Transaction-level Model Simulator for Communication-Limited Accelerators

07/29/2020 ∙ by Sunwoo Kim, et al. ∙ 0

Rapid design space exploration in early design stage is critical to algorithm-architecture co-design for accelerators. In this work, a pre-RTL cycle-accurate accelerator simulator based on SystemC transaction-level modeling (TLM), AccTLMSim, is proposed for convolutional neural network (CNN) accelerators. The accelerator simulator keeps track of each bus transaction between accelerator and DRAM, taking into account the communication bandwidth. The simulation results are validated against the implementation results on the Xilinx Zynq. Using the proposed simulator, it is shown that the communication bandwidth is severely affected by DRAM latency and bus protocol overhead. In addition, the loop tiling is optimized to maximize the performance under the constraint of on-chip SRAM size. Furthermore, a new performance estimation model is proposed to speed up the design space exploration. Thanks to the proposed simulator and performance estimation model, it is possible to explore a design space of millions of architectural options within a few tens of minutes.

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