TinyOL: TinyML with Online-Learning on Microcontrollers

Haoyu Ren, Darko Anicic, Thomas Runkler

Tiny machine learning (TinyML) is a fast-growing research area committed to democratizing deep learning for all-pervasive microcontrollers (MCUs). Challenged by the constraints on power, memory, and computation, TinyML has achieved significant advancement in the last few years. However, the current TinyML solutions are based on batch/offline settings and support only the neural network's inference on MCUs. The neural network is first trained using a large amount of pre-collected data on a powerful machine and then flashed to MCUs. This results in a static model, hard to adapt to new data, and impossible to adjust for different scenarios, which impedes the flexibility of the Internet of Things (IoT). To address these problems, we propose a novel system called TinyOL (TinyML with Online-Learning), which enables incremental on-device training on streaming data. TinyOL is based on the concept of online learning and is suitable for constrained IoT devices. We experiment TinyOL under supervised and unsupervised setups using an autoencoder neural network. Finally, we report the performance of the proposed solution and show its effectiveness and feasibility.

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