Performance Optimizations for End-to-End AI Pipelines

Optimized Frameworks and Libraries for Intel® Processors

Modern artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) applications perform a range of tasks that convert raw data into valuable insights. Data scientists create multiphase, end-to-end pipelines for AI and ML applications (Figure 1). The phases include data ingestion, data cleaning, data exploration, and feature engineering, followed by prototyping, model building, and, finally, model deployment. The phases are often repeated many times, and it may be necessary to scale the entire pipeline across a cluster and/or to deploy it to the cloud.

Figure 1. End-to-end analytics pipeline

 

The Intel® oneAPI AI Analytics Toolkit provides high-performance APIs and Python* packages to accelerate the phases of these pipelines (Figure 2)

Figure 2. Intel AI Analytics Toolkit

 

Intel® Distribution of Modin*, with the OmniSci* DB engine, provides a scalable pandas API by simply changing a single line of code. Modin* significantly improves the performance and scalability of pandas dataframe processing.

For classical ML training and inference, the Intel oneAPI AI Analytics Toolkit contains Intel Extension for Scikit-learn extension to accelerate common estimators (e.g., logistic regression, singular value decomposition, principal component analysis, etc.), transformers, and clustering algorithms (e.g., k-means, DBSCAN).

For gradient boosting, Intel also optimized the XGBoost* and CatBoost libraries, which provide efficient parallel tree boosting used to solve many data science problems in a fast and accurate manner.

Let’s look at two examples where the Intel oneAPI AI Analytics Toolkit helps data scientists accelerate their AI pipelines:

  1. Census: This workload trains a ridge regression model to predict education level using U.S. census data (1970 to 2010, published by IPUMS).
  2. PLAsTiCC Astronomical Classification: This workload is an open data challenge on Kaggle* with the aim to classify objects in the night sky. It uses simulated astronomical time series data to classify objects

Both workloads have three broad phases:

  1. Ingestion loads the numerical data into dataframe
  2. Preprocessing and Transformation runs a variety of ETL operations to clean and prepare the data for modeling, such as dropping columns, dealing with missing values, type conversions, arithmetic operations, and aggregation.
  3. Data Modeling creates separate training and test sets, model building and training, model validation, and inference.

Figure 3 shows the breakdown by phase for both workloads, which illustrates the importance of optimizing each phase to speed up the entire end-to-end pipeline.

Figure 3. Breakdown by phase for each workload


Figures 4
and 5 show the relative performance and the subsequent speedups for each phase using the Intel-optimized software stack (shown in blue) compared to the stock software (shown in orange). On 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, the optimized software stack gives a 10x speedup on Census and an 18x speedup for PLAsTiCC compared to the stock software stack.

Figure 4. End-to-end performance of the Census workload showing the speedup for each phase

 

Figure 5. End-to-end performance of the PLAsTiCC workload showing the speedup for each phase

 

On Census, using the Intel Distribution of Modin* instead of pandas gives a 7x speedup for readcsv and a 4x speedup for ETL operations. For training and prediction, using the Intel-optimized scikit-learn instead of the stock package gives a 9x speedup for the train_test_split function and a 59x speedup for training and inference. On PLAsTiCC, using the Intel Distribution of Modin* gives a 69x speedup for readcsv and a 21x speedup for ETL operations. These speedups are achieved through a variety of optimizations in the Intel oneAPI AI Analytics Toolkit, including parallelization, vectorization, core scaling, improved memory layouts, cache reuse, cache-friendly blocking, efficient memory bandwidth usage, and more effective use of the processor instruction sets.

Figures 6 and 7 show the end-to-end performance of the two workloads on 2nd and 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors compared to 2nd and 3rd Generation AMD EPYC* processors and NVIDIA Tesla* V100 and A100 processors. The same optimized software stack is used on the Intel and AMD* CPUs, while the RAPIDS stack is used on the NVIDIA* GPUs. The complete hardware and software configurations are included below.

Figure 6. Competitive performance for all phases of the Census pipeline

 

Figure 7. Competitive performance for all phases of the PLAsTiCC pipeline

In this article, we demonstrate a significant performance boost (~10x–18x speedup) on Intel Xeon processors using optimized software packages with simple drop-in replacement over stock data analytics software. The results also show that CPUs and GPUs excel in different phases of the pipelines, but the 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Platinum 8380 processor outperforms the NVIDIA* V100 and is competitive with the NVIDIA* A100. The 3rd Generation Intel Xeon processor is also cheaper and more power-efficient. These observations reinforce the notion that generality is critical in data analytics.

You can get Modin*, XGboost*, the scikit-learn extension, and other optimized software for Intel® architectures through many common channels such as Intel’s website, YUM, APT, Anaconda*, etc. Select and download the distribution package that you prefer and follow the Get Started Guide for post-installation instructions

Hardware and Software Configurations
3rd Generation Intel Xeon Platinum 8380: dual-socket server, 40 cores per socket, 2.30 GHz base frequency, Turbo mode enabled, hyperthreading enabled. OS: Ubuntu* 20.04.1 LTS, 512GB RAM (16x 32GB 3200MHz), kernel: 5.4.0–64-generic, microcode: 0x8d055260, BIOS: SE5C620.86B.OR.64.2021.10.3.02.0417, CPU governor: performance.

2nd Generation Intel Xeon Platinum 8280L: dual-socket server, 28 cores per socket, 2.70 GHz base frequency, Turbo mode enabled, hyperthreading enabled. OS: Ubuntu* 20.04.1 LTS, 384GB RAM (12x 32GB 2933MHz), kernel: 5.4.0–65-generic, microcode: 0x4003003, BIOS: SE5C620.86B.OR.64.2020.51.2.04.0651, CPU governor: performance.

3rd Generation AMD EPYC* 7763: dual-socket server, 64 cores per socket, 1.50 GHz base frequency, simultaneous multithreading enabled. OS: Red Hat Enterprise* Linux 8.3 (Ootpa), 1024 GB RAM (16x 64GB 3200MHz), kernel: 4.18.0–240.el8.x86_64, microcode: 0xa001119, BIOS: Gigabyte version M03, CPU governor: performance

2nd Generation AMD EPYC* 7742: dual-socket server, 64 cores per socket, 1.50 GHz base frequency, simultaneous multithreading enabled. OS: Ubuntu* 20.04.1 LTS, 512 GB RAM (16x 32GB 3200MHz), kernel: 5.4.0–62-generic, microcode: 0x8301038, BIOS: American Megatrends Inc* 2.1c, CPU governor: performance.

NVIDIA Tesla* A100 GPU: Part of DGX-A100, dual-socket 2nd generation AMD EPYC* 7742 host CPU. OS: Ubuntu* 18.04.5 LTS, 512 GB RAM (16x 32GB 3200MHz), kernel: 5.4.0–42-generic, microcode: 0x8301034, BIOS revision 0.23, CPU governor: performance.

NVIDIA Tesla* V100 GPU: 32GB GPU, dual-socket 2nd generation Intel Xeon Platinum 8268 host CPU. OS: CentOS* Linux release 7.8.2003, 384 GB RAM (12x 32GB 2933MHz), kernel: 5.4.69, microcode: 0x5003003, BIOS SE5C620.86B.OR.64.2020.51.2.04.0651, CPU governor: performance

CPU SW: Scikit-learn 0.24.1 accelerated by daal4py 2021.2, modin* 0.8.3, omniscidbe v5.4.1, Pandas 1.2.2, XGBoost 1.3.3, Python 3.9.7

GPU SW: NVIDIA* RAPIDS 0.17, CUDA* Toolkit 11.0.221, Python* 3.7.9

Performance varies by use, configuration, and other factors. Learn more at www.Intel.com/PerformanceIndex.