Workload Analysis and Efficient OpenCL-based Implementation of SIFT Algorithm on a Smartphone

Guohui Wang, Blaine Rister, Joseph R. Cavallaro
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University, Houston, Texas
1st IEEE Global Conference on Signal and Information Processing (GlobalSIP), 2013


   title={Workload Analysis and Efficient OpenCL-based Implementation of SIFT Algorithm on a Smartphone},

   author={Wang, Guohui and Rister, Blaine and Cavallaro, Joseph R},



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Feature detection and extraction are essential in computer vision applications such as image matching and object recognition. The Scale-Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT) algorithm is one of the most robust approaches to detect and extract distinctive invariant features from images. However, high computational complexity makes it difficult to apply the SIFT algorithm to mobile applications. Recent developments in mobile processors have enabled heterogeneous computing on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. In this paper, we present an OpenCL-based implementation of the SIFT algorithm on a smartphone, taking advantage of the mobile GPU. We carefully analyze the SIFT workloads and identify the parallelism. We implemented major steps of the SIFT algorithm using both serial C++ code and OpenCL kernels targeting mobile processors, to compare the performance of different workflows. Based on the profiling results, we partition the SIFT algorithm between the CPU and GPU in a way that best exploits the parallelism and minimizes the buffer transferring time to achieve better performance. The experimental results show that we are able to achieve 8.5 FPS for keypoints detection and 19 FPS for descriptor generation without reducing the number and the quality of the keypoints. Moreover, the heterogeneous implementation can reduce energy consumption by 41% compared to an optimized CPU-only implementation.
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