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  1. As the machine learning and systems communities strive to achieve higher energy-efficiency through custom deep neural network (DNN) accelerators, varied precision or quantization levels, and model compression techniques, there is a need for design space exploration frameworks that incorporate quantization-aware processing elements into the accelerator design space while having accurate and fast power, performance, and area models. In this work, we present QUIDAM , a highly parameterized quantization-aware DNN accelerator and model co-exploration framework. Our framework can facilitate future research on design space exploration of DNN accelerators for various design choices such as bit precision, processing element type, scratchpad sizes of processing elements, global buffer size, number of total processing elements, and DNN configurations. Our results show that different bit precisions and processing element types lead to significant differences in terms of performance per area and energy. Specifically, our framework identifies a wide range of design points where performance per area and energy varies more than 5 × and 35 ×, respectively. With the proposed framework, we show that lightweight processing elements achieve on par accuracy results and up to 5.7 × more performance per area and energy improvement when compared to the best INT16 based implementation. Finally, due to the efficiency of the pre-characterized power, performance, and area models, QUIDAM can speed up the design exploration process by 3-4 orders of magnitude as it removes the need for expensive synthesis and characterization of each design. 
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  2. In recent years, Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) have shown superior capability in visual learning tasks. While accuracy-wise CNNs provide unprecedented performance, they are also known to be computationally intensive and energy demanding for modern computer systems. In this paper, we propose Virtual Pooling (ViP), a model-level approach to improve speed and energy consumption of CNN-based image classification and object detection tasks, with a provable error bound. We show the efficacy of ViP through experiments on four CNN models, three representative datasets, both desktop and mobile platforms, and two visual learning tasks, i.e., image classification and object detection. For example, ViP delivers 2.1x speedup with less than 1.5% accuracy degradation in ImageNet classification on VGG16, and 1.8x speedup with 0.025 mAP degradation in PASCAL VOC object detection with Faster-RCNN. ViP also reduces mobile GPU and CPU energy consumption by up to 55% and 70%, respectively. As a complementary method to existing acceleration approaches, ViP achieves 1.9x speedup on ThiNet leading to a combined speedup of 5.23x on VGG16. Furthermore, ViP provides a knob for machine learning practitioners to generate a set of CNN models with varying trade-offs between system speed/energy consumption and accuracy to better accommodate the requirements of their tasks. Code is available at https://github.com/cmu-enyac/VirtualPooling. 
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