On Provisioning Cellular Networks for Distributed Inference

Sarabjot Singh

Wireless traffic attributable to machine learning (ML) inference workloads is increasing with the proliferation of applications and smart wireless devices leveraging ML inference. Owing to limited compute capabilities at these "edge" devices, achieving high inference accuracy often requires coordination with a remote compute node or "cloud" over the wireless cellular network. The accuracy of this distributed inference is, thus, impacted by the communication rate and reliability offered by the cellular network. In this paper, an analytical framework is proposed to characterize inference accuracy as a function of cellular network design. Using the developed framework, it is shown that cellular network should be provisioned with a minimum density of access points (APs) to guarantee a target inference accuracy, and the inference accuracy achievable at asymptotically high AP density is limited by the air-interface bandwidth. Furthermore, the minimum accuracy required of edge inference to deliver a target inference accuracy is shown to be inversely proportional to the density of APs and the bandwidth.

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