CPU Best Practices

This chapter focus on providing best practises for environment setup to get the best performance during training and inference on the CPU.



For specific workloads as GNN’s domain, suggested default setting for having best performance is to turn off hyperthreading. Turning off the hyper threading feature can be done at BIOS 1 or operating system level 2 3 .

OpenMP settings

During training on CPU, the training and dataloading part need to be maintained simultaneously. Best performance of parallelization in OpenMP can be achieved by setting up the optimal number of working threads and dataloading workers. Nodes with high number of CPU cores may benefit from higher number of dataloading workers. A good starting point could be setting num_threads=4 in Dataloader constructor for nodes with 32 cores or more. If number of cores is rather small, the best performance might be achieved with just one dataloader worker or even with dataloader num_threads=0 for dataloading and trainig performed in the same process

Dataloader CPU affinity

If number of dataloader workers is more than 0, please consider using use_cpu_affinity() method of DGL Dataloader class, it will generally result in significant performance improvement for training.

use_cpu_affinity will set the proper OpenMP thread count (equal to the number of CPU cores allocated for main process), affinitize dataloader workers for separate CPU cores and restrict the main process to remaining cores

In multiple NUMA nodes setups use_cpu_affinity will only use cores of NUMA node 0 by default with an assumption, that the workload is scaling poorly across multiple NUMA nodes. If you believe your workload will have better performance utilizing more than one NUMA node, you can pass the list of cores to use for dataloading (loader_cores) and for compute (compute_cores).

loader_cores and compute_cores arguments (list of CPU cores) can be passed to enable_cpu_affinity for more control over which cores should be used, e.g. in case a workload scales well across multiple NUMA nodes.

dataloader = dgl.dataloading.DataLoader(...)
with dataloader.enable_cpu_affinity():
    <training loop or inferencing>

Manual control

For advanced and more fine-grained control over OpenMP settings please refer to Maximize Performance of Intel® Optimization for PyTorch* on CPU 4 article










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