Systematic design of low-power processing elements using stochastic and approximate computing techniques
|Authors:||Najafi, Ardalan||Supervisor:||Garcia-Ortiz, Alberto||1. Expert:||Guillermo, Paya-Vaya||2. Expert:||Fey, Görschwin||Abstract:||
The approximate and stochastic computing have been developed, on the one hand, to address the diminishing gains of technology scaling, and on the other hand, to exploit the intrinsic error resilience of many applications. They, indeed, take advantage of the disparity between the level of accuracy required by the application and that provided by the computing system, for achieving energy efficiency. As of the most important constitutes of an integrated circuit, arithmetic units often lie within the critical path of a processing system. They play a vital role in determining the performance and power consumption of the computing system.
In the past decade, the design of the approximate arithmetic units has been in the center of attentions of the VLSI design research community; resulting in a numerous proposed approximate designs in the literature. In spite of a decade work on the approximate computing, there are still unresolved challenges faced by digital designers.
The concept of acceptable quality of the results forms the foundation of the approximate and stochastic computing. In view of this fact, it is crucially decisive to have a clear, quantifiable definition of what signifies an acceptable quality. Indeed, the current metrics most often do not capture the requirements of a target application, and hence, mislead to sub-optimal design options for the application. Moreover, non-systematic designs, lack of fair comparisons and reproducible research have resulted in somewhat limited progresses in the field of approximate and stochastic computing. Besides, the accuracy requirements of an application is not a static property and may change across the different phases of the application. Therefore, it is important to systematically develop approximate and stochastic computing platforms which offer a variety of output qualities.
In this dissertation, the aim is to take fundamental steps towards resolving the aforementioned challenges. Correspondingly, the following contributions are made in this dissertation. First, to palliate the lack of expressiveness of current metrics, a new parameterizable metric which correlates more precisely to the accuracy of the applications is proposed in this dissertation. Afterwards, the importance of fair comparisons for approximate computing units is underlined in this work. Subsequently, through generalizing and systematically optimizing an architectural template for approximate adders, an architecture is proposed which outperforms its existing counterparts. A conceptual framework for the systematic design of approximate adders including hybrid and non-equally segmented approaches is developed next. The framework discriminates the scenarios where approximate processing does not provide significant benefits from those where it does; in this latter case, it aids in obtaining optimal configurations for the adders. Furthermore, in order to address the dynamic configuration of the error characteristics, a stochastically-tunable adder is proposed which reduces the energy-delay product considerably in comparison with its conventional counterpart. In addition, we develop data-dependent corrections for truncated multipliers, where the proposed architectures surpass the existing approximate multipliers in the literature.
The applicability of the proposed methods, and in general approximate computing units is eventually studied in modern applications. The correlation between the errors of a single unit and the whole system’s accuracy is also investigated in the applications.
|Keywords:||Approximate Computing; Stochastic Computing; Low-power Design; Arithmetic Units; Digital VLSI Design||Issue Date:||26-Jan-2021||Type:||Dissertation||DOI:||10.26092/elib/460||URN:||urn:nbn:de:gbv:46-elib46635||Institution:||Universität Bremen||Faculty:||Fachbereich 01: Physik/Elektrotechnik (FB 01)|
|Appears in Collections:||Dissertationen|
checked on Feb 27, 2021
checked on Feb 27, 2021
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