Optimizing Temporal Convolutional Network inference on FPGA-based accelerators

7 May 2020  ·  Marco Carreras, Gianfranco Deriu, Luigi Raffo, Luca Benini, Paolo Meloni ·

Convolutional Neural Networks are extensively used in a wide range of applications, commonly including computer vision tasks like image and video classification, recognition, and segmentation. Recent research results demonstrate that multilayer(deep) networks involving mono-dimensional convolutions and dilation can be effectively used in time series and sequences classification and segmentation, as well as in tasks involving sequence modelling. These structures, commonly referred to as Temporal Convolutional Networks (TCNs), have been demonstrated to consistently outperform Recurrent Neural Networks in terms of accuracy and training time [1]. While FPGA-based inference accelerators for classic CNNs are widespread, literature is lacking in a quantitative evaluation of their usability on inference for TCN models. In this paper we present such an evaluation, considering a CNN accelerator with specific features supporting TCN kernels as a reference and a set of state-of-the-art TCNs as a benchmark. Experimental results show that, during TCN execution, operational intensity can be critical for the overall performance. We propose a convolution scheduling based on batch processing that can boost efficiency up to 96% of theoretical peak performance. Overall we can achieve up to 111,8 GOPS/s and power efficiency of 33,9 GOPS/s/W on an Ultrascale+ ZU3EG (up to 10x speedup and 3x power efficiency improvement with respect to pure software implementation).

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