In this MLSys’21 paper, we consider the robustness of deep neural networks (DNN) against bit errors in their quantized weights. This is relevant in the context of DNN accelerators, i.e., specialized hardware for DNN inference: In order to reduce energy consumption, the accelerator’s memory may be operated at very low voltages. However, this induces exponentially increasing rates of bit errors that directly affect the DNN weights, reducing accuracy significantly. We propose a robust fixed-point quantization scheme, weight clipping as regularization during training and random bit error training to improve bit error robustness. This article shares my talk recorded for MLSys’21.
In January, I had the opportunity to interact with many other robustness researchers from academia and industry at the Robust Artificial Intelligence Workshop. As part of the workshop, organized by Airbus AI Research and TNO (Netherlands applied research organization), I also prepared a presentation talking about two of my PhD projects: confidence-calibrated adversarial training (CCAT) and bit error robustness of neural networks to enable low-energy neural network accelerators. In this article, I want to share the presentation; all other talks from the workshop can be found here.
In October this year, I was invited to talk at IBM’s FOCA workshop about my latest research on bit error robustness of (quantized) DNN weights. Here, the goal is to develop DNN accelerators capable to operating at low-voltage. However, lowering voltage induces bit errors in the accelerators’ memory. While such bit errors can be avoided through hardware mechanisms, such approaches are usually costly in terms of energy and area. Thus, training DNNs robust to such bit errors would enable low-voltage operation, reducing energy consumption, without the need for hardware techniques. In this 5-minute talk, I give a short overview.
Recently, deep neural network (DNN) accelerators have received considerable attention due to reduced cost and energy compared to mainstream GPUs. In order to further reduce energy consumption, the included memory (storing weights and intermediate computations) is operated at low voltage. However, this causes bit errors in memory cells, directly impacting the stored (quantized) DNN weights. This results in a significant decrease in CNN accuracy. In this paper, we tackle the problem of DNN robustness against random bit errors. By using a robust fixed-point quantization, training with aggressive weight clipping as regularization and injecting random bit errors during training, we increase robustness significantly, allowing energy-efficient DNN accelerators.
Deep neural network (DNN) accelerators are specialized hardware for inference and have received considerable attention in the past years. Here, in order to reduce energy consumption, these accelerators are often operated at low voltage which causes the included accelerator memory to become unreliable. Additionally, recent work demonstrated attacks targeting individual bits in memory. The induced bit errors in both cases can cause significantly reduced accuracy of DNNs. In this paper, we tackle both random (due to low-voltage) and adversarial bit errors in DNNs. By explicitly taking such errors into account during training, wecan improve robustness significantly.