Thermal-Aware Compilation of Spiking Neural Networks to Neuromorphic Hardware

10/09/2020 ∙ by Twisha Titirsha, et al. ∙ 0

Hardware implementation of neuromorphic computing can significantly improve performance and energy efficiency of machine learning tasks implemented with spiking neural networks (SNNs), making these hardware platforms particularly suitable for embedded systems and other energy-constrained environments. We observe that the long bitlines and wordlines in a crossbar of the hardware create significant current variations when propagating spikes through its synaptic elements, which are typically designed with non-volatile memory (NVM). Such current variations create a thermal gradient within each crossbar of the hardware, depending on the machine learning workload and the mapping of neurons and synapses of the workload to these crossbars. This thermal gradient becomes significant at scaled technology nodes and it increases the leakage power in the hardware leading to an increase in the energy consumption. We propose a novel technique to map neurons and synapses of SNN-based machine learning workloads to neuromorphic hardware. We make two novel contributions. First, we formulate a detailed thermal model for a crossbar in a neuromorphic hardware incorporating workload dependency, where the temperature of each NVM-based synaptic cell is computed considering the thermal contributions from its neighboring cells. Second, we incorporate this thermal model in the mapping of neurons and synapses of SNN-based workloads using a hill-climbing heuristic. The objective is to reduce the thermal gradient in crossbars. We evaluate our neuron and synapse mapping technique using 10 machine learning workloads for a state-of-the-art neuromorphic hardware. We demonstrate an average 11.4K reduction in the average temperature of each crossbar in the hardware, leading to a 52 consumption) compared to a performance-oriented SNN mapping technique.

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