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  1. Deformable Convolutional Networks (DCN) have been proposed as a powerful tool to boost the representation power of Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) in computer vision tasks via adaptive sampling of the input feature map. Much like vision transformers, DCNs utilize a more flexible inductive bias than standard CNNs and have also been shown to improve performance of particular models. For example, drop-in DCN layers were shown to increase the AP score of Mask RCNN by 10.6 points while introducing only 1% additional parameters and FLOPs, improving the state-of-the art model at the time of publication. However, despite evidence that more DCN layers placed earlier in the network can further improve performance, we have not seen this trend continue with further scaling of deformations in CNNs, unlike for vision transformers. Benchmarking experiments show that a realistically sized DCN layer (64H×64W, 64 in-out channel) incurs a 4× slowdown on a GPU platform, discouraging the more ubiquitous use of deformations in CNNs. These slowdowns are caused by the irregular input-dependent access patterns of the bilinear interpolation operator, which has a disproportionately low arithmetic intensity (AI) compared to the rest of the DCN. To address the disproportionate slowdown of DCNs and enable their expanded use in CNNs, we propose DefT, a series of workload-aware optimizations for DCN kernels. DefT identifies performance bottlenecks in DCNs and fuses specific operators that are observed to limit DCN AI. Our approach also uses statistical information of DCN workloads to adapt the workload tiling to the DCN layer dimensions, minimizing costly out-of-boundary input accesses. Experimental results show that DefT mitigates up to half of DCN slowdown over the current-art PyTorch implementation. This translates to a layerwise speedup of up to 134% and a reduction of normalized training time of 46% on a fully DCN-enabled ResNet model. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 25, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2024
  3. Abstract

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) Artificial Intelligence (AI) Institute for Edge Computing Leveraging Next Generation Networks (Athena) seeks to foment a transformation in modern edge computing by advancing AI foundations, computing paradigms, networked computing systems, and edge services and applications from a completely new computing perspective. Led by Duke University, Athena leverages revolutionary developments in computer systems, machine learning, networked computing systems, cyber‐physical systems, and sensing. Members of Athena form a multidisciplinary team from eight universities. Athena organizes its research activities under four interrelated thrusts supporting edge computing: Foundational AI, Computer Systems, Networked Computing Systems, and Services and Applications, which constitute an ambitious and comprehensive research agenda. The research tasks of Athena will focus on developing AI‐driven next‐generation technologies for edge computing and new algorithmic and practical foundations of AI and evaluating the research outcomes through a combination of analytical, experimental, and empirical instruments, especially with target use‐inspired research. The researchers of Athena demonstrate a cohesive effort by synergistically integrating the research outcomes from the four thrusts into three pillars: Edge Computing AI Systems, Collaborative Extended Reality (XR), and Situational Awareness and Autonomy. Athena is committed to a robust and comprehensive suite of educational and workforce development endeavors alongside its domestic and international collaboration and knowledge transfer efforts with external stakeholders that include both industry and community partnerships.

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  4. Neural network models have demonstrated outstanding performance in a variety of applications, from image classification to natural language processing. However, deploying the models to hardware raises efficiency and reliability issues. From the efficiency perspective, the storage, computation, and communication cost of neural network processing is considerably large because the neural network models have a large number of parameters and operations. From the standpoint of robustness, the perturbation in hardware is unavoidable and thus the performance of neural networks can be degraded. As a result, this paper investigates effective learning and optimization approaches as well as advanced hardware designs in order to build efficient and robust neural network designs. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    The ever-growing parameter size and computation cost of Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) models hinder their deployment onto resource-constrained platforms. Network pruning techniques are proposed to remove the redundancy in CNN parameters and produce a sparse model. Sparse-aware accelerators are also proposed to reduce the computation cost and memory bandwidth requirements of inference by leveraging the model sparsity. The irregularity of sparse patterns, however, limits the efficiency of those designs. Researchers proposed to address this issue by creating a regular sparsity pattern through hardware-aware pruning algorithms. However, the pruning rate of these solutions is largely limited by the enforced sparsity patterns. This limitation motivates us to explore other compression methods beyond pruning. With two decoupled computation stages, we found that kernel decomposition could potentially take the processing of the sparse pattern off from the critical path of inference and achieve a high compression ratio without enforcing the sparse patterns. To exploit these advantages, we propose ESCALATE, an algorithm-hardware co-design approach based on kernel decomposition. At algorithm level, ESCALATE reorganizes the two computation stages of the decomposed convolution to enable a stream processing of the intermediate feature map. We proposed a hybrid quantization to exploit the different reuse frequency of each part of the decomposed weight. At architecture level, ESCALATE proposes a novel ‘Basis-First’ dataflow and its corresponding microarchitecture design to maximize the benefits brought by the decomposed convolution. 
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  6. Deep learning is the core of artificial intelligence and it achieves state-of-the-art in a wide range of applications. The intensity of computation and data in deep learning processing poses significant challenges to the conventional computing platforms. Thus, specialized accelerator architectures are proposed for the acceleration of deep learning. In this paper, we classify the design space of current deep learning accelerators into three levels, (1) processing engine, (2) memory and (3) accelerator, and present a constructive view from a perspective of parallelism in the three levels. 
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  7. Deep neural networks (DNNs) emerge as a key component in various applications. However, the ever-growing DNN size hinders efficient processing on hardware. To tackle this problem, on the algorithmic side, compressed DNN models are explored, of which block-circulant DNN models are memory efficient and hardware-friendly; on the hardware side, resistive random-access memory (ReRAM) based accelerators are promising for in-situ processing of DNNs. In this work, we design an accelerator named ReBoc for accelerating block-circulant DNNs in ReRAM to reap the benefits of light-weight models and efficient in-situ processing simultaneously. We propose a novel mapping scheme which utilizes Horizontal Weight Slicing and Intra-Crossbar Weight Duplication to map block-circulant DNN models onto ReRAM crossbars with significant improved crossbar utilization. Moreover, two specific techniques, namely Input Slice Reusing and Input Tile Sharing are introduced to take advantage of the circulant calculation feature in block- circulant DNNs to reduce data access and buffer size. In REBOC, a DNN model is executed within an intra-layer processing pipeline and achieves respectively 96× and 8.86× power efficiency improvement compared to the state-of-the-art FPGA and ASIC accelerators for block-circulant neural networks. Compared to ReRAM-based DNN accelerators, REBOC achieves averagely 4.1× speedup and 2.6× energy reduction. 
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