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  1. Transfer learning on edge is challenging due to on-device limited resources. Existing work addresses this issue by training a subset of parameters or adding model patches. Developed with inference in mind, Inverted Residual Blocks (IRBs) split a convolutional layer into depthwise and pointwise convolutions, leading to more stacking layers, e.g., convolution, normalization, and activation layers. Though they are efficient for inference, IRBs require that additional activation maps are stored in memory for training weights for convolution layers and scales for normalization layers. As a result, their high memory cost prohibits training IRBs on resource-limited edge devices, and making them unsuitable in the context of transfer learning. To address this issue, we present MobileTL, a memory and computationally efficient on-device transfer learning method for models built with IRBs. MobileTL trains the shifts for internal normalization layers to avoid storing activation maps for the backward pass. Also, MobileTL approximates the backward computation of the activation layer (e.g., Hard-Swish and ReLU6) as a signed function which enables storing a binary mask instead of activation maps for the backward pass. MobileTL fine-tunes a few top blocks (close to output) rather than propagating the gradient through the whole network to reduce the computation cost. Our method reduces memory usage by 46% and 53% for MobileNetV2 and V3 IRBs, respectively. For MobileNetV3, we observe a 36% reduction in floating-point operations (FLOPs) when fine-tuning 5 blocks, while only incurring a 0.6% accuracy reduction on CIFAR10. Extensive experiments on multiple datasets demonstrate that our method is Pareto-optimal (best accuracy under given hardware constraints) compared to prior work in transfer learning for edge devices. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 27, 2024
  2. 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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    With the explosion in Big Data, it is often forgotten that much of the data nowadays is generated at the edge. Specifically, a major source of data is users' endpoint devices like phones, smart watches, etc., that are connected to the internet, also known as the Internet-of-Things (IoT). This "edge of data" faces several new challenges related to hardware-constraints, privacy-aware learning, and distributed learning (both training as well as inference). So what systems and machine learning algorithms can we use to generate or exploit data at the edge? Can network science help us solve machine learning (ML) problems? Can IoT-devices help people who live with some form of disability and many others benefit from health monitoring? In this tutorial, we introduce the network science and ML techniques relevant to edge computing, discuss systems for ML (e.g., model compression, quantization, HW/SW co-design, etc.) and ML for systems design (e.g., run-time resource optimization, power management for training and inference on edge devices), and illustrate their impact in addressing concrete IoT applications. 
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  6. Weight quantization for deep ConvNets has shown promising results for applications such as image classification and semantic segmentation and is especially important for applications where memory storage is limited. However, when aiming for quantization without accuracy degradation, different tasks may end up with different bitwidths. This creates complexity for software and hardware support and the complexity accumulates when one considers mixed-precision quantization, in which case each layer’s weights use a different bitwidth. Our key insight is that optimizing for the least bitwidth subject to no accuracy degradation is not necessarily an optimal strategy. This is because one cannot decide optimality between two bitwidths if one has smaller model size while the other has better accuracy. In this work, we take the first step to understand if some weight bitwidth is better than others by aligning all to the same model size using a width-multiplier. Under this setting, somewhat surprisingly, we show that using a single bitwidth for the whole network can achieve better accuracy compared to mixed-precision quantization targeting zero accuracy degradation when both have the same model size. In particular, our results suggest that when the number of channels becomes a target hyperparameter, a single weight bitwidth throughout the network shows superior results for model compression. 
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