[Computer-go] Machine for Deep Neural Net training

David Fotland fotland at smart-games.com
Tue Apr 26 21:55:59 PDT 2016

I have my deep neural net training setup working, and it's working so well I
want to share.  I already had Caffe running on my desktop machine (4 core
i7) without a GPU, with inputs similar to AlphaGo generated by Many Faces
into an LMDB database.  I trained a few small nets for a day each to get
some feel for it.

I bought an Alienware Area 51 from Dell, with two GTX 980 TI GPUs, 16 GB of
memory, and 2 TB of disk.  I set it up to dual boot Ubuntu 14.04, which made
it trivial to get the latest caffe up and running with CUDNN.  2 TB of disk
is not enough.  I'll have to add another drive.

I expected something like 20x speedup on training, but I was shocked by what
I actually got.

On my desktop, the Caffe MNIST sample took 27 minutes to complete.  On the
new machine it was 22 seconds.  73x faster.

My simple network has 42 input planes, and 4 layers of 48 filters each.
Training runs about 100x faster on the Alienware.  Training 100k Caffe
iterations (batches) of 50 positions takes 13 minutes, rather than almost a
full day on my desktop.


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