DistriFusion: Distributed Parallel Inference for High-Resolution Diffusion Models

Muyang Li*, Tianle Cai*, Jiaxin Cao, Qinsheng Zhang, Han Cai, Junjie Bai, Yangqing Jia, Ming-Yu Liu, Kai Li, and Song Han
MIT, Princeton, Lepton AI, and NVIDIA
(* indicates equal contribution)


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Diffusion models have achieved great success in synthesizing high-quality images. However, generating high-resolution images with diffusion models is still challenging due to the enormous computational costs, resulting in a prohibitive latency for interactive applications. In this paper, we propose DistriFusion to tackle this problem by leveraging parallelism across multiple GPUs. Our method splits the model input into multiple patches and assigns each patch to a GPU. However, naïvely implementing such an algorithm breaks the interaction between patches and loses fidelity, while incorporating such an interaction will incur tremendous communication overhead. To overcome this dilemma, we observe the high similarity between the input from adjacent diffusion steps and propose displaced patch parallelism which takes advantage of the sequential nature of the diffusion process by reusing the pre-computed feature maps from the previous timestep to provide context for the current step. Therefore, our method supports asynchronous communication, which can be pipelined by computation. Extensive experiments show that our method can be applied to recent Stable Diffusion XL with no quality degradation and achieve up to a 6.1× speedup on eight NVIDIA A100s compared to one. Our code is publicly available at https://github.com/mit-han-lab/distrifuser.


We introduce DistriFusion, a training-free algorithm to harness multiple GPUs to accelerate diffusion model inference without sacrificing image quality. Naïve Patch (Method (b)) suffers from the fragmentation issue due to the lack of patch interaction. The presented examples are generated with SDXL using a 50-step Euler sampler at 1280x1920 resolution, and latency is measured on A100 GPUs.


(a) Original diffusion model running on a single device. (b) Naïvely splitting the image into 2 patches across 2 GPUs has an evident seam at the boundary due to the absence of interaction across patches. (c) Our DistriFusion employs synchronous communication for patch interaction at the first step. After that, we reuse the activations from the previous step via asynchronous communication. In this way, the communication overhead can be hidden into the computation pipeline.


Measured total latency of DistriFusion with SDXL using a 50-step DDIM sampler for generating a single image across on NVIDIA A100 GPUs. When scaling up the resolution, the GPU devices are better utilized. Remarkably, when generating 3840x3840 images, DistriFusion achieves 1.8×, 3.4× and 6.1× speedups with 2, 4, and 8 A100s, respectively.

Quality Results

Qualitative results of SDXL. FID is computed against the ground-truth images. Our DistriFusion can reduce the latency according to the number of used devices while preserving visual fidelity.



 title={DistriFusion: Distributed Parallel Inference for High-Resolution Diffusion Models},
 author={Li, Muyang and Cai, Tianle and Cao, Jiaxin and Zhang, Qinsheng and Cai, Han and Bai, Junjie and Jia, Yangqing and Liu, Ming-Yu and Li, Kai and Han, Song},
 booktitle={Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},


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We thank Jun-Yan Zhu and Ligeng Zhu for their helpful discussion and valuable feedback. The project is supported by MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, Amazon, MIT Science Hub, and National Science Foundation.

Team Members