Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. had recently made an announcement regarding the development of a circuit technology. It would improve the energy efficiency of deep learning hardware by reducing the data bit width used in the process. Also, it won’t require changing network structures or training algorithms.
In deep learning, massive calculations are involved based on training data. However, the upper limit to processing performance is governed by the electricity volume used by servers and other hardware that carry out the processing. Hence, increasing performance per watt has become a crucial issue. So, the latest circuit technology from Fujitsu aims to address this problem.
It’s a computational algorithm-driven circuit technology with a unique numerical representation that reduces the bit width of data used in computations. Further, it preserves the computational accuracy by automatically controlling the location of the decimal point position according to the statistical information of the distribution. Thus the bit width of compute unit and the memory can be reduced, thereby enhancing the energy efficiency.
Improving Calculation Accuracy in the Computational Core (Image Courtesy: Fujitsu)
Fujitsu has confirmed that by applying this technology, a system using LeNet and MNIST dataset as a learning target succeeded in gaining a recognition rate of 98.31% with 8 bits and 98.89% with 16 bits. These are almost identical as compared to a recognition rate of 98.90% using 32-bit floating-point operations.
The new circuit technology can reduce the data bit width from 32 bit to 16 bit thus reducing the power consumption by about 50% while by reducing the bit width to 8 bit, the power consumption can be reduced by about 75%. Thus improving the energy efficiency of deep learning hardware has shifted the processing from cloud servers to edge servers where the data is generated.
Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company, offering a full range of technology products, solutions, and services. Approximately 156,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries.
About Fujitsu Laboratories
Founded in 1968 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. is one of the premier research centers in the world. With a global network of laboratories in Japan, China, the United States and Europe, the organization conducts a wide range of basic and applied research in the areas of Next-generation Services, Computer Servers, Networks, Electronic Devices and Advanced Materials.
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