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A Review of Sparse Expert Models in Deep Learning

Each week Tenstorrent will be highlighting a paper that has inspired our product development.

A Review of Sparse Expert Models in Deep Learning by William Fedus, Jeff Dean and Barret Zoph.

Sparse expert models are a thirty-year old concept re-emerging as a popular architecture in deep learning. This class of architecture encompasses Mixture-ofExperts, Switch Transformers, Routing Networks, BASE layers, and others, all with the unifying idea that each example is acted on by a subset of the parameters. By doing so, the degree of sparsity decouples the parameter count from the compute per example allowing for extremely large, but efficient models. The resulting models have demonstrated significant improvements across diverse domains such as natural language processing, computer vision, and speech recognition. We review the concept of sparse expert models, provide a basic description of the common algorithms, contextualize the advances in the deep learning era, and conclude by highlighting areas for future work.

Read the full white paper here.