Marsellus: A Heterogeneous RISC-V AI-IoT End-Node SoC with 2-to-8b DNN Acceleration and 30%-Boost Adaptive Body Biasing

Emerging Artificial Intelligence-enabled Internet-of-Things (AI-IoT) System-on-a-Chip (SoC) for augmented reality, personalized healthcare, and nano-robotics need to run many diverse tasks within a power envelope of a few tens of mW over a wide range of operating conditions: compute-intensive but strongly quantized Deep Neural Network (DNN) inference, as well as signal processing and control requiring high-precision floating-point. We present Marsellus, an all-digital heterogeneous SoC for AI-IoT end-nodes fabricated in GlobalFoundries 22nm FDX that combines 1) a general-purpose cluster of 16 RISC-V Digital Signal Processing (DSP) cores attuned for the execution of a diverse range of workloads exploiting 4-bit and 2-bit arithmetic extensions (XpulpNN), combined with fused MAC&LOAD operations and floating-point support; 2) a 2-8bit Reconfigurable Binary Engine (RBE) to accelerate 3x3 and 1x1 (pointwise) convolutions in DNNs; 3) a set of On-Chip Monitoring (OCM) blocks connected to an Adaptive Body Biasing (ABB) generator and a hardware control loop, enabling on-the-fly adaptation of transistor threshold voltages. Marsellus achieves up to 180 Gop/s or 3.32 Top/s/W on 2-bit precision arithmetic in software, and up to 637 Gop/s or 12.4 Top/s/W on hardware-accelerated DNN layers.

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