Distributed Tensorflow

Create a cluster

A TensorFlow “cluster” is a set of “tasks” that participate in the distributed execution of a TensorFlow graph. Each task is associated with a TensorFlow “server”, which contains a “master” that can be used to create sessions, and a “worker” that executes operations in the graph. A cluster can also be divided into one or more “jobs”, where each job contains one or more tasks.

Create a tf.train.ClusterSpec to describe the cluster

Create atf.train.ClusterSpec that describes all of the tasks in the cluster. This should be the same for each task.

tf.train.ClusterSpec({"local": ["localhost:2222", "localhost:2223"]})

    "worker": [
        "worker0.example.com:2222",            #job:worker/task:0
        "worker1.example.com:2222",            #job:worker/task:1
        "worker2.example.com:2222"            #job:worker/task:2
    "ps": [
        "ps0.example.com:2222",         #job:ps/task:0
        "ps1.example.com:2222"         #job:ps/task:1

Create a tf.train.Server instance in each task

A tf.train.Server object contains a set of local devices, a set of connections to other tasks in its tf.train.ClusterSpec, and a tf.Session that can use these to perform a distributed computation. Each server is a member of a specific named job and has a task index within that job. A server can communicate with any other server in the cluster.

#  to launch a cluster with two servers running on localhost:2222 and localhost:2223
# run the following snippets in two different processes on the local machine

# In task 0:
cluster = tf.train.ClusterSpec({"local": ["localhost:2222", "localhost:2223"]})
server = tf.train.Server(cluster, job_name="local", task_index=0)

# In task 1:
cluster = tf.train.ClusterSpec({"local": ["localhost:2222", "localhost:2223"]})
server = tf.train.Server(cluster, job_name="local", task_index=1)

Specifying distributed devices in your model

To place operations on a particular process, you can use the same tf.device function that is used to specify whether ops run on the CPU or GPU.

with tf.device("/job:ps/task:0"):
  weights_1 = tf.Variable(...)
  biases_1 = tf.Variable(...)

with tf.device("/job:ps/task:1"):
  weights_2 = tf.Variable(...)
  biases_2 = tf.Variable(...)

with tf.device("/job:worker/task:7"):
  input, labels = ...
  layer_1 = tf.nn.relu(tf.matmul(input, weights_1) + biases_1)
  logits = tf.nn.relu(tf.matmul(layer_1, weights_2) + biases_2)
  # ...
  train_op = ...

with tf.Session("grpc://worker7.example.com:2222") as sess:
  for _ in range(10000):

from ps to worker for the forward pass, and from worker to ps for applying gradients

Replicated training

A common training configuration, called “data parallelism,” involves multiple tasks in a worker job training the same model on different mini-batches of data, updating shared parameters hosted in one or more tasks in a ps job. All tasks typically run on different machines. There are many ways to specify this structure in TensorFlow, and we are building libraries that will simplify the work of specifying a replicated model. Possible approaches include:

  • In-graph replication. In this approach, the client builds a single tf.Graph that contains one set of parameters (in tf.Variable nodes pinned to /job:ps); and multiple copies of the compute-intensive part of the model, each pinned to a different task in /job:worker.
  • Between-graph replication. In this approach, there is a separate client for each /job:worker task, typically in the same process as the worker task. Each client builds a similar graph containing the parameters (pinned to /job:ps as before using tf.train.replica_device_setter to map them deterministically to the same tasks); and a single copy of the compute-intensive part of the model, pinned to the local task in /job:worker.
  • Asynchronous training. In this approach, each replica of the graph has an independent training loop that executes without coordination. It is compatible with both forms of replication above.
  • Synchronous training. In this approach, all of the replicas read the same values for the current parameters, compute gradients in parallel, and then apply them together. It is compatible with in-graph replication (e.g. using gradient averaging as in the CIFAR-10 multi-GPU trainer), and between-graph replication (e.g. using the tf.train.SyncReplicasOptimizer).


1.Distributed Tensorflow via Google
2.TensorFlow: Large-Scale Machine Learning on Heterogeneous Distributed Systems
3.Distributed Tensorflow Architecture

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