Decentralized Low-Latency Collaborative Inference via Ensembles on the Edge

7 Jun 2022  ·  May Malka, Erez Farhan, Hai Morgenstern, Nir Shlezinger ·

The success of deep neural networks (DNNs) is heavily dependent on computational resources. While DNNs are often employed on cloud servers, there is a growing need to operate DNNs on edge devices. Edge devices are typically limited in their computational resources, yet, often multiple edge devices are deployed in the same environment and can reliably communicate with each other. In this work we propose to facilitate the application of DNNs on the edge by allowing multiple users to collaborate during inference to improve their accuracy. Our mechanism, coined {\em edge ensembles}, is based on having diverse predictors at each device, which form an ensemble of models during inference. To mitigate the communication overhead, the users share quantized features, and we propose a method for aggregating multiple decisions into a single inference rule. We analyze the latency induced by edge ensembles, showing that its performance improvement comes at the cost of a minor additional delay under common assumptions on the communication network. Our experiments demonstrate that collaborative inference via edge ensembles equipped with compact DNNs substantially improves the accuracy over having each user infer locally, and can outperform using a single centralized DNN larger than all the networks in the ensemble together.

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