DNN-Life: An Energy-Efficient Aging Mitigation Framework for Improving the Lifetime of On-Chip Weight Memories in Deep Neural Network Hardware Architectures

01/29/2021 ∙ by Muhammad Abdullah Hanif, et al. ∙ 0

Negative Biased Temperature Instability (NBTI)-induced aging is one of the critical reliability threats in nano-scale devices. This paper makes the first attempt to study the NBTI aging in the on-chip weight memories of deep neural network (DNN) hardware accelerators, subjected to complex DNN workloads. We propose DNN-Life, a specialized aging analysis and mitigation framework for DNNs, which jointly exploits hardware- and software-level knowledge to improve the lifetime of a DNN weight memory with reduced energy overhead. At the software-level, we analyze the effects of different DNN quantization methods on the distribution of the bits of weight values. Based on the insights gained from this analysis, we propose a micro-architecture that employs low-cost memory-write (and read) transducers to achieve an optimal duty-cycle at run time in the weight memory cells, thereby balancing their aging. As a result, our DNN-Life framework enables efficient aging mitigation of weight memory of the given DNN hardware at minimal energy overhead during the inference process.

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