PoET-BiN: Power Efficient Tiny Binary Neurons

Part of Proceedings of Machine Learning and Systems 2 (MLSys 2020)

Bibtex Metadata Paper


Sivakumar Chidambaram, Pierre Langlois, Jean-Pierre David


The success of neural networks in image classification has inspired various hardware implementations on embedded platforms such as Field Programmable Gate Arrays, embedded processors and Graphical Processing Units. These embedded platforms are constrained in terms of power, which is mainly consumed by the Multiply Accumulate operations and the memory accesses for weight fetching. Quantization and pruning have been proposed to address this issue. Though effective, these techniques do not take into account the underlying architecture of the embedded hardware. In this work, we propose PoET-BiN, a Look-Up Table based power efficient implementation on resource constrained embedded devices. A modified Decision Tree approach forms the backbone of the proposed implementation in the binary domain. A LUT access consumes far less power than the equivalent Multiply Accumulate operation it replaces, and the modified Decision Tree algorithm eliminates the need for memory accesses. We applied the PoET-BiN architecture to implement the classification layers of networks trained on MNIST, SVHN and CIFAR-10 datasets, with near state-of-the art results. The energy reduction for the classifier portion reaches up to six orders of magnitude compared to a floating point implementations and up to three orders of magnitude when compared to recent binary quantized neural networks.