IEEE Transactions on Computers

IEEE Transactions on Computers (TC) is a monthly publication that publishes research in such areas as computer organizations and architectures, digital devices, operating systems, and new and important applications and trends.

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From the May 2018 issue

On-Chip Communication Network for Efficient Training of Deep Convolutional Networks on Heterogeneous Manycore Systems

By Wonje Choi, Karthi Duraisamy, Ryan Gary Kim, Janardhan Rao Doppa, Partha Pratim Pande, Diana Marculescu, and Radu Marculescu

Featured article thumbnail image Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) have shown a great deal of success in diverse application domains including computer vision, speech recognition, and natural language processing. However, as the size of datasets and the depth of neural network architectures continue to grow, it is imperative to design high-performance and energy-efficient computing hardware for training CNNs. In this paper, we consider the problem of designing specialized CPU-GPU based heterogeneous manycore systems for energy-efficient training of CNNs. It has already been shown that the typical on-chip communication infrastructures employed in conventional CPU-GPU based heterogeneous manycore platforms are unable to handle both CPU and GPU communication requirements efficiently. To address this issue, we first analyze the on-chip traffic patterns that arise from the computational processes associated with training two deep CNN architectures, namely, LeNet and CDBNet, to perform image classification. By leveraging this knowledge, we design a hybrid Network-on-Chip (NoC) architecture, which consists of both wireline and wireless links, to improve the performance of CPU-GPU based heterogeneous manycore platforms running the above-mentioned CNN training workloads. The proposed NoC achieves 1.8× reduction in network latency and improves the network throughput by a factor of 2.2 for training CNNs, when compared to a highly-optimized wireline mesh NoC. For the considered CNN workloads, these network-level improvements translate into 25 percent savings in full-system energy-delay-product (EDP). This demonstrates that the proposed hybrid NoC for heterogeneous manycore architectures is capable of significantly accelerating training of CNNs while remaining energy-efficient.

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