MosaicML, Led by Naveen Rao, Comes Out of Stealth Aiming to Ease Model Training

By Todd R. Weiss

October 15, 2021

With more and more enterprises turning to AI for a myriad of tasks, companies quickly find out that training AI models is expensive, difficult and time-consuming.

Finding a new approach to deal with those cascading challenges is the aim of a new startup, MosaicML, that just came out of stealth – helmed by ex-Nervana, ex-Intelite Naveen Rao – and is now preparing to launch a cloud-based neural network training system that aims to attack the problems at the algorithmic and systems levels.

The idea is to make machine learning more efficient through a composition – a mosaic – of methods that together accelerate and improve training, the company announced in an Oct. 13 blog post from its founders.

MosaicML’s core idea is that since it is expensive to train machine learning models in the cloud, in datacenters or on-premises, that the answer lies in eliminating inefficiencies in the learning process.

The startup has built two components that will be part of its future product offering, Naveen Rao, the CEO and co-founder, told EnterpriseAIComposer is an open-source library of methods for efficient ML training that can be brought together into “recipes,” starting with some 20 different methods curated and rigorously benchmarked for their performance benefits. Additional methods will be added as the product matures.

The other MosaicML component is Explorer, a visualization tool and interface that gives enterprise developers the ability to simulate, map out and choose the best routes for running models by comparing costs, quality and the time that will be needed to run the experiments. Explorer is designed to give users a visualization of the measured trade-offs of cost, time, and quality across thousands of training runs on standard benchmarks. Users can filter by method, cloud and hardware type to reach their optimal operating test protocols.

“The key here is that these techniques actually make the training process more compute efficient,” said Rao.

The idea and need for MosaicML came out of the rise of AI, machine learning and the steps that were initially established to create and test models, he said. The original technologies were established over time, and they worked, but it turns out that there are better ways to do things, he added.

“It is like anything else,” said Rao. “[Data scientists] came up with something that basically works but was pretty inefficient. The deep learning world has been about showing that things can work and not be efficient, it did not really matter because compute was relatively cheap.”

The problem was it was only true when the models were small, said Rao.

“Once models got very big, the compute side of it actually got very expensive,” he said. Now we are at this inflection point where the models got very big and data sets are very large, so the expenses are now quite big. GPT-3 [the natural language AI model] cost $5 million to train – that was one single experiment that cost $5 million.”

That is where MosaicML began seeing its opportunity in the world of AI and machine learning.

“We are focused on enterprise companies whose core competency is not AI or ML, but they need to be able to use these techniques in a cost-effective manner to extract value from their data,” said Rao. “If you are Facebook or Google, you have a huge team who can do this, and they can spare the expensive computing and manage it on their own. They will eventually probably use these tools as well … but they do not really need us upfront. The enterprise is where we go first.”

MosaicML was incorporated on Dec. 1, 2020, and has raised $37 million from investors so far, including Lux Capital, DCVC, Future Ventures, Playground Global, AME, Correlation, E14 and several angel investors.

Rao said the company is having conversations with customers but that it has not yet made any sales. MosaicML released its open source library so potential customers and developers can use it and get a sense of its capabilities and features.

The company’s product, which has not yet been officially named, is expected to be available in the beginning of 2022 in a free version and in a paid, supported version.

“When you are training a model, all you really care about is cost,” he said. But later you begin to think about other factors, including how long things will take and how it will perform.

“This Explorer visualizer allows you to see the difference,” he said. “If I want to not pay as much and just do a bunch of experiments for cheap, I can do that, and predict very rationally where I will be when they are done. The idea is to give users tools to allow them to understand how much things cost. If they don’t have any idea, they really cannot plan, and it becomes very difficult to run these experiments.”

Initially, MosaicML will work on models that are being done in the cloud, said Rao, since those variables are easier to measure based on rate costs from each vendor. He said he expects similar capabilities will be available for on-premises uses in the future. “But we are not there yet.” He added.

Rao has been involved with AI for some time. He founded AI chip company Nervana Systems, which was acquired by Intel in 2016. He then joined Intel and started and ran Intel’s AI division, he said. Intel shuttered Nervana in early 2020 and Rao left the company.

Karl Freund, founder and principal analyst at Cambrian AI Research, told EnterpriseAI that MosaicML has chosen a viable approach to helping AI users.

“MosaicML is going after the model optimization problem,” he said. “Some optimizations, such as Nvidia TensorRT, optimize for specific hardware, but MosaicML is going after algorithmic optimization.”

That makes it model-specific and not hardware-specific, he said.

“AI hardware for training is very expensive and exotic technology,” said Freund. “If you can reduce training time by 50 percent, that reduces costs accordingly. And the client does not have to hire the super-high-priced talent, either.”

Another analyst, Addison Snell, CEO of Intersect360 Research, said that the popularity of AI “is bringing more organizations to high-performance computing for the first time, whether they think of it that way or not. And for any organization moving into HPC, model creation and optimization is one of the biggest challenges, certainly more so than simply getting access to hardware.”

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

SC21 Was Unlike Any Other — Was That a Good Thing?

December 3, 2021

For a long time, the promised in-person SC21 seemed like an impossible fever dream, the assurances of a prominent physical component persisting across years of canceled conferences, including two virtual ISCs and the virtual SC20. With the advent of the Delta variant, Covid surges in St. Louis and contention over vaccine requirements... Read more…

The Green500’s Crystal Anniversary Sees MN-3 Crystallize Its Winning Streak

December 2, 2021

“This is the 30th Green500,” said Wu Feng, custodian of the Green500 list, at the list’s SC21 birds-of-a-feather session. “You could say 15 years of Green500, which makes it, I guess, the crystal anniversary.” Indeed, HPCwire marked the 15th anniversary of the Green500 – which ranks supercomputers by flops-per-watt, rather than just by flops – earlier this year with... Read more…

AWS Arm-based Graviton3 Instances Now in Preview

December 1, 2021

Three years after unveiling the first generation of its AWS Graviton chip-powered instances in 2018, Amazon Web Services announced that the third generation of the processors – the AWS Graviton3 – will power all-new Amazon Elastic Compute 2 (EC2) C7g instances that are now available in preview. Debuting at the AWS re:Invent 2021... Read more…

Nvidia Dominates Latest MLPerf Results but Competitors Start Speaking Up

December 1, 2021

MLCommons today released its fifth round of MLPerf training benchmark results with Nvidia GPUs again dominating. That said, a few other AI accelerator companies participated and, one of them, Graphcore, even held a separ Read more…

HPC Career Notes: December 2021 Edition

December 1, 2021

In this monthly feature, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it’s a promotion, new company hire, or even an accolade, we’ Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Running a 3.2M vCPU HPC Workload on AWS with YellowDog

Historically, advances in fields such as meteorology, healthcare, and engineering, were achieved through large investments in on-premises computing infrastructure. Upfront capital investment and operational complexity have been the accepted norm of large-scale HPC research. Read more…

At SC21, Experts Ask: Can Fast HPC Be Green?

November 30, 2021

HPC is entering a new era: exascale is (somewhat) officially here, but Moore’s law is ending. Power consumption and other sustainability concerns loom over the enormous systems and chips of this new epoch, for both cost and compliance reasons. Reconciling the need to continue the supercomputer scale-up while reducing HPC’s environmental impacts... Read more…

SC21 Was Unlike Any Other — Was That a Good Thing?

December 3, 2021

For a long time, the promised in-person SC21 seemed like an impossible fever dream, the assurances of a prominent physical component persisting across years of canceled conferences, including two virtual ISCs and the virtual SC20. With the advent of the Delta variant, Covid surges in St. Louis and contention over vaccine requirements... Read more…

The Green500’s Crystal Anniversary Sees MN-3 Crystallize Its Winning Streak

December 2, 2021

“This is the 30th Green500,” said Wu Feng, custodian of the Green500 list, at the list’s SC21 birds-of-a-feather session. “You could say 15 years of Green500, which makes it, I guess, the crystal anniversary.” Indeed, HPCwire marked the 15th anniversary of the Green500 – which ranks supercomputers by flops-per-watt, rather than just by flops – earlier this year with... Read more…

Nvidia Dominates Latest MLPerf Results but Competitors Start Speaking Up

December 1, 2021

MLCommons today released its fifth round of MLPerf training benchmark results with Nvidia GPUs again dominating. That said, a few other AI accelerator companies Read more…

At SC21, Experts Ask: Can Fast HPC Be Green?

November 30, 2021

HPC is entering a new era: exascale is (somewhat) officially here, but Moore’s law is ending. Power consumption and other sustainability concerns loom over the enormous systems and chips of this new epoch, for both cost and compliance reasons. Reconciling the need to continue the supercomputer scale-up while reducing HPC’s environmental impacts... Read more…

Raja Koduri and Satoshi Matsuoka Discuss the Future of HPC at SC21

November 29, 2021

HPCwire's Managing Editor sits down with Intel's Raja Koduri and Riken's Satoshi Matsuoka in St. Louis for an off-the-cuff conversation about their SC21 experience, what comes after exascale and why they are collaborating. Koduri, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's accelerated computing systems and graphics (AXG) group, leads the team... Read more…

Jack Dongarra on SC21, the Top500 and His Retirement Plans

November 29, 2021

HPCwire's Managing Editor sits down with Jack Dongarra, Top500 co-founder and Distinguished Professor at the University of Tennessee, during SC21 in St. Louis to discuss the 2021 Top500 list, the outlook for global exascale computing, and what exactly is going on in that Viking helmet photo. Read more…

SC21: Larry Smarr on The Rise of Supernetwork Data Intensive Computing

November 26, 2021

Larry Smarr, founding director of Calit2 (now Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California San Diego) and the first director of NCSA, is one of the seminal figures in the U.S. supercomputing community. What began as a personal drive, shared by others, to spur the creation of supercomputers in the U.S. for scientific use, later expanded into a... Read more…

Three Chinese Exascale Systems Detailed at SC21: Two Operational and One Delayed

November 24, 2021

Details about two previously rumored Chinese exascale systems came to light during last week’s SC21 proceedings. Asked about these systems during the Top500 media briefing on Monday, Nov. 15, list author and co-founder Jack Dongarra indicated he was aware of some very impressive results, but withheld comment when asked directly if he had... Read more…

IonQ Is First Quantum Startup to Go Public; Will It be First to Deliver Profits?

November 3, 2021

On October 1 of this year, IonQ became the first pure-play quantum computing start-up to go public. At this writing, the stock (NYSE: IONQ) was around $15 and its market capitalization was roughly $2.89 billion. Co-founder and chief scientist Chris Monroe says it was fun to have a few of the company’s roughly 100 employees travel to New York to ring the opening bell of the New York Stock... Read more…

Enter Dojo: Tesla Reveals Design for Modular Supercomputer & D1 Chip

August 20, 2021

Two months ago, Tesla revealed a massive GPU cluster that it said was “roughly the number five supercomputer in the world,” and which was just a precursor to Tesla’s real supercomputing moonshot: the long-rumored, little-detailed Dojo system. Read more…

Esperanto, Silicon in Hand, Champions the Efficiency of Its 1,092-Core RISC-V Chip

August 27, 2021

Esperanto Technologies made waves last December when it announced ET-SoC-1, a new RISC-V-based chip aimed at machine learning that packed nearly 1,100 cores onto a package small enough to fit six times over on a single PCIe card. Now, Esperanto is back, silicon in-hand and taking aim... Read more…

US Closes in on Exascale: Frontier Installation Is Underway

September 29, 2021

At the Advanced Scientific Computing Advisory Committee (ASCAC) meeting, held by Zoom this week (Sept. 29-30), it was revealed that the Frontier supercomputer is currently being installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The staff at the Oak Ridge Leadership... Read more…

AMD Launches Milan-X CPU with 3D V-Cache and Multichip Instinct MI200 GPU

November 8, 2021

At a virtual event this morning, AMD CEO Lisa Su unveiled the company’s latest and much-anticipated server products: the new Milan-X CPU, which leverages AMD’s new 3D V-Cache technology; and its new Instinct MI200 GPU, which provides up to 220 compute units across two Infinity Fabric-connected dies, delivering an astounding 47.9 peak double-precision teraflops. “We're in a high-performance computing megacycle, driven by the growing need to deploy additional compute performance... Read more…

Intel Reorgs HPC Group, Creates Two ‘Super Compute’ Groups

October 15, 2021

Following on changes made in June that moved Intel’s HPC unit out of the Data Platform Group and into the newly created Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics (AXG) business unit, led by Raja Koduri, Intel is making further updates to the HPC group and announcing... Read more…

Intel Completes LLVM Adoption; Will End Updates to Classic C/C++ Compilers in Future

August 10, 2021

Intel reported in a blog this week that its adoption of the open source LLVM architecture for Intel’s C/C++ compiler is complete. The transition is part of In Read more…

Killer Instinct: AMD’s Multi-Chip MI200 GPU Readies for a Major Global Debut

October 21, 2021

AMD’s next-generation supercomputer GPU is on its way – and by all appearances, it’s about to make a name for itself. The AMD Radeon Instinct MI200 GPU (a successor to the MI100) will, over the next year, begin to power three massive systems on three continents: the United States’ exascale Frontier system; the European Union’s pre-exascale LUMI system; and Australia’s petascale Setonix system. Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Hot Chips: Here Come the DPUs and IPUs from Arm, Nvidia and Intel

August 25, 2021

The emergence of data processing units (DPU) and infrastructure processing units (IPU) as potentially important pieces in cloud and datacenter architectures was Read more…

D-Wave Embraces Gate-Based Quantum Computing; Charts Path Forward

October 21, 2021

Earlier this month D-Wave Systems, the quantum computing pioneer that has long championed quantum annealing-based quantum computing (and sometimes taken heat fo Read more…

HPE Wins $2B GreenLake HPC-as-a-Service Deal with NSA

September 1, 2021

In the heated, oft-contentious, government IT space, HPE has won a massive $2 billion contract to provide HPC and AI services to the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). Following on the heels of the now-canceled $10 billion JEDI contract (reissued as JWCC) and a $10 billion... Read more…

The Latest MLPerf Inference Results: Nvidia GPUs Hold Sway but Here Come CPUs and Intel

September 22, 2021

The latest round of MLPerf inference benchmark (v 1.1) results was released today and Nvidia again dominated, sweeping the top spots in the closed (apples-to-ap Read more…

Ahead of ‘Dojo,’ Tesla Reveals Its Massive Precursor Supercomputer

June 22, 2021

In spring 2019, Tesla made cryptic reference to a project called Dojo, a “super-powerful training computer” for video data processing. Then, in summer 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla is developing a [neural network] training computer... Read more…

Three Chinese Exascale Systems Detailed at SC21: Two Operational and One Delayed

November 24, 2021

Details about two previously rumored Chinese exascale systems came to light during last week’s SC21 proceedings. Asked about these systems during the Top500 media briefing on Monday, Nov. 15, list author and co-founder Jack Dongarra indicated he was aware of some very impressive results, but withheld comment when asked directly if he had... Read more…

2021 Gordon Bell Prize Goes to Exascale-Powered Quantum Supremacy Challenge

November 18, 2021

Today at the hybrid virtual/in-person SC21 conference, the organizers announced the winners of the 2021 ACM Gordon Bell Prize: a team of Chinese researchers leveraging the new exascale Sunway system to simulate quantum circuits. The Gordon Bell Prize, which comes with an award of $10,000 courtesy of HPC pioneer Gordon Bell, is awarded annually... Read more…

Quantum Computer Market Headed to $830M in 2024

September 13, 2021

What is one to make of the quantum computing market? Energized (lots of funding) but still chaotic and advancing in unpredictable ways (e.g. competing qubit tec Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire