Mixed-Signal Charge-Domain Acceleration of Deep Neural networks through Interleaved Bit-Partitioned Arithmetic

27 Jun 2019  ·  Soroush Ghodrati, Hardik Sharma, Sean Kinzer, Amir Yazdanbakhsh, Kambiz Samadi, Nam Sung Kim, Doug Burger, Hadi Esmaeilzadeh ·

Low-power potential of mixed-signal design makes it an alluring option to accelerate Deep Neural Networks (DNNs). However, mixed-signal circuitry suffers from limited range for information encoding, susceptibility to noise, and Analog to Digital (A/D) conversion overheads. This paper aims to address these challenges by offering and leveraging the insight that a vector dot-product (the basic operation in DNNs) can be bit-partitioned into groups of spatially parallel low-bitwidth operations, and interleaved across multiple elements of the vectors. As such, the building blocks of our accelerator become a group of wide, yet low-bitwidth multiply-accumulate units that operate in the analog domain and share a single A/D converter. The low-bitwidth operation tackles the encoding range limitation and facilitates noise mitigation. Moreover, we utilize the switched-capacitor design for our bit-level reformulation of DNN operations. The proposed switched-capacitor circuitry performs the group multiplications in the charge domain and accumulates the results of the group in its capacitors over multiple cycles. The capacitive accumulation combined with wide bit-partitioned operations alleviate the need for A/D conversion per operation. With such mathematical reformulation and its switched-capacitor implementation, we define a 3D-stacked microarchitecture, dubbed BIHIWE.

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