LookNN: Neural Network with No Multiplication

TitleLookNN: Neural Network with No Multiplication
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsSamragh, M., M. Imani, F. Koushanfar, and T. Rosing
Conference NameDesign Automation and Test in Europe (DATE)

Neural networks are machine learning models that have been successfully used in many applications. Due to the high computational complexity of neural networks, deploying such models on embedded devices with severe power/resource constraints is troublesome. Neural networks are inherently approximate and can be simplified. We propose LookNN, a methodology to replace floating-point multiplications with look-up table search. First, we devise an algorithmic solution to adapt conventional neural networks to LookNN such that the model's accuracy is minimally affected. We provide experimental results and theoretical analysis demonstrating the applicability of the method. Next, we design enhanced general purpose processors for searching look-up tables: each processing element of our GPU has access to a small associative memory, enabling it to bypass redundant computations. Our evaluations on AMD Southern Island GPU architecture shows that LookNN results in 2.2-fold energy saving and 2.5-fold speedup running four different neural network applications with zero additive error. For the same four applications, if we tolerate an additive error of less than 0.2%, LookNN can achieve an average of 3-fold energy improvement and 2.6-fold speedup compared to the traditional GPU architecture.

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