Sub 8-Bit Quantization of Streaming Keyword Spotting Models for Embedded Chipsets

We propose a novel 2-stage sub 8-bit quantization aware training algorithm for all components of a 250K parameter feedforward, streaming, state-free keyword spotting model. For the 1st-stage, we adapt a recently proposed quantization technique using a non-linear transformation with tanh(.) on dense layer weights. In the 2nd-stage, we use linear quantization methods on the rest of the network, including other parameters (bias, gain, batchnorm), inputs, and activations. We conduct large scale experiments, training on 26,000 hours of de-identified production, far-field and near-field audio data (evaluating on 4,000 hours of data). We organize our results in two embedded chipset settings: a) with commodity ARM NEON instruction set and 8-bit containers, we present accuracy, CPU, and memory results using sub 8-bit weights (4, 5, 8-bit) and 8-bit quantization of rest of the network; b) with off-the-shelf neural network accelerators, for a range of weight bit widths (1 and 5-bit), while presenting accuracy results, we project reduction in memory utilization. In both configurations, our results show that the proposed algorithm can achieve: a) parity with a full floating point model's operating point on a detection error tradeoff (DET) curve in terms of false detection rate (FDR) at false rejection rate (FRR); b) significant reduction in compute and memory, yielding up to 3 times improvement in CPU consumption and more than 4 times improvement in memory consumption.

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