Analyzing and Generating Language More Efficiently
MIT researchers developed a new hardware and software system that efficiently analyzes language.
The researchers developed a system called SpAtten to run the attention mechanism more efficiently. Their design encompasses both specialized software and hardware. One key software advance is SpAtten’s use of “cascade pruning,” or eliminating unnecessary data from the calculations. Once the attention mechanism helps pick a sentence’s key words (called tokens), SpAtten prunes away unimportant tokens and eliminates the corresponding computations and data movements. The attention mechanism also includes multiple computation branches (called heads). Similar to tokens, the unimportant heads are identified and pruned away. Once dispatched, the extraneous tokens and heads don’t factor into the algorithm’s downstream calculations, reducing both computational load and memory access.
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