Going Deeper with Embedded FPGA Platform for Convolutional Neural Network

Jiantao Qiu, Jie Wang, Song Yao, Kaiyuan Guo, Boxun Li, Erjin Zhou, Jincheng Yu, Tianqi Tang, Ningyi Xu, Sen Song, Yu Wang, Huazhong Yang
Department of Electronic Engineering, Tsinghua University
ACM International Symposium on FPGA, 2016


   title={Going deeper with embedded fpga platform for convolutional neural network},

   author={Qiu, Jiantao and Wang, Jie and Yao, Song and Guo, Kaiyuan and Li, Boxun and Zhou, Erjin and Yu, Jincheng and Tang, Tianqi and Xu, Ningyi and Song, Sen and others},

   booktitle={Proceedings of the 2016 ACM/SIGDA International Symposium on Field-Programmable Gate Arrays},





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In recent years, Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) based methods have achieved great success in a large number of applications and have been among the most powerful and widely used techniques in computer vision. However, CNN-based methods are computational-intensive and resource-consuming, and thus are hard to be integrated into embedded systems such as smart phones, smart glasses, and robots. FPGA is one of the most promising platforms for accelerating CNN, but the limited bandwidth and on-chip memory size limit the performance of FPGA accelerator for CNN. In this paper, we go deeper with the embedded FPGA platform on accelerating CNNs and propose a CNN accelerator design on embedded FPGA for Image-Net large-scale image classification. We first present an in-depth analysis of state-of-the-art CNN models and show that Convolutional layers are computational-centric and Fully-Connected layers are memory-centric. Then the dynamic-precision data quantization method and a convolver design that is efficient for all layer types in CNN are proposed to improve the bandwidth and resource utilization. Results show that only 0.4% accuracy loss is introduced by our data quantization flow for the very deep VGG16 model when 8/4-bit quantization is used. A data arrangement method is proposed to further ensure a high utilization of the external memory bandwidth. Finally, a state-of-theart CNN, VGG16-SVD, is implemented on an embedded FPGA platform as a case study. VGG16-SVD is the largest and most accurate network that has been implemented on FPGA end-to-end so far. The system on Xilinx Zynq ZC706 board achieves a frame rate at 4.45 fps with the top-5 accuracy of 86.66% using 16-bit quantization. The average performance of Convolutional layers and the full CNN is 187.8 GOP/s and 137.0 GOP/s under 150MHz working frequency, which outperforms previous approaches significantly.
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