CapStore: Energy-Efficient Design and Management of the On-Chip Memory for CapsuleNet Inference Accelerators

Alberto Marchisio, Muhammad Abdullah Hanif, Mohammad Taghi Teimoori, Muhammad Shafique

Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) have been established as the state-of-the-art algorithm for advanced machine learning applications. Recently, CapsuleNets have improved the generalization ability, as compared to DNNs, due to their multi-dimensional capsules. However, they pose high computational and memory requirements, which makes energy-efficient inference a challenging task. In this paper, we perform an extensive analysis to demonstrate their key limitations due to intense memory accesses and large on-chip memory requirements. To enable efficient CaspuleNet inference accelerators, we propose a specialized on-chip memory hierarchy which minimizes the off-chip memory accesses, while efficiently feeding the data to the accelerator. We analyze the on-chip memory requirements for each memory component of the architecture. By leveraging this analysis, we propose a methodology to explore different on-chip memory designs and a power-gating technique to further reduce the energy consumption, depending upon the utilization across different operations of a CapsuleNet. Our memory designs can significantly reduce the energy consumption of the on-chip memory by up to 86%, when compared to a state-of-the-art memory design. Since the power consumption of the memory elements is the major contributor in the power breakdown of the CapsuleNet accelerator, as we will also show in our analyses, the proposed memory design can effectively reduce the overall energy consumption of the complete CapsuleNet accelerator architecture.

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