CANN: Curable approximations for high-performance deep neural network accelerators

Muhammad Abdullah Hanif, Faiq Khalid, Muhammad Shafique

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Approximate Computing (AC) has emerged as a means for improving the performance, area and power-/energy-efficiency of a digital design at the cost of output quality degradation. Applications like machine learning (e.g., using DNNs-deep neural networks) are highly computationally intensive and, therefore, can significantly benefit from AC and specialized accelerators. However, the accuracy loss introduced because of approximations in the DNN accelerator hardware can result in undesirable results. This paper presents a novel method to design high-performance DNN accelerators where approximation error(s) from one stage/part of the design is "completely" compensated in the subsequent stage/part while offering significant efficiency gains. Towards this, the paper also presents a case-study for improving the performance of systolic array-based hardware architectures, which are commonly used for accelerating state-of-the-art deep learning algorithms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 56th Annual Design Automation Conference 2019, DAC 2019
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781450367257
StatePublished - Jun 2 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event56th Annual Design Automation Conference, DAC 2019 - Las Vegas, United States
Duration: Jun 2 2019Jun 6 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings - Design Automation Conference
ISSN (Print)0738-100X


Conference56th Annual Design Automation Conference, DAC 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLas Vegas


  • Accelerator
  • Approximate Computing
  • DNN
  • Energy Efficiency
  • High-Performance
  • MAC
  • Neural Network
  • Power Efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation


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