High-Performance Accurate and Approximate Multipliers for FPGA-Based Hardware Accelerators

Salim Ullah, Semeen Rehman, Muhammad Shafique, Akash Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multiplication is one of the widely used arithmetic operations in a variety of applications, such as image/video processing and machine learning. FPGA vendors provide high-performance multipliers in the form of DSP blocks. These multipliers are not only limited in number and have fixed locations on FPGAs but can also create additional routing delays and may prove inefficient for smaller bit-width multiplications. Therefore, FPGA vendors additionally provide optimized soft IP cores for multiplication. However, in this work, we advocate that these soft multiplier IP cores for FPGAs still need better designs to provide high-performance and resource efficiency. Toward this, we present generic area-optimized, low-latency accurate, and approximate softcore multiplier architectures, which exploit the underlying architectural features of FPGAs, i.e., lookup table (LUT) structures and fast-carry chains to reduce the overall critical path delay (CPD) and resource utilization of multipliers. Compared to Xilinx multiplier LogiCORE IP, our proposed unsigned and signed accurate architecture provides up to 25% and 53% reduction in LUT utilization, respectively, for different sizes of multipliers. Moreover, with our unsigned approximate multiplier architectures, a reduction of up to 51% in the CPD can be achieved with an insignificant loss in output accuracy when compared with the LogiCORE IP. For illustration, we have deployed the proposed multiplier architecture in accelerators used in image and video applications, and evaluated them for area and performance gains. Our library of accurate and approximate multipliers is opensource and available online at https://cfaed.tu-dresden.de/pd-downloads to fuel further research and development in this area, facilitate reproducible research, and thereby enabling a new research direction for the FPGA community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-224
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Accelerators
  • approximate computing
  • high performance
  • multipliers
  • neural networks
  • reduced area

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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