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  1. Transformer networks have achieved remarkable success in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Computer Vision applications. However, the underlying large volumes of Transformer computations demand high reliability and resilience to soft errors in processor hardware. The objective of this research is to develop efficient techniques for design of error resilient Transformer architectures. To enable this, we first perform a soft error vulnerability analysis of every fully connected layers in Transformer computations. Based on this study, error detection and suppression modules are selectively introduced into datapaths to restore Transformer performance under anticipated error rate conditions. Memory access errors and neuron output errors are detected using checksums of linear Transformer computations. Correction consists of determining output neurons with out-of-range values and suppressing the same to zero. For a Transformer with nominal BLEU score of 52.7, such vulnerability guided selective error suppression can recover language translation performance from a BLEU score of 0 to 50.774 with as much as 0.001 probability of activation error, incurring negligible memory and computation overheads. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 22, 2024
  2. Deep learning techniques have been widely adopted in daily life with applications ranging from face recognition to recommender systems. The substantial overhead of conventional error tolerance techniques precludes their widespread use, while approaches involving median filtering and invariant generation rely on alterations to DNN training that may be difficult to achieve for larger networks on larger datasets. To address this issue, this paper presents a novel approach taking advantage of the statistics of neuron output gradients to identify and suppress erroneous neuron values. By using the statistics of neurons’ gradients with respect to their neighbors, tighter statistical thresholds are obtained compared to the use of neuron output values alone. This approach is modular and is combined with accurate, low-overhead error detection methods to ensure it is used only when needed, further reducing its cost. Deep learning models can be trained using standard methods and our error correction module is fit to a trained DNN, achieving comparable or superior performance compared to baseline error correction methods while incurring comparable hardware overhead without needing to modify DNN training or utilize specialized hardware architectures. 
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