# Performing gradient accumulation with ๐ค Accelerate

Gradient accumulation is a technique where you can train on bigger batch sizes than your machine would normally be able to fit into memory. This is done by accumulating gradients over several batches, and only stepping the optimizer after a certain number of batches have been performed.

While technically standard gradient accumulation code would work fine in a distributed setup, it is not the most efficient method for doing so and you may experience considerable slowdowns!

In this tutorial you will see how to quickly setup gradient accumulation and perform it with the utilities provided in ๐ค Accelerate, which can total to adding just one new line of code!

This example will use a very simplistic PyTorch training loop that performs gradient accumulation every two batches:

```
device = "cuda"
model.to(device)
gradient_accumulation_steps = 2
for index, batch in enumerate(training_dataloader):
inputs, targets = batch
inputs = inputs.to(device)
targets = targets.to(device)
outputs = model(inputs)
loss = loss_function(outputs, targets)
loss = loss / gradient_accumulation_steps
loss.backward()
if (index + 1) % gradient_accumulation_steps == 0:
optimizer.step()
scheduler.step()
optimizer.zero_grad()
```

## Converting it to ๐ค Accelerate

First the code shown earlier will be converted to utilize ๐ค Accelerate without the special gradient accumulation helper:

```
+ from accelerate import Accelerator
+ accelerator = Accelerator()
+ model, optimizer, training_dataloader, scheduler = accelerator.prepare(
+ model, optimizer, training_dataloader, scheduler
+ )
for index, batch in enumerate(training_dataloader):
inputs, targets = batch
- inputs = inputs.to(device)
- targets = targets.to(device)
outputs = model(inputs)
loss = loss_function(outputs, targets)
loss = loss / gradient_accumulation_steps
+ accelerator.backward(loss)
if (index+1) % gradient_accumulation_steps == 0:
optimizer.step()
scheduler.step()
optimizer.zero_grad()
```

In its current state, this code is not going to perform gradient accumulation efficiently due to a process called gradient synchronization. Read more about that in the Concepts tutorial!

## Letting ๐ค Accelerate handle gradient accumulation

All that is left now is to let ๐ค Accelerate handle the gradient accumulation for us. To do so you should pass in a `gradient_accumulation_steps`

parameter to Accelerator, dictating the number
of steps to perform before each call to `step()`

and how to automatically adjust the loss during the call to backward():

```
from accelerate import Accelerator
- accelerator = Accelerator()
+ accelerator = Accelerator(gradient_accumulation_steps=2)
```

Alternatively, you can pass in a `gradient_accumulation_plugin`

parameter to the Accelerator objectโs `__init__`

, which will allow you to further customize the gradient accumulation behavior.
Read more about that in the GradientAccumulationPlugin docs.

From here you can use the accumulate() context manager from inside your training loop to automatically perform the gradient accumulation for you! You just wrap it around the entire training part of our code:

```
- for index, batch in enumerate(training_dataloader):
+ for batch in training_dataloader:
+ with accelerator.accumulate(model):
inputs, targets = batch
outputs = model(inputs)
```

You can remove all the special checks for the step number and the loss adjustment:

```
- loss = loss / gradient_accumulation_steps
accelerator.backward(loss)
- if (index+1) % gradient_accumulation_steps == 0:
optimizer.step()
scheduler.step()
optimizer.zero_grad()
```

As you can see the Accelerator is able to keep track of the batch number you are on and it will automatically know whether to step through the prepared optimizer and how to adjust the loss.

Typically with gradient accumulation, you would need to adjust the number of steps to reflect the change in total batches you are
training on. ๐ค Accelerate automagically does this for you by default. Behind the scenes we instantiate a `GradientAccumulationPlugin`

configured to do this.

The state.GradientState is syncโd with the active dataloader being iterated upon. As such it assumes naively that when we have reached the end of the dataloader everything will sync and a step will be performed. To disable this, set `sync_with_dataloader`

to be `False`

in the `GradientAccumulationPlugin`

:

```
from accelerate import Accelerator
from accelerate.utils import GradientAccumulationPlugin
plugin = GradientAccumulationPlugin(sync_with_dataloader=False)
accelerator = Accelerator(..., gradient_accumulation_plugin=plugin)
```

## The finished code

Below is the finished implementation for performing gradient accumulation with ๐ค Accelerate

```
from accelerate import Accelerator
accelerator = Accelerator(gradient_accumulation_steps=2)
model, optimizer, training_dataloader, scheduler = accelerator.prepare(
model, optimizer, training_dataloader, scheduler
)
for batch in training_dataloader:
with accelerator.accumulate(model):
inputs, targets = batch
outputs = model(inputs)
loss = loss_function(outputs, targets)
accelerator.backward(loss)
optimizer.step()
scheduler.step()
optimizer.zero_grad()
```

Itโs important that **only one forward/backward** should be done inside the context manager `with accelerator.accumulate(model)`

.

To learn more about what magic this wraps around, read the Gradient Synchronization concept guide

## Self-contained example

Here is a self-contained example that you can run to see gradient accumulation in action with ๐ค Accelerate:

```
import torch
import copy
from accelerate import Accelerator
from accelerate.utils import set_seed
from torch.utils.data import TensorDataset, DataLoader
# seed
set_seed(0)
# define toy inputs and labels
x = torch.tensor([1., 2., 3., 4., 5., 6., 7., 8.])
y = torch.tensor([2., 4., 6., 8., 10., 12., 14., 16.])
gradient_accumulation_steps = 4
batch_size = len(x) // gradient_accumulation_steps
# define dataset and dataloader
dataset = TensorDataset(x, y)
dataloader = DataLoader(dataset, batch_size=batch_size)
# define model, optimizer and loss function
model = torch.zeros((1, 1), requires_grad=True)
model_clone = copy.deepcopy(model)
criterion = torch.nn.MSELoss()
model_optimizer = torch.optim.SGD([model], lr=0.02)
accelerator = Accelerator(gradient_accumulation_steps=gradient_accumulation_steps)
model, model_optimizer, dataloader = accelerator.prepare(model, model_optimizer, dataloader)
model_clone_optimizer = torch.optim.SGD([model_clone], lr=0.02)
print(f"initial model weight is {model.mean().item():.5f}")
print(f"initial model weight is {model_clone.mean().item():.5f}")
for i, (inputs, labels) in enumerate(dataloader):
with accelerator.accumulate(model):
inputs = inputs.view(-1, 1)
print(i, inputs.flatten())
labels = labels.view(-1, 1)
outputs = inputs @ model
loss = criterion(outputs, labels)
accelerator.backward(loss)
model_optimizer.step()
model_optimizer.zero_grad()
loss = criterion(x.view(-1, 1) @ model_clone, y.view(-1, 1))
model_clone_optimizer.zero_grad()
loss.backward()
model_clone_optimizer.step()
print(f"w/ accumulation, the final model weight is {model.mean().item():.5f}")
print(f"w/o accumulation, the final model weight is {model_clone.mean().item():.5f}")
```

```
initial model weight is 0.00000
initial model weight is 0.00000
0 tensor([1., 2.])
1 tensor([3., 4.])
2 tensor([5., 6.])
3 tensor([7., 8.])
w/ accumulation, the final model weight is 2.04000
w/o accumulation, the final model weight is 2.04000
```