrier, offering a user-friendly experience to understand, learn, and adapt to torch.compile.

Do explore depyf and experience its benefits firsthand! The project is open-source and readily available at Installation is straightforward via pip install depyf. We hope depyf can enhance everyone’s development workflow with torch.compile.

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Enhancing Deep Learning Workflows: PyTorch Ecosystem Tools

Welcome to the thriving PyTorch ecosystem, where a wealth of tools and libraries await, purpose-built to elevate your experience in deep learning as a developer or researcher. The Ecosystem Tools pages host many projects from experts spanning academia, industry, application development, and machine learning.

Initially, PyTorch aimed to establish a thriving community, enabling developers to access each other’s tools, engage in meaningful discussions, and explore the wealth of resources available within the community.

Today, the PyTorch ecosystem has grown to feature over 100 projects tailored to your needs, providing robust support, enhanced speed, and effortless integration with PyTorch. If your project aligns with our mission, we invite you to submit it and join this dynamic ecosystem.

New this month, we’ve moved all of our Ecosystem blogs over to our website to host a space where our community can show off the latest innovations with our users. Read on to hear about the latest projects in the ecosystem!

Explore the Latest Tools and Frameworks in the Ecosystem

As we continue into 2024, we’re thrilled to showcase an impressive array of ecosystem tools that significantly enrich the PyTorch community. These tools cover a wide range of domains, including pose estimation, profiling, and even quantum computing. Let’s explore each one to witness firsthand how they are reshaping the PyTorch landscape, opening up exciting possibilities for developers.


Anomalib is a deep learning library that aims to collect state-of-the-art anomaly detection algorithms for benchmarking on both public and private datasets. Anomalib provides several ready-to-use implementations of anomaly detection algorithms described in the recent literature, as well as a set of tools that facilitate the development and implementation of custom models. The library has a strong focus on image-based anomaly detection, where the goal of the algorithm is to identify anomalous images, or anomalous pixel regions within images in a dataset. Anomalib is constantly updated with the latest algorithms and training/inference extensions.


Diffusers is a library within the PyTorch ecosystem that focuses on model interpretability. It offers a suite of tools and techniques to explain the decisions made by deep learning models. With Diffusers, developers can gain insights into model behavior, understand feature importance, and detect potential biases. By making deep learning models more transparent, Diffusers promotes fairness, accountability, and robustness in AI applications.


Pomegranate is a versatile machine learning library that integrates seamlessly with PyTorch. It provides a wide range of probabilistic models and tools for probabilistic modeling tasks. Pomegranate empowers users to build complex models such as hidden Markov models (HMMs), Bayesian networks, and Gaussian mixture models (GMMs). By combining the strengths of PyTorch and Pomegranate, developers can leverage the power of deep learning and probabilistic modeling to tackle various machine learning challenges.


PyPose is a PyTorch-based library designed for pose estimation tasks. With PyPose, developers can efficiently train and deploy models for human pose estimation, a fundamental computer vision problem. By leveraging PyTorch’s flexibility and performance, PyPose simplifies the process of building accurate pose estimation models. Its intuitive APIs and pre-trained models make it an excellent choice for researchers and developers exploring human pose estimation applications.


A python toolbox/library for data mining on partially-observed time series with PyTorch, including SOTA models supporting tasks of imputation, classification, clustering, and forecasting on incomplete (irregularly-sampled) multivariate time series with missing values.

OctoML Profiler

OctoML Profiler is a performance profiling tool that aids in optimizing PyTorch models. This tool helps developers identify performance bottlenecks and inefficiencies within their deep learning models. By providing insights into memory usage, compute time, and data movement, the OctoML Profiler enables developers to fine-tune their models for improved efficiency. With this valuable feedback, developers can optimize their models for deployment on various hardware platforms.

Open Compass

OpenCompass is a one-stop platform for large model evaluation, aiming to provide a fair, open, and reproducible benchmark for large model evaluation. Its main features include: Comprehensive support for models and datasets, efficient distributed evaluation, diversified evaluation paradigms, modular design with high extensibility and experiment management and reporting mechanism.


Renate is a PyTorch-based library for neural architecture search (NAS). It simplifies the process of automatically searching for optimal neural network architectures tailored to specific tasks. Renate leverages techniques like reinforcement learning and evolutionary algorithms to efficiently explore the architecture space. By using Renate, developers can save significant time and resources while discovering highly performant models.


RoMa is a standalone library to handle rotation representations with PyTorch (rotation matrices, quaternions, rotation vectors, etc). It aims for robustness, ease-of-use, and efficiency.


Substra is an open source federated learning (FL) software. It enables the training and validation of machine learning models on distributed datasets. It provides a flexible Python interface and a web application to run federated learning training at scale. Substra’s main usage is in production environments. It has already been deployed and used by hospitals and biotech companies. Substra can also be used on a single machine to perform FL simulations and debug code.


TorchQuantum is a powerful library that combines the PyTorch framework with quantum computing concepts. It enables developers to explore quantum machine learning algorithms and build hybrid classical-quantum models. By integrating the principles of quantum computing into PyTorch, TorchQuantum opens up new possibilities for solving complex problems that traditional deep learning approaches may struggle with.


The TIAToolbox (Text-Image-Augmentation Toolbox) is a PyTorch library designed to augment text and image data for deep learning tasks. It offers a comprehensive set of tools for data augmentation, including transformations, noise injection, and image/text synthesis. By applying TIAToolbox, developers can enrich their training datasets, improve model generalization, and enhance the robustness of their deep learning models.


torchdistill is a coding-free framework built on PyTorch for reproducible deep learning and knowledge distillation studies. The framework is designed to enable users to design experiments by declarative PyYAML configuration files and supports high-level module abstractions.


TorchOpt is a PyTorch library focused on optimization algorithms for deep learning. It provides a collection of state-of-the-art optimization techniques, such as stochastic gradient descent (SGD) variants, adaptive learning rate methods, and optimization schedules. TorchOpt empowers developers to fine-tune their models efficiently, converge faster, and achieve better performance in various deep learning tasks.


USB, or Unified Speech-to-Text Benchmark, is a PyTorch-based toolkit for training and evaluating speech recognition models. It provides standardized datasets and evaluation metrics to facilitate fair and accurate comparisons between different speech recognition architectures. By using USB, researchers and developers can benchmark their models against state-of-the-art systems and drive advancements in the field of automatic speech recognition.


Zeus is the current state-of-the-art in deep learning energy measurement and optimization. It has monitor components that allow users to measure GPU energy consumption and optimizer components that automatically optimize DNN or GPU knobs based on measurements from the monitor component.

Be Part of Our Ecosystem

Our diverse ecosystem tools are instrumental in PyTorch’s success.. They provide essential support for tasks such as pose estimation, probabilistic modeling, performance profiling, model interpretability, speech recognition, quantum computing, data augmentation, optimization, and neural architecture search.

Leveraging these tools empowers developers and researchers to accelerate their deep learning workflows and unlock new possibilities in the field of AI.

Have a tool that would be a good fit for the PyTorch Ecosystem? If you can answer the below questions, we’d love for you to submit your tool for review.

  1. Does your project complement PyTorch, enhancing user experience, introducing new capabilities, or accelerating training and inference processes?
    • Examples could include visualization tools, a kernel library or a framework that sits on top to enable research in a particular area such as NLP.
  2. Is the project ready for broad developer usage?
    • For example, is the project stable, will it be maintained, and is there adequate supporting infrastructure, documentation, and technical support to allow a developer to successfully use it?

Thank you to all of our contributors and collaborators in our ecosystem! Here’s to a great 2024.

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A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Speculative Decoding

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Speculative Decoding

Speculative decoding is an optimization technique for inference that makes educated guesses about future tokens while generating the current token, all within a single forward pass. It incorporates a verification mechanism to ensure the correctness of these speculated tokens, thereby guaranteeing that the overall output of speculative decoding is identical to that of vanilla decoding. Optimizing the cost of inference of large language models (LLMs) is arguably one of the most critical factors in reducing the cost of generative AI and increasing its adoption. Towards this goal, various inference optimization techniques are available, including custom kernels, dynamic batching of input requests, and quantization of large models.

In this blog post, we provide a guide to speculative decoding and demonstrate how it can coexist with other optimizations. We are proud to open source the following, which includes the first speculator for Llama3 models:

  1. Speculator models for Meta Llama3 8B, IBM Granite 7B lab, Meta Llama2 13B, and Meta Code Llama2 13B.
  2. The code for inference via IBM’s fork of HF TGI.
  3. The code for training your own speculators and corresponding recipes.

We have deployed these speculators in an internal production-grade environment with thousands of daily users and observed 2x speedup on language models – Llama3 8B, Llama2 13B, and IBM Granite 7B and 3x speedup on IBM’s Granite 20B code models. We provide a detailed explanation of our approach in this technical report and are planning in-depth analysis in an upcoming ArXiv paper.

Speculative decoding: Inference

We run IBM TGIS in our internal production environment that has optimizations such as continuous batching, fused kernels, and quantization kernels. To enable speculative decoding in TGIS, we modified the paged attention kernel from vLLM. In what follows, we will describe the key changes to the inference engine to enable speculative decoding.

Speculative decoding is based on the premise that the model is powerful enough to predict multiple tokens in a single forward pass. However, the current inference servers are optimized to predict only a single token at a time. In our approach, we attach multiple speculative heads (in addition to the usual one) to the LLM to predict N+1-, N+2-, N+3-th … token. For example, 3 heads will predict 3 additional tokens. Details of the speculator architecture are explained in a later part of this blog. There are two challenges to achieve efficiency and correctness during inference – one is to predict without replicating KV-cache and the other is to verify that the predictions match the original model’s outcomes.

In a typical generation loop, after the prompt is processed in a single forward step, a sequence length of 1 (next token predicted) is fed into the forward pass of the model along with the kv-cache. In a naive speculative decoding implementation, each speculative head would have its own kv-cache, but instead we modify the paged attention kernel developed in the vLLM project to enable efficient kv-cache maintenance. This ensures that throughput does not reduce at larger batch sizes. Further, we modify the attention masks to enable verification of the N+1’th token and thus enable speculative decoding without deviating from the original model’s output. The details of this implementation are captured here.


We illustrate the speedup obtained with the Meta’s chat versions of Llama2 13B using a simple prompt.

Visual illustration of the non-speculative generation (left) compared to speculative generation (right)

Figure 2: Visual illustration of the non-speculative generation (left) compared to speculative generation (right)

We deployed the above solution in an internal production environment. The figure below reports two metrics – time to first token (TTFT) and inter-token latency (ITL) with different numbers of concurrent users (which is captured in the numbers on the graph lines). We observe that the speculative decoding version is nearly twice as fast for the Llama2 13B chat model and nearly thrice as fast for the Granite 20B code model compared to the non-speculative version for all batch sizes. We observe similar behavior for the smaller models – IBM’s Granite 7B and Meta Llama3 8B models.

Time to first token (TTFT - left) and Inter-token latency (ITL - right) for Llama 13B with number of concurrent users indicated on the graph

Figure 3: Time to first token (TTFT – left) and Inter-token latency (ITL – right) for Llama 13B with number of concurrent users indicated on the graph

Time to first token (TTFT - left) and Inter-token latency (ITL - right) for Granite 20B Code with number of concurrent users indicated on the graph

Figure 4: Time to first token (TTFT – left) and Inter-token latency (ITL – right) for Granite 20B Code with number of concurrent users indicated on the graph

Note on efficiency

We performed numerous experiments to determine the right configuration for speculator training. These are:

  1. Speculator architecture: The current approach allows for the number of heads to be modified, which maps to the number of tokens that we can look ahead. Increasing the number of heads also increases the amount of extra compute needed and complexity of training. In practice, for language models, we find 3-4 heads works well in practice, whereas we found that code models can reap benefits from 6-8 heads.
  2. Compute: Increasing the number of heads results in increased compute in two dimensions, one is that of increased latency for a single forward pass as well as the compute needed for multiple tokens. If the speculator is not accurate with more heads, it will result in wasted compute increasing the latency and reducing the throughput.
  3. Memory: The increased compute is offset by the roundtrips to HBM that need to be done for each forward pass. Note that if we get 3 tokens lookahead correct, we have saved three round trip times on HBM.

We settled on 3-4 heads for the language models and 6-8 heads for the code models and across different model sizes ranging from 7B to 20B, we observed significant latency improvements without throughput loss compared to non-speculative decoding. We begin to observe throughput reduction beyond a batch size of 64, which happens rarely in practice.

Speculative decoding: Training

There are two broad approaches for speculative decoding, one is to leverage a smaller model (e.g., Llama 7B as a speculator for Llama 70B) and the other is to attach speculator heads (and train them). In our experiments, we find the approach of attaching speculator heads to be more effective both in model quality and latency gains.

Speculator architecture

Medusa made speculative decoding popular; their approach is to add a head to the existing model which is then trained to do speculation. We modify the Medusa architecture by making the “heads” hierarchical, where each head stage predicts a single token and then feeds it to the next head stage. These multi-stage heads are depicted in the below figure. We are exploring ways of minimizing the embeddings table by sharing these across the multiple stages and base model.

A simple architecture diagram for a 3-headed multi-stage  speculator. Z is the state from the base model.

Figure 4: A simple architecture diagram for a 3-headed multi-stage speculator. Z is the state from the base model.

Speculator training

We have a two-phase approach to training a speculator for efficiency reasons. In the first phase, we train on small batches with long sequence lengths (4k tokens) and use the standard causal LM approach for training. In phase 2, we use large batches with short sequence lengths (256 tokens) generated from the base model. In this training phase, we tune the heads to match the output of the base model. Through numerous experiments, we find that a 5:2 ratio of steps for phase 1 vs phase 2 works well. We depict the progress of these phases in the below figure. We use PyTorch FSDP and IBM FMS for the training of speculators.

Per-head training loss curves for Llama2-13B speculator training, phase 1 and 2

Figure 5: Per-head training loss curves for Llama2-13B speculator training, phase 1 and 2

Conclusion and Future Work

Through this blog, we are releasing a new approach for speculative decoding and the following assets:

  1. Models for improving the inter-token latencies for a range of models – Llama3 8B, Llama2 13B, Granite 7B, and CodeLlama 13B
  2. Production quality code for inference
  3. Recipes for training speculators

We are working on training speculators for Llama3 70B and Mistral models and invite the community to contribute as well as help improve on our framework. We would also love to work with major open source serving frameworks such as vLLM and TGI to contribute back our speculative decoding approach to benefit the community.


There are several teams that helped us get to these latency improvements for inference. We would like to thank the vLLM team for creating the paged attention kernel in a clean and reusable manner. We extend our gratitude to the Team PyTorch at Meta that helped provide feedback on this blog as well as continued efforts on optimal usage of PyTorch. Special thanks to our internal production teams at IBM Research who took this prototype to production and hardened it. A shout out to Stas Bekman for providing insightful comments on the blog resulting in an improved explanation of the tradeoffs between compute, memory, and speculator effectiveness.

The paged attention kernel was integrated into IBM FMS by Josh Rosenkranz and Antoni Viros i Martin. The speculator architecture and training was done by Davis Wertheimer, Pavithra Ranganathan, and Sahil Suneja. The integration of the modeling code with the inference server was done by Thomas Parnell, Nick Hill, and Prashant Gupta.

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Announcing PyTorch Docathon June, 2024

We are thrilled to announce the upcoming PyTorch Docathon in June! The Docathon, akin to a hackathon, is an event dedicated to enhancing the quality of the PyTorch documentation with the invaluable assistance of our community. Documentation is a vital component of any technology. By refining it, we can simplify the process for new users to get started with PyTorch, guide them in effectively utilizing its features, and ultimately expedite the transition from research to production in machine learning. See our previous events here and here.

Why Participate

The Docathon is an inclusive event designed to be accessible to newcomers, requiring only a basic understanding of Python, PyTorch, and Machine Learning, with some tasks not even requiring these skills. It offers a rewarding experience as participants can see the direct impact of their contributions on the project’s usability and accessibility. The Docathon promotes a collaborative environment, allowing participants to work with other contributors and PyTorch maintainers, fostering the exchange of ideas and networking. It also provides a rich learning experience, offering the opportunity to explore PyTorch modules, update docstrings, and test tutorials.

Event Details

June 4: Kick-off
June 4-June 16: Submissions and Feedback
June 17-18: Final Reviews
June 20: Winner Announcements

Further details for the Docathon will be announced at the Kick-off call on June 4.

Please register to join this year’s event.

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Accelerating Llama3 FP8 Inference with Triton Kernels

Accelerating Llama3 FP8 Inference with Triton Kernels

1.0 Summary

We present an optimized Triton FP8 GEMM (General Matrix-Matrix Multiply) kernel TK-GEMM, which leverages SplitK parallelization. For small batch size inference, TK-GEMM delivers up to 1.94x over the base Triton matmul implementation, 1.87x speedup over cuBLAS FP8 and 1.71x over cuBLAS FP16 for Llama3-70B inference problem sizes on NVIDIA H100 GPUs.

TK-GEMM Speedup over PyTorch (calling cuBLAS) for Llama3-70B Attention Layer Matrix Shapes (N=K=8192)

Figure 1. TK-GEMM Speedup over PyTorch (calling cuBLAS) for Llama3-70B Attention Layer Matrix Shapes (N=K=8192)

In this blog, we will cover how we designed an optimized kernel using Triton for FP8 inference and tuned it for Lama3-70B inference. We will cover FP8 (8-bit floating point), a new datatype supported by Hopper generation GPUs (SM90), the key SM90 features that Triton supports, and how we modified the parallelization to be able to maximize memory throughput for memory-bound (inference) problem sizes.

We also dedicate a section on CUDA graphs, an important technology that will help materialize kernel level speedups and enable developers who want to use Triton kernels in production settings to get additional performance gain.

Repo and code available at:

2.0 FP8 Datatype

The FP8 datatype was introduced jointly by Nvidia, Arm and Intel and serves as a successor to 16-bit floating point types. With half the bit count, it has the potential to provide significant throughput improvements over its predecessors for Transformer networks. The FP8 datatype consists of 2 formats:

E4M3 (4-bit exponent and 3-bit mantissa). Able to store +/ 448 and nan.
E5M2 (5-bit exponent and 2-bit mantissa). Able to store +/- 57,334, nan and inf.

BF16, FP16, FP8 E4M3 and FP8 E5M2

Above: BF16, FP16, FP8 E4M3 and FP8 E5M2.
To show precision differences, the closest representation to 0.3952 is shown in each format.
Image Credit: Nvidia

We use E4M3 in inference and forward pass training due its higher precision and E5M2 in training backward pass due to its higher dynamic range. Nvidia has designed their H100 FP8 Tensor Core to provide a peak of 3958 TFLOPS, 2x the FLOPS of the FP16 Tensor Core.

We designed our Triton kernel with these hardware innovations in mind and in the rest of the blog we will discuss methods to leverage and verify that these features are indeed being utilized by the Triton compiler.

3.0 Triton Hopper Support and FP8 Tensor Core Instruction

The Hopper GPU architecture has added the following new features that we can expect will accelerate FP8 GEMM.

  • TMA (Tensor Memory Accelerator) Hardware Unit
  • WGMMA (Warp Group Matrix Multiply-Accumulate Instruction)
  • Threadblock Clusters

Triton currently takes advantage of one of these features, the wgmma instruction, whereas PyTorch (calling cuBLAS) leverages all 3 which makes these speedups even more impressive. To fully take advantage of the Hopper FP8 Tensor Core, the wgmma is necessary even though the older mma.sync instruction is still supported.

The key difference between the mma and wgmma instructions is that instead of 1 CUDA warp being responsible for an output shard, an entire warp group, 4 CUDA warps, asynchronously contributes to an output shard.

To see what this instruction looks like in practice, and to verify that our Triton Kernel is indeed utilizing this feature we analyzed the PTX and SASS assembly using nsight compute.

PTX Assembly

Figure 2. PTX Assembly

This instruction is further lowered into a QGMMA instruction in SASS.

SASS Assembly

Figure 3. SASS Assembly

Both instructions tell us that we are multiplying two FP8 E4M3 input tensors and accumulating in F32, which confirms that the TK-GEMM Kernel is utilizing the FP8 Tensor Core and the lowering is being done correctly.

4.0 SplitK Work Decomposition

TK-GEMM vs Base Triton GEMM TFLOPS for M = 1-64

Figure 4. TK-GEMM vs Base Triton GEMM TFLOPS for M = 1-64

The base Triton FP8 GEMM implementation does not perform well for the small M regime, where for a matrix multiplication of A (MxN) x B (NxK), M < N, K. To optimize for this type matrix profile we applied a SplitK work decomposition instead of the Data Parallel decomposition found in the base Triton kernel. This greatly improved latencies for the small M regime.

For background, SplitK launches additional thread blocks along the k dimension to calculate partial output sums. The partial results from each thread block are then summed using an atomic reduction. This allows for finer grained work decomposition with resultant performance improvements. More details on SplitK are available in our arxiv paper.

After carefully tuning the other relevant hyperparameters for our kernel such as tile sizes, number of warps and the number of pipeline stages to Llama3-70B problem sizes we were able to produce up to 1.94x speedup over the Triton base implementation. For a more comprehensive introduction to hyperparameter tuning, see our blog.

NCU profiler times for TK-GEMM under varying batch sizes, and compared with PyTorch (calling cuBLAS) FP8 and FP16.

Above: NCU profiler times for TK-GEMM under varying batch sizes, and compared with PyTorch (calling cuBLAS) FP8 and FP16.

Note that starting at M=32, the cuBLAS FP8 kernel starts to outperform TK-GEMM. For M >= 32, we suspect that hyperparameters we found are not optimal, and thus another set of experiments is required to determine the optimal parameters for the mid-sized M regime.

5.0 CUDA Graphs to Enable End-to-End Speedup

To be able to realize these speedups in an end-to-end setting, we must take into account both the kernel execution time (GPU duration) as well as the wall time (CPU+GPU) duration. Triton kernels, which are handwritten (as opposed to torch compile generated) are known to suffer from high-kernel launch latencies. If we use torch profiler to trace the TK-GEMM kernel we can see the call stack on the CPU side to pinpoint exactly what is causing the slowdown.

CPU Launch Overhead: 2.413ms

Figure 5. CPU Launch Overhead: 2.413ms

From above, we see that the majority of the wall time of our optimized kernel is dominated by JIT (Just-in-Time) compilation overhead. To combat this we can use CUDA graphs.

CUDA Graphs Visualization

Figure 6. CUDA Graphs Visualization
Image Credit: PyTorch

The key idea is instead of multiple kernel launches, we instead can create and instantiate a graph (1 time cost) and then submit that instance of the graph for execution. To illustrate this point we simulate a Llama3-70B Attention layer, As shown in the below figure generated using nsight systems, the time between each GEMM is 165us compared to the 12us spent on the actual matmul due the CPU kernel launch overhead. This means that 92% of the time of the time in an Attention layer the GPU is idle and not doing any work.

Simulated Llama3-70B Attention Layer with TK-GEMM

Figure 7. Simulated Llama3-70B Attention Layer with TK-GEMM

To show the impact of CUDA graphs, we then created a graph of the TK-GEMM kernel in the toy Attention layer and replayed the graph. Below, we can see that the gaps between kernel executions are reduced to 6.65us.

Simulated Llama3-70B Attention Layer with TK-GEMM and CUDA Graphs

Figure 8. Simulated Llama3-70B Attention Layer with TK-GEMM and CUDA Graphs

In practice, this optimization would result in a 6.4x speedup of a single attention layer in Llama3-70B, over naively using TK-GEMM in a model without CUDA graphs.

6.0 Potential Future Optimization Paths

TMA Hardware Unit

Figure 9. TMA Hardware Unit
Image Credit: Nvidia

The Nvidia H100 features a TMA hardware unit. The dedicated TMA unit frees up registers and threads to do other work, as address generation is completely handled by the TMA. For memory bound problem sizes, this can provide even further gain when Triton enables support for this feature.

Tensor Core Utilization (Arrows Indicate Degrees of Freedom)

Figure 10. Tensor Core Utilization (Arrows Indicate Degrees of Freedom)

To identify how well we are utilizing the Tensor Core, we can analyze the roofline chart. Notice that we are in the memory-bound region as expected for small M. To improve kernel latency we can either increase the arithmetic intensity, which with a fixed problem size can only be achieved through exploiting data locality and other loop optimizations or increasing the memory throughput. This requires either a more optimal parallel algorithm specialized for the FP8 datatype as well as the type of problem size characteristics we expect to see in FP8 inference.

DRAM Throughput Circled, 1.65TB/s vs Peak 3.35TB/s on H100 (M=16, N=8192, K=8192)

Figure 11. DRAM Throughput Circled, 1.65TB/s vs Peak 3.35TB/s on H100 (M=16, N=8192, K=8192)

Lastly, we can see that we are only achieving around 50% of peak DRAM throughput on the NVIDIA H100. High performance GEMM kernels typically achieve around 70-80% of peak throughput. This means that there is still a lot of room to improve and the techniques mentioned above (loop unrolling, optimized parallelization) are needed for additional gain.

7.0 Future Work

For future research, we would like to explore CUTLASS 3.x and CuTe to leverage more direct control over Hopper features especially in terms of obtaining direct TMA control and exploring pingpong architectures, which have shown promising results for FP8 GEMM.

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ExecuTorch Alpha: Taking LLMs and AI to the Edge with Our Community and Partners

We are excited to announce the release of ExecuTorch alpha, focused on deploying large language models (LLMs) and large ML models to the edge, stabilizing the API surface, and improving our installation processes. It has been an exciting few months from our 0.1 (preview) release in collaboration with our partners at Arm, Apple, and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

In this post we’ll discuss our full support for Meta’s Llama 2, early support for Meta’s Llama 3, broad model support in ExecuTorch, and highlight the important work our partners have done to move us forward.

Large Language Models on Mobile

Mobile devices are highly constrained for compute, memory, and power. To bring LLMs to these devices, we heavily leverage quantization and other techniques to pack these models appropriately.

ExecuTorch alpha supports 4-bit post-training quantization using GPTQ. We’ve provided broad device support on CPU by landing dynamic shape support and new dtypes in XNNPack. We’ve also made significant improvements in export and lowering, reduced memory overhead and improved runtime performance. This enables running Llama 2 7B efficiently on iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S22, S23, and S24 phones and other edge devices. Early support for Llama 3 8B is also included. We are always improving the token/sec on various edge devices and you can visit GitHub for the latest performance numbers.

We’re working closely with our partners at Apple, Arm, and Qualcomm Technologies to delegate to GPU and NPU for performance through Core ML, MPS, TOSA, and Qualcomm AI Stack backends respectively.

Supported Models

We remain committed to supporting an ever-expanding list of models with ExecuTorch. Since preview, we have significantly expanded our tested models across NLP, vision and speech, with full details in our release notes. Although support for on-device LLMs is early, we anticipate most traditional models to function seamlessly out of the box, with delegation to XNNPACK, Core ML, MPS, TOSA, and HTP for performance. If you encounter any problems please open a GitHub issue with us.


Deploying performant models tuned for specific platforms often require deep visualization into the on-device runtime data to determine the right changes to make in the original PyTorch model. With ExecuTorch alpha, we provide a powerful SDK with observability throughout the process from model authoring to deployment, including delegate and hardware-level information.

The ExecuTorch SDK was enhanced to include better debugging and profiling tools. Because ExecuTorch is built on PyTorch, the debugging capabilities include the ability to map from operator nodes back to original Python source code for more efficient anomaly resolution and performance tuning for both delegated and non-delegated model instances. You can learn more about the ExecuTorch SDK here.


ExecuTorch has only been possible because of strong collaborations across Arm, Apple, and Qualcomm Technologies. The collaboration for the initial launch of ExecuTorch continues as we support LLMs and large AI models on the edge for PyTorch. As we’ve seen with this early work for ExecuTorch alpha, there are unique challenges with these larger models and we’re excited to develop in the open.

We also want to highlight the great partnership with Google on XNNPACK for CPU performance. The teams continue to work together upstreaming our changes and across the TensorFlow and PyTorch teams to make sure we can all support generative AI models on the edge with SOTA performance.

Lastly, our hardware partner MediaTek has been doing work enabling the Llama collection of models with ExecuTorch on their SoCs. We’ll have more to share in the future.

Alpha and Production Usage

With our alpha release, we have production-tested ExecuTorch. Meta is using ExecuTorch for hand tracking on Meta Quest 3 and a variety of models on Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses. In addition, we have begun the rollout of ExecuTorch with Instagram and are integrating with other Meta products. We are excited to see how ExecuTorch can be used for other edge experiences.


We are excited to see various efforts in the community to adopt or contribute to ExecuTorch. For instance, Unity recently shared their work at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) on leveraging ExecuTorch and Edge IR to run PyTorch models with their neural network inference library Sentis. Leveraging ExecuTorch’s hackability and extensibility, Unity introduced their own custom backend that serializes ExecuTorch’s Edge Dialect IR into Sentis’ native serialized format enabling developers to begin using PyTorch models easily in their games and apps.

We’ve been building and innovating with ExecuTorch in the open. Our north star is to empower the community to deploy any ML model on edge devices painlessly and efficiently. Whether you are a hobbyist or this is your day job, we’d love for you to jump in to bring your ML models to the edge. We are looking for your help to:

  1. Use ExecuTorch to run your LLM models locally on various deployment targets and share your feedback
  2. Expand our supported models, including bug reports
  3. Expand our quantization schemes
  4. Help us build out delegates to GPU and NPU

To all individual contributors and early adopters of ExecuTorch, a big thank you as well. We can’t wait to have more of you join us!

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