Memory-Driven Mixed Low Precision Quantization For Enabling Deep Network Inference On Microcontrollers

arXiv.org Machine Learning

This paper presents a novel end-to-end methodology for enabling the deployment of low-error deep networks on microcontrollers. To fit the memory and computational limitations of resource-constrained edge-devices, we exploit mixed low-bitwidth compression, featuring 8, 4 or 2-bit uniform quantization, and we model the inference graph with integer-only operations. Our approach aims at determining the minimum bit precision of every activation and weight tensor given the memory constraints of a device. This is achieved through a rule-based iterative procedure, which cuts the number of bits of the most memory-demanding layers, aiming at meeting the memory constraints. After a quantization-aware retraining step, the fake-quantized graph is converted into an inference integer-only model by inserting the Integer Channel-Normalization (ICN) layers, which introduce a negligible loss as demonstrated on INT4 MobilenetV1 models. We report the latency-accuracy evaluation of mixed-precision MobilenetV1 family networks on a STM32H7 microcontroller. Our experimental results demonstrate an end-to-end deployment of an integer-only Mobilenet network with Top1 accuracy of 68% on a device with only 2MB of FLASH memory and 512kB of RAM, improving by 8% the Top1 accuracy with respect to previously published 8 bit implementations for microcontrollers.


EmBench: Quantifying Performance Variations of Deep Neural Networks across Modern Commodity Devices

arXiv.org Machine Learning

In recent years, advances in deep learning have resulted in unprecedented leaps in diverse tasks spanning from speech and object recognition to context awareness and health monitoring. As a result, an increasing number of AI-enabled applications are being developed targeting ubiquitous and mobile devices. While deep neural networks (DNNs) are getting bigger and more complex, they also impose a heavy computational and energy burden on the host devices, which has led to the integration of various specialized processors in commodity devices. Given the broad range of competing DNN architectures and the heterogeneity of the target hardware, there is an emerging need to understand the compatibility between DNN-platform pairs and the expected performance benefits on each platform. This work attempts to demystify this landscape by systematically evaluating a collection of state-of-the-art DNNs on a wide variety of commodity devices. In this respect, we identify potential bottlenecks in each architecture and provide important guidelines that can assist the community in the co-design of more efficient DNNs and accelerators.


Single-Path NAS: Designing Hardware-Efficient ConvNets in less than 4 Hours

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Can we automatically design a Convolutional Network (ConvNet) with the highest image classification accuracy under the runtime constraint of a mobile device? Neural architecture search (NAS) has revolutionized the design of hardware-efficient ConvNets by automating this process. However, the NAS problem remains challenging due to the combinatorially large design space, causing a significant searching time (at least 200 GPU-hours). To alleviate this complexity, we propose Single-Path NAS, a novel differentiable NAS method for designing hardware-efficient ConvNets in less than 4 hours. Our contributions are as follows: 1. Single-path search space: Compared to previous differentiable NAS methods, Single-Path NAS uses one single-path over-parameterized ConvNet to encode all architectural decisions with shared convolutional kernel parameters, hence drastically decreasing the number of trainable parameters and the search cost down to few epochs. 2. Hardware-efficient ImageNet classification: Single-Path NAS achieves 74.96% top-1 accuracy on ImageNet with 79ms latency on a Pixel 1 phone, which is state-of-the-art accuracy compared to NAS methods with similar constraints (<80ms). 3. NAS efficiency: Single-Path NAS search cost is only 8 epochs (30 TPU-hours), which is up to 5,000x faster compared to prior work. 4. Reproducibility: Unlike all recent mobile-efficient NAS methods which only release pretrained models, we open-source our entire codebase at: https://github.com/dstamoulis/single-path-nas.


Quantizing deep convolutional networks for efficient inference: A whitepaper

arXiv.org Machine Learning

We present an overview of techniques for quantizing convolutional neural networks for inference with integer weights and activations. Per-channel quantization of weights and per-layer quantization of activations to 8-bits of precision post-training produces classification accuracies within 2% of floating point networks for a wide variety of CNN architectures. Model sizes can be reduced by a factor of 4 by quantizing weights to 8-bits, even when 8-bit arithmetic is not supported. This can be achieved with simple, post training quantization of weights.We benchmark latencies of quantized networks on CPUs and DSPs and observe a speedup of 2x-3x for quantized implementations compared to floating point on CPUs. Speedups of up to 10x are observed on specialized processors with fixed point SIMD capabilities, like the Qualcomm QDSPs with HVX. Quantization-aware training can provide further improvements, reducing the gap to floating point to 1% at 8-bit precision. Quantization-aware training also allows for reducing the precision of weights to four bits with accuracy losses ranging from 2% to 10%, with higher accuracy drop for smaller networks.We introduce tools in TensorFlow and TensorFlowLite for quantizing convolutional networks and review best practices for quantization-aware training to obtain high accuracy with quantized weights and activations. We recommend that per-channel quantization of weights and per-layer quantization of activations be the preferred quantization scheme for hardware acceleration and kernel optimization. We also propose that future processors and hardware accelerators for optimized inference support precisions of 4, 8 and 16 bits.


CompactNet: Platform-Aware Automatic Optimization for Convolutional Neural Networks

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) based Deep Learning (DL) has achieved great progress in many real-life applications. Meanwhile, due to the complex model structures against strict latency and memory restriction, the implementation of CNN models on the resource-limited platforms is becoming more challenging. This work proposes a solution, called CompactNet\footnote{Project URL: \url{https://github.com/CompactNet/CompactNet}}, which automatically optimizes a pre-trained CNN model on a specific resource-limited platform given a specific target of inference speedup. Guided by a simulator of the target platform, CompactNet progressively trims a pre-trained network by removing certain redundant filters until the target speedup is reached and generates an optimal platform-specific model while maintaining the accuracy. We evaluate our work on two platforms of a mobile ARM CPU and a machine learning accelerator NPU (Cambricon-1A ISA) on a Huawei Mate10 smartphone. For the state-of-the-art slim CNN model made for the embedded platform, MobileNetV2, CompactNet achieves up to a 1.8x kernel computation speedup with equal or even higher accuracy for image classification tasks on the Cifar-10 dataset.