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Towards the Co-design of Neural Networks and Accelerators

Yanqi Zhou · Xuanyi Dong · Tianjian Meng · Mingxing Tan · Berkin Akin · Daiyi Peng · Amir Yazdanbakhsh · Da Huang · Ravi Narayanaswami · James Laudon

Keywords: [ efficient inference and model serving ] [ ml for systems ] [ specialized hardware for ml ] [ hardware-efficient ml ]


Better neural architectures and new hardware accelerators are two driving forces for the progress in deep learning. Previous works typically focus on one aspect: they either design new neural architectures for fixed hardware like GPUs or customize hardware (often on FPGAs) for a fixed set of neural models like ResNets or Transformers. In this work, we aim to jointly optimize neural architecture and hardware configurations for Google's Edge TPUs. Through extensive studies, we observe that: 1) the neural architecture search space has to be customized to fully leverage the targeted hardware, 2) neural architecture and hardware accelerator should be jointly searched to achieve the best of both worlds, and 3) conventional metrics such as FLOPs and parameter size often do not well represent model efficiency in real accelerators. Our experiments show that our joint search approach, named NaaS, consistently outperforms previous state-of-the-art results, such as EfficientNet, on both image classification and segmentation tasks. Furthermore, our approach reduces energy consumption by up to 2x under the same accuracy on Edge TPUs.

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