Unrolling Ternary Neural Networks

09/09/2019 ∙ by Stephen Tridgell, et al. ∙ 0

The computational complexity of neural networks for large scale or real-time applications necessitates hardware acceleration. Most approaches assume that the network architecture and parameters are unknown at design time, permitting usage in a large number of applications. This paper demonstrates, for the case where the neural network architecture and ternary weight values are known a priori, that extremely high throughput implementations of neural network inference can be made by customising the datapath and routing to remove unnecessary computations and data movement. This approach is ideally suited to FPGA implementations as a specialized implementation of a trained network improves efficiency while still retaining generality with the reconfigurability of an FPGA. A VGG style network with ternary weights and fixed point activations is implemented for the CIFAR10 dataset on Amazon's AWS F1 instance. This paper demonstrates how to remove 90 layers by exploiting sparsity and compile-time optimizations. The implementation in hardware achieves 90.9 +/- 0.1 second, with a latency of only 29 us, which is the fastest CNN inference implementation reported so far on an FPGA.

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