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High-Level Synthesis Performance Prediction using GNNs: Benchmarking, Modeling, and Advancing

by   Nan Wu, et al.
Purdue University
Georgia Institute of Technology
The Regents of the University of California

Agile hardware development requires fast and accurate circuit quality evaluation from early design stages. Existing work of high-level synthesis (HLS) performance prediction usually needs extensive feature engineering after the synthesis process. To expedite circuit evaluation from as earlier design stage as possible, we propose a rapid and accurate performance modeling, exploiting the representation power of graph neural networks (GNNs) by representing C/C++ programs as graphs. The contribution of this work is three-fold. First, we build a standard benchmark containing 40k C synthesizable programs, which includes both synthetic programs and three sets of real-world HLS benchmarks. Each program is implemented on FPGA to generate ground-truth performance metrics. Second, we formally formulate the HLS performance prediction problem on graphs, and propose multiple modeling strategies with GNNs that leverage different trade-offs between prediction timeliness (early/late prediction) and accuracy. Third, we further propose a novel hierarchical GNN that does not sacrifice timeliness but largely improves prediction accuracy, significantly outperforming HLS tools. We apply extensive evaluations for both synthetic and unseen real-case programs; our proposed predictor largely outperforms HLS by up to 40X and excels existing predictors by 2X to 5X in terms of resource usage and timing prediction.


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