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A Low-Latency Inference of Randomly Wired Convolutional Neural Networks on an FPGA

Ryosuke Kuramochi, Hiroki Nakahara

Abstract: Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are widely used for image processing tasks in both embedded systems and data centers. In data centers, high accuracy and low latency are desired for various tasks such as image processing of streaming videos. We propose an FPGA-based low-latency CNN inference for randomly wired convolutional neural networks (RWCNNs), whose layer structures are based on random graph models. Because RWCNNs have several convolution layers that have no direct dependencies between them, our architecture can process them efficiently using a pipeline method. At each layer, we need to use the calculation results of multiple layers as the input. We use an FPGA with HBM2 to enable parallel access to the input data with multiple HBM2 channels. We schedule the order of execution of the layers to improve the pipeline efficiency. We build a conflict graph using the scheduling results. Then, we allocate the calculation results of each layer to the HBM2 channels by coloring the graph. Because the pipeline execution needs to be properly controlled, we developed an automatic generation tool for hardware functions. We implemented the proposed architecture on the Alveo U50 FPGA. We investigated a trade-off between latency and recognition accuracy for the ImageNet classification task by comparing the inference performances for different input image sizes. We compared our accelerator with a conventional accelerator for ResNet-50. The results show that our accelerator reduces the latency by 2.21 times. We also obtained 12.6 and 4.93 times better efficiency than CPU and GPU, respectively. Thus, our accelerator for RWCNNs is suitable for low-latency inference.
Keywords: neural / FPGA / tasks / HBM2 / accelerator / architecture / Low Latency Inference / structures

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