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CrossSim Inference Manual v2.0

Xiao, Tianyao X.; Bennett, Christopher H.; Feinberg, Benjamin F.; Marinella, Matthew J.; Agarwal, Sapan A.

Neural networks are largely based on matrix computations. During forward inference, the most heavily used compute kernel is the matrix-vector multiplication (MVM): $W \vec{x} $. Inference is a first frontier for the deployment of next-generation hardware for neural network applications, as it is more readily deployed in edge devices, such as mobile devices or embedded processors with size, weight, and power constraints. Inference is also easier to implement in analog systems than training, which has more stringent device requirements. The main processing kernel used during inference is the MVM.

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An Accurate, Error-Tolerant, and Energy-Efficient Neural Network Inference Engine Based on SONOS Analog Memory

IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems I: Regular Papers

Xiao, T.P.; Feinberg, Benjamin F.; Bennett, Christopher H.; Agrawal, Vineet; Saxena, Prashant; Prabhakar, Venkatraman; Ramkumar, Krishnaswamy; Medu, Harsha; Raghavan, Vijay; Chettuvetty, Ramesh; Agarwal, Sapan A.; Marinella, Matthew J.

We demonstrate SONOS (silicon-oxide-nitride-oxide-silicon) analog memory arrays that are optimized for neural network inference. The devices are fabricated in a 40nm process and operated in the subthreshold regime for in-memory matrix multiplication. Subthreshold operation enables low conductances to be implemented with low error, which matches the typical weight distribution of neural networks, which is heavily skewed toward near-zero values. This leads to high accuracy in the presence of programming errors and process variations. We simulate the end-To-end neural network inference accuracy, accounting for the measured programming error, read noise, and retention loss in a fabricated SONOS array. Evaluated on the ImageNet dataset using ResNet50, the accuracy using a SONOS system is within 2.16% of floating-point accuracy without any retraining. The unique error properties and high On/Off ratio of the SONOS device allow scaling to large arrays without bit slicing, and enable an inference architecture that achieves 20 TOPS/W on ResNet50, a > 10× gain in energy efficiency over state-of-The-Art digital and analog inference accelerators.

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Analysis and mitigation of parasitic resistance effects for analog in-memory neural network acceleration

Semiconductor Science and Technology

Xiao, T.P.; Feinberg, Benjamin F.; Rohan, Jacob N.; Bennett, Christopher H.; Agarwal, Sapan A.; Marinella, Matthew J.

To support the increasing demands for efficient deep neural network processing, accelerators based on analog in-memory computation of matrix multiplication have recently gained significant attention for reducing the energy of neural network inference. However, analog processing within memory arrays must contend with the issue of parasitic voltage drops across the metal interconnects, which distort the results of the computation and limit the array size. This work analyzes how parasitic resistance affects the end-to-end inference accuracy of state-of-the-art convolutional neural networks, and comprehensively studies how various design decisions at the device, circuit, architecture, and algorithm levels affect the system's sensitivity to parasitic resistance effects. A set of guidelines are provided for how to design analog accelerator hardware that is intrinsically robust to parasitic resistance, without any explicit compensation or re-training of the network parameters.

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Analog architectures for neural network acceleration based on non-volatile memory

Applied Physics Reviews

Xiao, T.P.; Bennett, Christopher H.; Feinberg, Benjamin F.; Agarwal, Sapan A.; Marinella, Matthew J.

Analog hardware accelerators, which perform computation within a dense memory array, have the potential to overcome the major bottlenecks faced by digital hardware for data-heavy workloads such as deep learning. Exploiting the intrinsic computational advantages of memory arrays, however, has proven to be challenging principally due to the overhead imposed by the peripheral circuitry and due to the non-ideal properties of memory devices that play the role of the synapse. We review the existing implementations of these accelerators for deep supervised learning, organizing our discussion around the different levels of the accelerator design hierarchy, with an emphasis on circuits and architecture. We explore and consolidate the various approaches that have been proposed to address the critical challenges faced by analog accelerators, for both neural network inference and training, and highlight the key design trade-offs underlying these techniques.

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12 Results