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  1. Deep convolutional neural network (DNN) has demonstrated phenomenal success and been widely used in many computer vision tasks. However, its enormous model size and high computing complexity prohibits its wide deployment into resource limited embedded system, such as FPGA and mGPU. As the two most widely adopted model compression techniques, weight pruning and quantization compress DNN model through introducing weight sparsity (i.e., forcing partial weights as zeros) and quantizing weights into limited bit-width values, respectively. Although there are works attempting to combine the weight pruning and quantization, we still observe disharmony between weight pruning and quantization, especially when more aggressive compression schemes (e.g., Structured pruning and low bit-width quantization) are used. In this work, taking FPGA as the test computing platform and Processing Elements (PE) as the basic parallel computing unit, we first propose a PE-wise structured pruning scheme, which introduces weight sparsification with considering of the architecture of PE. In addition, we integrate it with an optimized weight ternarization approach which quantizes weights into ternary values ({-1,0,+1}), thus converting the dominant convolution operations in DNN from multiplication-and-accumulation (MAC) to addition-only, as well as compressing the original model (from 32-bit floating point to 2-bit ternary representation) by at least 16more »times. Then, we investigate and solve the coexistence issue between PE-wise Structured pruning and ternarization, through proposing a Weight Penalty Clipping (WPC) technique with self-adapting threshold. Our experiment shows that the fusion of our proposed techniques can achieve the best state-of-the-art ∼21× PE-wise structured compression rate with merely 1.74%/0.94% (top-1/top-5) accuracy degradation of ResNet-18 on ImageNet dataset.« less
  2. With the success of deep neural networks (DNN), many recent works have been focusing on developing hardware accelerator for power and resource-limited embedded system via model compression techniques, such as quantization, pruning, low-rank approximation, etc. However, almost all existing DNN structure is fixed after deployment, which lacks runtime adaptive DNN structure to adapt to its dynamic hardware resource, power budget, throughput requirement, as well as dynamic workload. Correspondingly, there is no runtime adaptive hardware platform to support dynamic DNN structure. To address this problem, we first propose a dynamic channel-adaptive deep neural network (CA-DNN) which can adjust the involved convolution channel (i.e. model size, computing load) at run-time (i.e. at inference stage without retraining) to dynamically trade off between power, speed, computing load and accuracy. Further, we utilize knowledge distillation method to optimize the model and quantize the model to 8-bits and 16-bits, respectively, for hardware friendly mapping. We test the proposed model on CIFAR-10 and ImageNet dataset by using ResNet. Comparing with the same model size of individual model, our CA-DNN achieves better accuracy. Moreover, as far as we know, we are the first to propose a Processing-in-Memory accelerator for such adaptive neural networks structure based on Spin Orbitmore »Torque Magnetic Random Access Memory(SOT-MRAM) computational adaptive sub-arrays. Then, we comprehensively analyze the trade-off of the model with different channel-width between the accuracy and the hardware parameters, eg., energy, memory, and area overhead.« less
  3. In this paper, we propose ReDRAM, as a reconfigurable DRAM-based processing-in-memory (PIM) accelerator, which transforms current DRAM architecture to massively parallel computational units exploiting the high internal bandwidth of modern memory chips. ReDRAM uses the analog operation of DRAM sub-arrays and elevates it to implement a full set of 1- and 2-input bulk bit-wise operations (NOT, (N)AND, (N)OR, and even X(N)OR) between operands stored in the same bit-line, based on a new dual-row activation mechanism with a modest change to peripheral circuits such sense amplifiers. ReDRAM can be leveraged to greatly reduce energy consumption and latency of complex in-DRAM logic computations relying on state-of-the-art mechanisms based on triple-row activation, dual-contact cells, row initialization, NOR style, etc. The extensive circuit-architecture simulations show that ReDRAM achieves on average 54× and 7.1× higher throughput for performing bulk bit-wise operations compared with CPU and GPU, respectively. Besides, ReDRAM outperforms recent processing-in-DRAM platforms with up to 3.7× better performance.
  4. Nowadays, research topics on AI accelerator designs have attracted great interest, where accelerating Deep Neural Network (DNN) using Processing-in-Memory (PIM) platforms is an actively-explored direction with great potential. PIM platforms, which simultaneously aims to address power- and memory-wall bottlenecks, have shown orders of performance enhancement in comparison to the conventional computing platforms with Von-Neumann architecture. As one direction of accelerating DNN in PIM, resistive memory array (aka. crossbar) has drawn great research interest owing to its analog current-mode weighted summation operation which intrinsically matches the dominant Multiplication-and-Accumulation (MAC) operation in DNN, making it one of the most promising candidates. An alternative direction for PIM-based DNN acceleration is through bulk bit-wise logic operations directly performed on the content in digital memories. Thanks to the high fault-tolerant characteristic of DNN, the latest algorithmic progression successfully quantized DNN parameters to low bit-width representations, while maintaining competitive accuracy levels. Such DNN quantization techniques essentially convert MAC operation to much simpler addition/subtraction or comparison operations, which can be performed by bulk bit-wise logic operations in a highly parallel fashion. In this paper, we build a comprehensive evaluation framework to quantitatively compare and analyze aforementioned PIM based analog and digital approaches for DNN acceleration.
  5. Latest algorithmic development has brought competitive classification accuracy for neural networks despite constraining the network parameters to ternary or binary representations. These findings show significant optimization opportunities to replace computationally-intensive convolution operations (based on multiplication) with more efficient and less complex operations such as addition. In hardware implementation domain, processing-in-memory architecture is becoming a promising solution to alleviate enormous energy-hungry data communication between memory and processing units, bringing considerable improvement for system performance and energy efficiency while running such large networks. In this paper, we review several of our recent works regarding Processing-in-Memory (PIM) accelerator based on Magnetic Random Access Memory computational sub-arrays to accelerate the inference mode of quantized neural networks using digital non-volatile memory rather than using analog crossbar operation. In this way, we investigate the performance of two distinct in-memory addition schemes compared to other digital methods based on processing-in-DRAM/GPU/ASIC design to tackle DNN power and memory wall bottleneck.
  6. In this work, we investigate various non-ideal effects (Stuck-At-Fault (SAF), IR-drop, thermal noise, shot noise, and random telegraph noise)of ReRAM crossbar when employing it as a dot-product engine for deep neural network (DNN) acceleration. In order to examine the impacts of those non-ideal effects, we first develop a comprehensive framework called PytorX based on main-stream DNN pytorch framework. PytorX could perform end-to-end training, mapping, and evaluation for crossbar-based neural network accelerator, considering all above discussed non-ideal effects of ReRAM crossbar together. Experiments based on PytorX show that directly mapping the trained large scale DNN into crossbar without considering these non-ideal effects could lead to a complete system malfunction (i.e., equal to random guess) when the neural network goes deeper and wider. In particular, to address SAF side effects, we propose a digital SAF error correction algorithm to compensate for crossbar output errors, which only needs one-time profiling to achieve almost no system accuracy degradation. Then, to overcome IR drop effects, we propose a Noise Injection Adaption (NIA) methodology by incorporating statistics of current shift caused by IR drop in each crossbar as stochastic noise to DNN training algorithm, which could efficiently regularize DNN model to make it intrinsically adaptive tomore »non-ideal ReRAM crossbar. It is a one-time training method without the request of retraining for every specific crossbar. Optimizing system operating frequency could easily take care of rest non-ideal effects. Various experiments on different DNNs using image recognition application are conducted to show the efficacy of our proposed methodology.« less