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From Henry Saputra <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] [PROPOSAL] Singa for Apache Incubator
Date Wed, 28 Jan 2015 02:55:18 GMT
Quick immediate comment that "Apache H2O" is not really Apache project.

I assume you are referring to (or ?

- Henry

On Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 5:29 PM, Thejas Nair <> wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> I would like to propose the inclusion of Singa as an Apache Incubator project.
> Here is the proposal -
> Please review the proposal and give feedback. I am planning to start a
> vote after 7 days if the proposal looks good.
> We are also seeking additional Apache mentors for the project.
> Thanks,
> Thejas
> ==========================================================
> Singa Incubator Proposal
> Abstract
> SINGA is a distributed deep learning platform.
> Proposal
> SINGA is an efficient, scalable and easy-to-use distributed platform
> for training deep learning models, e.g., Deep Convolutional Neural
> Network and Deep Belief Network. It parallelizes the computation
> (i.e., training) onto a cluster of nodes by distributing the training
> data and model automatically to speed up the training. Built-in
> training algorithms like Back-Propagation and Contrastive Divergence
> are implemented based on common abstractions of deep learning models.
> Users can train their own deep learning models by simply customizing
> these abstractions like implementing the Mapper and Reducer in Hadoop.
> Background
> Deep learning refers to a set of feature (or representation) learning
> models that consist of multiple (non-linear) layers, where different
> layers learn different levels of abstractions (representations) of the
> raw input data. Larger (in terms of model parameters) and deeper (in
> terms of number of layers) models have shown better performance, e.g.,
> lower image classification error in Large Scale Visual Recognition
> Challenge. However, a larger model requires more memory and larger
> training data to reduce over-fitting. Complex numeric operations make
> the training computation intensive. In practice, training large deep
> learning models takes weeks or months on a single node (even with
> GPU).
> Rational
> Deep learning has gained a lot of attraction in both academia and
> industry due to its success in a wide range of areas such as computer
> vision and speech recognition. However, training of such models is
> computationally expensive, especially for large and deep models (e.g.,
> with billions of parameters and more than 10 layers). Both Google and
> Microsoft have developed distributed deep learning systems to make the
> training more efficient by distributing the computations within a
> cluster of nodes. However, these systems are closed source softwares.
> Our goal is to leverage the community of open source developers to
> make SINGA efficient, scalable and easy to use. SINGA is a full
> fledged distributed platform, that could benefit the community and
> also benefit from the community in their involvement in contributing
> to the further work in this area. We believe the nature of SINGA and
> our visions for the system fit naturally to Apache's philosophy and
> development framework.
> Initial Goals
> We have developed a system for SINGA running on a commodity computer
> cluster. The initial goals include, * improving the system in terms of
> scalability and efficiency, e.g., using Infiniband for network
> communication and multi-threading for one node computation. We would
> consider extending SINGA to GPU clusters later. * benchmarking with
> larger datasets (hundreds of millions of training instances) and
> models (billions of parameters). * adding more built-in deep learning
> models. Users can train the built-in models on their datasets
> directly.
> Current Status
> Meritocracy
> We would like to follow ASF meritocratic principles to encourage more
> developers to contribute in this project. We know that only active and
> excellent developers can make SINGA a successful project. The
> committer list and PMC will be updated based on developers'
> performance and commitment. We are also improving the documentation
> and code to help new developers get started quickly.
> Community
> SINGA is currently being developed in the Database System Research Lab
> at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in collaboration with
> Zhejiang University in China. Our lab has extensive experience in
> building database related systems, including distributed systems. Six
> PhD students and research assistants (Jinyang Gao, Kaiping Zheng,
> Sheng Wang, Wei Wang, Zhaojing Luo and Zhongle Xie) , a research
> fellow (Anh Dinh) and three professors (Beng Chin Ooi, Gang Chen, Kian
> Lee Tan) have been working for a year on this project. We are open to
> recruiting more developers from diverse backgrounds.
> Core Developers
> Beng Chin Ooi, Gang Chen and Kian Lee Tan are professors who have
> worked on distributed systems for more than 20 years. They have
> collaborated with the industry and have built various large scale
> systems. Anh Dinh's research is also on distributed systems, albeit
> with more focus on security aspects. Wei Wang's research is on deep
> learning problems including deep learning applications and large scale
> training. Sheng Wang and Jinyang are working on efficient indexing,
> querying of large scale data and machine learning. Kaiping, Zhaojing
> and Zhongle are new PhD students who jointed SINGA recently. They will
> work on this project for a longer time (next 4-5 years). While we
> share common research interests, each member also brings diverse
> expertise to the team.
> Alignment
> ASF is already the home of many distributed platforms, e.g., Hadoop,
> Spark and Mahout, each of which targets a different application
> domain. SINGA, being a distributed platform for large-scale deep
> learning, focuses on another important domain for which there still
> lacks a robust and scalable open-source platform. The recent success
> of deep learning models especially for vision and speech recognition
> tasks has generated interests in both applying existing deep learning
> models and in developing new ones. Thus, an open-source platform for
> deep learning will be able to attract a large community of users and
> developers. SINGA is a complex system needing many iterations of
> design, implementation and testing. Apache's collaboration framework
> which encourages active contribution from developers will inevitably
> help improve the quality of the system, as shown in the success of
> Hadoop, Spark, etc.. Equally important is the community of users which
> helps identify real-life applications of deep learning, and helps to
> evaluate the system's performance and ease-of-use. We hope to leverage
> ASF for coordinating and promoting both communities, and in return
> benefit the communities with another useful tool.
> Known Risks
> Orphaned products
> Four core developers (Anh, Wei Wang, Jinyang and Sheng Wang) may leave
> the lab in two to four years time. It is possible that some of them
> may not have enough time to focus on this project after that. But,
> SINGA is part of our other bigger research projects on building an
> infrastructure for data intensive applications, which include
> health-care analytics and brain-inspired computing. Beng Chin and Kian
> Lee would continue working on it and getting more people involved. For
> example, three new developers (Kaiping, Zhaojing and Zhongle) joined
> us recently. Individual developers are welcome to make SINGA a diverse
> community that is robust and independent from any single developer.
> Inexperience with Open Source
> All the developers are active users and followers of open source
> projects. Our research lab has a strong commitment to open source, and
> has released the source code of several systems under open source
> license as a way of contributing back to the open source community.
> But we do not have much real experience in open source projects with
> large and well organized communities like those in Apache. This is one
> reason we choose Apache which is experienced in open source project
> incubation. We hope to get the help from Apache (e.g., champion and
> mentors) to establish a healthy path for SINGA.
> Homogenous Developers
> Although the current developers are researchers in the universities,
> they have different research interests and project experiences, as
> mentioned in the section that introduces the core developers. We know
> that a diverse community is helpful. Hence we are open to the idea of
> recruiting developers from other regions and organizations.
> Reliance on Salaried Developers
> As a research project in the university, SINGA's current developing
> community consists of professors, PhD students, research assistants
> and postdoctoral fellows. They are driven by their interests to work
> on this project and have contributed actively since the start of the
> project. The research assistants and fellows are expected to leave
> when their contracts expire. However, they are keen to continue to
> work on the project voluntarily. Moreover, as a long term research
> project, new research assistants and fellows are likely to join the
> project.
> A Excessive Fascination with the Apache Brand
> We choose Apache not for publicity. We have two purposes. First, we
> want to leverage Apache's reputation to recruit more developers to
> make a diverse community. Second, we hope that Apache can help us to
> establish a healthy path in developing SINGA. Beng Chin and Kian-Lee
> are established database and distributed system researchers, and
> together with the other contributors, they sincerely believe that
> there is a need for a widely accepted open source distributed deep
> learning platform. The field of deep learning is still at its infancy,
> and an open source platform will fuel the research in the area.
> Moreover, such a platform will enable researchers to develop new
> models and algorithms, rather than spending time implementing a deep
> learning system from scratch. Furthermore, the need for scalability
> for such a platform is obvious.
> Relationship with Other Apache Products
> Apache H2O implemented two simple deep learning models, namely the
> Multi-Layer Perceptron and Deep Auto-encoders. There are two
> significant differences between H2O and SINGA. First, H2O adopts the
> Map-Reduce framework which runs a set of computing nodes in parallel
> againsts of the training set. Model parameters trained by all
> computing nodes are averaged as the final model parameters. This
> training algorithm is different from the distributed training
> algorithm used by DistBelief, Adam and SINGA, which frequently
> synchronizes the parameters trained from different nodes. SINGA adopts
> the parameter server framework to support a wide range of distributed
> training algorithms and parallelization methods (e.g., data
> parallelism, model parallelism and hybrid parallelism. H2O only
> support data parallelism) . Second, in H2O, users are restricted to
> use the two built-in models. In SINGA, we provide simple programming
> model to let users implement their own deep learning models. A new
> deep learning model can be implemented by customizing the base Layer
> class for each layer involved in the model. It is similar to writing
> Hadoop programs where users only need to override the base Mapper and
> Reducer. We also provide built-in models for users to use directly.
> Documentation
> The project is hosted at
> Documentations can be found at the Github Wiki Page:
> We continue to refine and
> improve the documentation.
> Initial Source
> We use Github to maintain our source code,
> Source and Intellectual Property Submission Plan
> We plan to make our code base be under Apache License, Version 2.0.
> External Dependencies
> required by the core code base: glog, gflags, google protobuf,
> open-blas, mpich, armci-mpi.
> required by data preparation and preprocessing: opencv, hdfs, python.
> Cryptography
> Not Applicable
> Required Resources
> Mailing Lists
> Currently, we use google group for internal discussion. The mailing
> address is We will migrate the content to the
> apache mailing lists in the future.
> singa-dev
> singa-user
> singa-commits
> singa-private (for private discussion within PCM)
> Git Repository
> We want to continue using git for version control. Hence, a git repo
> is required.
> Issue Tracking
> JIRA Singa (SINGA)
> Initial Committers
> Beng Chin Ooi (ooibc
> Kian Lee Tan (tankl
> Gang Chen (cg
> Wei Wang (wangwei
> Dinh Tien Tuan Anh (dinhtta
> Jinyang Gao (jinyang.gao
> Sheng Wang (wangsh
> Kaiping Zheng (kaiping
> Zhaojing Luo (zhaojing
> Zhongle Xie (zhongle
> Affiliations
> Beng Chin Ooi, National University of Singapore
> Kian Lee Tan, National University of Singapore
> Gang Chen, Zhejiang University
> Wei Wang, National University of Singapore
> Dinh Tien Tuan Anh, National University of Singapore
> Jinyang Gao, National University of Singapore
> Sheng Wang, National University of Singapore
> Kaiping Zheng, National University of Singapore
> Zhaojing Luo, National University of Singapore
> Zhongle Xie, National University of Singapore
> Sponsors
> Champion
> Thejas Nair (thejas at - Hortonworks
> Nominated Mentors
> Thejas Nair (thejas at - Hortonworks
> Alan Gates (gates at apache dot org) - Hortonworks
> (Seeking more volunteers!)
> Sponsoring Entity
> We are requesting the Incubator to sponsor this project.
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