Prof. Avi Mendelson
Towards learning of filter-level heterogeneous compression of convolutional neural networks
Recently, deep learning has become a de facto standard in machine learning with convolutional neural networks (CNNs) demonstrating spectacular success on a wide variety of tasks. However, CNNs are typically very demanding computationally at inference time. One of the ways to alleviate this burden on certain hardware platforms is quantization relying on the use of low-precision arithmetic representation for the weights and the activations. Another popular method is the pruning of the number of filters in each layer. While mainstream deep learning methods train the neural networks weights while keeping the network architecture fixed, the emerging neural architecture search (NAS) techniques make the latter also amenable to training. In this paper, we formulate optimal arithmetic bit length allocation and neural network pruning as a NAS problem, searching for the configurations satisfying a computational complexity budget while maximizing the accuracy. We use a differentiable search method based on the continuous relaxation of the search space proposed by Liu et al. (2019a). We show, by grid search, that heterogeneous quantized networks suffer from a high variance which renders the benefit of the search questionable. For pruning, improvement over homogeneous cases is possible, but it is still challenging to find those configurations with the proposed method. The code is publicly available at https://github.com/yochaiz/Slimmable and https://github.com/yochaiz/darts-UNIQ.
Feature map transform coding for energy-efficient CNN inference
Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) achieve state-of-the-art accuracy in a variety of tasks in computer vision and beyond. One of the major obstacles hindering the ubiquitous use of CNNs for inference on low-power edge devices is their relatively high computational complexity and memory bandwidth requirements. The latter often dominates the energy footprint on modern hardware. In this paper, we introduce a lossy transform coding approach, inspired by image and video compression, designed to reduce the memory bandwidth due to the storage of intermediate activation calculation results. Our method exploits the high correlations between feature maps and adjacent pixels and allows to halve the data transfer volumes to the main memory without re-training. We analyze the performance of our approach on a variety of CNN architectures and demonstrated FPGA implementation of ResNet18 with our approach results in a reduction of around 40% in the memory energy footprint compared to quantized network with negligible impact on accuracy. A reference implementation accompanies the paper.
NICE: noise injection and clamping estimation for neural network quantization
Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) are very popular in many fields including computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing, to name a few. Though deep learning leads to groundbreaking performance in these domains, the networks used are very demanding computationally and are far from real-time even on a GPU, which is not power efficient and therefore does not suit low power systems such as mobile devices. To overcome this challenge, some solutions have been proposed for quantizing the weights and activations of these networks, which accelerate the runtime significantly. Yet, this acceleration comes at the cost of a larger error. The uniqname method proposed in this work trains quantized neural networks by noise injection and a learned clamping, which improve the accuracy. This leads to state-of-the-art results on various regression and classification tasks, e.g., ImageNet classification with architectures such as ResNet-18/34/50 with low as 3-bit weights and activations. We implement the proposed solution on an FPGA to demonstrate its applicability for low power real-time applications.
Streaming architectures for large-scale quantized neural networks on an FPGA-based dataflow platform
Deep neural networks (DNNs) are used by different applications that are executed on a range of computer architectures, from IoT devices to supercomputers. The footprint of these networks is huge as well as their computational and communication needs. In order to ease the pressure on resources, research indicates that in many cases a low precision representation (1-2 bit per parameter) of weights and other parameters can achieve similar accuracy while requiring less resources. Using quantized values enables the use of FPGAs to run NNs, since FPGAs are well fitted to these primitives; e.g., FPGAs provide efficient support for bitwise operations and can work with arbitrary-precision representation of numbers. This paper presents a new streaming architecture for running QNNs on FPGAs. The proposed architecture scales out better than alternatives, allowing us to take advantage of systems with multiple FPGAs. We also included support for skip connections, that are used in state-of-the art NNs, and shown that our architecture allows to add those connections almost for free. All this allowed us to implement an 18-layer ResNet for 224×224 images classification, achieving 57.5% top-1 accuracy. In addition, we implemented a full-sized quantized AlexNet. In contrast to previous works, we use 2-bit activations instead of 1-bit ones, which improves AlexNet’s top-1 accuracy from 41.8% to 51.03% for the ImageNet classification. Both AlexNet and ResNet can handle 1000-class real-time classification on an FPGA. Our implementation of ResNet-18 consumes 5× less power and is 4× slower for ImageNet, when compared to the same NN on the latest Nvidia GPUs. Smaller NNs, that fit a single FPGA, are running faster then on GPUs on small (32×32) inputs, while consuming up to 20× less energy and power.
UNIQ: Uniform noise injection for non-uniform quantization of neural networks
We present a novel method for training a neural network amenable to inference in low-precision arithmetic with quantized weights and activations. The training is performed in full precision with random noise injection emulating quantization noise. In order to circumvent the need to simulate realistic quantization noise distributions, the weight distributions are uniformized by a non-linear transfor- mation, and uniform noise is injected. This procedure emulates a non-uniform k-quantile quantizer at inference time, which adapts to the specific distribution of the quantized parameters. As a by-product of injecting noise to weights, we find that activations can also be quantized to as low as 8-bit with only a minor accuracy degradation. The method achieves state-of-the-art results for training low-precision networks on ImageNet. In particular, we observe no degradation in accuracy for MobileNet and ResNet-18/34/50 on ImageNet with as low as 4-bit quantization of weights. Our solution achieves the state-of-the-art results in accuracy, in the low computational budget regime, compared to similar models.