Pipeline MoE: A Flexible MoE Implementation with Pipeline Parallelism


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The Mixture of Experts (MoE) model becomes an important choice of large language models nowadays because of its scalability with sublinear computational complexity for training and inference. However, existing MoE models suffer from two critical drawbacks, 1) tremendous inner-node and inter-node communication overhead introduced by all-to-all dispatching and gathering, and 2) limited scalability for the backbone because of the bound data parallel and expert parallel to scale in the expert dimension. In this paper, we systematically analyze these drawbacks in terms of training efficiency in the parallel framework view and propose a novel MoE architecture called Pipeline MoE (PPMoE) to tackle them. PPMoE builds expert parallel incorporating with tensor parallel and replaces communication-intensive all-to-all dispatching and gathering with a simple tensor index slicing and inner-node all-reduce. Besides, it is convenient for PPMoE to integrate pipeline parallel to further scale the backbone due to its flexible parallel architecture. Extensive experiments show that PPMoE not only achieves a more than $1.75\times$ speed up compared to existing MoE architectures but also reaches $90\%$ throughput of its corresponding backbone model that is $20\times$ smaller.
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