Invited - Cross-layer approximations for neuromorphic computing: From devices to circuits and systems

Priyadarshini Panda, Abhronil Sengupta, Syed Shakib Sarwar, Gopalakrishnan Srinivasan, Swagath Venkataramani, Anand Raghunathan, Kaushik Roy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

25 Scopus citations


Neuromorphic algorithms are being increasingly deployed across the entire computing spectrum from data centers to mobile and wearable devices to solve problems involving recognition, analytics, search and inference. For example, large-scale artificial neural networks (popularly called deep learning) now represent the state-of-the art in a wide and ever-increasing range of video/image/audio/text recognition problems. However, the growth in data sets and network complexities have led to deep learning becoming one of the most challenging workloads across the computing spectrum. We posit that approximate computing can play a key role in the quest for energy-efficient neuromorphic systems. We show how the principles of approximate computing can be applied to the design of neuromorphic systems at various layers of the computing stack. At the algorithm level, we present techniques to significantly scale down the computational requirements of a neural network with minimal impact on its accuracy. At the circuit level, we show how approximate logic and memory can be used to implement neurons and synapses in an energy-efficient manner, while still meeting accuracy requirements. A fundamental limitation to the efficiency of neuromorphic computing in traditional implementations (software and custom hardware alike) is the mismatch between neuromorphic algorithms and the underlying computing models such as von Neumann architecture and Boolean logic. To overcome this limitation, we describe how emerging spintronic devices can offer highly efficient, approximate realization of the building blocks of neuromorphic computing systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 53rd Annual Design Automation Conference, DAC 2016
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781450342360
StatePublished - Jun 5 2016
Event53rd Annual ACM IEEE Design Automation Conference, DAC 2016 - Austin, United States
Duration: Jun 5 2016Jun 9 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings - Design Automation Conference
ISSN (Print)0738-100X


Other53rd Annual ACM IEEE Design Automation Conference, DAC 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation


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