Multi-core structural SVM training

Kai Wei Chang, Vivek Srikumar, Dan Roth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Many problems in natural language processing and computer vision can be framed as structured prediction problems. Structural support vector machines (SVM) is a popular approach for training structured predictors, where learning is framed as an optimization problem. Most structural SVM solvers alternate between a model update phase and an inference phase (which predicts structures for all training examples). As structures become more complex, inference becomes a bottleneck and thus slows down learning considerably. In this paper, we propose a new learning algorithm for structural SVMs called DEMIDCD that extends the dual coordinate descent approach by decoupling the model update and inference phases into different threads. We take advantage of multicore hardware to parallelize learning with minimal synchronization between the model update and the inference phases.We prove that our algorithm not only converges but also fully utilizes all available processors to speed up learning, and validate our approach on two real-world NLP problems: part-of-speech tagging and relation extraction. In both cases, we show that our algorithm utilizes all available processors to speed up learning and achieves competitive performance. For example, it achieves a relative duality gap of 1% on a POS tagging problem in 192 seconds using 16 threads, while a standard implementation of a multi-threaded dual coordinate descent algorithm with the same number of threads requires more than 600 seconds to reach a solution of the same quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMachine Learning and Knowledge Discovery in Databases - European Conference, ECML PKDD 2013, Proceedings
Number of pages16
EditionPART 2
StatePublished - Oct 31 2013
EventEuropean Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases, ECML PKDD 2013 - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: Sep 23 2013Sep 27 2013

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
NumberPART 2
Volume8189 LNAI
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


OtherEuropean Conference on Machine Learning and Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases, ECML PKDD 2013
CountryCzech Republic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

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