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Learning automata based energy-efficient AI hardware design for IoT applications

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Journal Article

Wheeldon, Adrian, Rishad Shafik, Tousif Rahman, Jie Lei, Alex Yakovlev, and Ole-Christoffer Granmo. 2020. “Learning Automata Based Energy-Efficient AI Hardware Design for IoT Applications.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 378 (2182): 20190593.

Energy efficiency continues to be the core design challenge for artificial intelligence (AI) hardware designers. In this paper, we propose a new AI hardware architecture targeting Internet of Things applications. The architecture is founded on the principle of learning automata, defined using propositional logic. The logic-based underpinning enables low-energy footprints as well as high learning accuracy during training and inference, which are crucial requirements for efficient AI with long operating life. We present the first insights into this new architecture in the form of a custom-designed integrated circuit for pervasive applications. Fundamental to this circuit is systematic encoding of binarized input data fed into maximally parallel logic blocks. The allocation of these blocks is optimized through a design exploration and automation flow using field programmable gate array-based fast prototypes and software simulations. The design flow allows for an expedited hyperparameter search for meeting the conflicting requirements of energy frugality and high accuracy. Extensive validations on the hardware implementation of the new architecture using single- and multi-class machine learning datasets show potential for significantly lower energy than the existing AI hardware architectures. In addition, we demonstrate test accuracy and robustness matching the software implementation, outperforming other state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms.

This article is part of the theme issue ‘Advanced electromagnetic non-destructive evaluation and smart monitoring’.

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