Invited - Cross-layer approximate computing: From logic to architectures

Muhammad Shafique, Rehan Hafiz, Semeen Rehman, Walaa El-Harouni, Jörg Henkel

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


We present a survey of approximate techniques and discuss concepts for building power-/energy-efficient computing components reaching from approximate accelerators to arithmetic blocks (like adders and multipliers). We provide a systematical understanding of how to generate and explore the design space of approximate components, which enables a wide-range of power/energy, performance, area and output quality tradeoffs, and a high degree of design flexibility to facilitate their design. To enable cross-layer approximate computing, bridging the gap between the logic layer (i.e. arithmetic blocks) and the architecture layer (and even considering the software layers) is crucial. Towards this end, this paper introduces open-source libraries of low-power and high-performance approximate components. The elementary approximate arithmetic blocks (adder and multiplier) are used to develop multi-bit approximate arithmetic blocks and accelerators. An analysis of data-driven resilience and error propagation is discussed. The approximate computing components are a first steps towards a systematic approach to introduce approximate computing paradigms at all levels of abstractions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 53rd Annual Design Automation Conference, DAC 2016
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781450342360
StatePublished - Jun 5 2016
Event53rd Annual ACM IEEE Design Automation Conference, DAC 2016 - Austin, United States
Duration: Jun 5 2016Jun 9 2016

Publication series

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


Other53rd Annual ACM IEEE Design Automation Conference, DAC 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Accelerator
  • Adder
  • Approximate computing
  • Architecture
  • Arithmetic
  • Configurable accuracy
  • Cross-layer
  • Design space
  • Energy efficiency
  • Logic
  • Low power
  • Multiplier
  • Performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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