Automated Circuit Approximation Method Driven by Data Distribution

11 Mar 2019  ·  Zdenek Vasicek, Vojtech Mrazek, Lukas Sekanina ·

We propose an application-tailored data-driven fully automated method for functional approximation of combinational circuits. We demonstrate how an application-level error metric such as the classification accuracy can be translated to a component-level error metric needed for an efficient and fast search in the space of approximate low-level components that are used in the application... This is possible by employing a weighted mean error distance (WMED) metric for steering the circuit approximation process which is conducted by means of genetic programming. WMED introduces a set of weights (calculated from the data distribution measured on a selected signal in a given application) determining the importance of each input vector for the approximation process. The method is evaluated using synthetic benchmarks and application-specific approximate MAC (multiply-and-accumulate) units that are designed to provide the best trade-offs between the classification accuracy and power consumption of two image classifiers based on neural networks. read more

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