Apollo: Transferable Architecture Exploration

Amir Yazdanbakhsh, Christof Angermueller, Berkin Akin, Yanqi Zhou, Albin Jones, Milad Hashemi, Kevin Swersky, Satrajit Chatterjee, Ravi Narayanaswami, James Laudon

The looming end of Moore's Law and ascending use of deep learning drives the design of custom accelerators that are optimized for specific neural architectures. Architecture exploration for such accelerators forms a challenging constrained optimization problem over a complex, high-dimensional, and structured input space with a costly to evaluate objective function. Existing approaches for accelerator design are sample-inefficient and do not transfer knowledge between related optimizations tasks with different design constraints, such as area and/or latency budget, or neural architecture configurations. In this work, we propose a transferable architecture exploration framework, dubbed Apollo, that leverages recent advances in black-box function optimization for sample-efficient accelerator design. We use this framework to optimize accelerator configurations of a diverse set of neural architectures with alternative design constraints. We show that our framework finds high reward design configurations (up to 24.6% speedup) more sample-efficiently than a baseline black-box optimization approach. We further show that by transferring knowledge between target architectures with different design constraints, Apollo is able to find optimal configurations faster and often with better objective value (up to 25% improvements). This encouraging outcome portrays a promising path forward to facilitate generating higher quality accelerators.

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