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Hardware-oriented Approximation of Convolutional Neural Networks

This extended abstract describes our Ristretto framework for CNN compression. Last week Philipp presented the Ristretto Poster at ICLR’16 in San Juan.


High computational complexity hinders the widespread usage of Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs), especially in mobile devices. Hardware accelerators are arguably the most promising approach for reducing both execution time and power consumption. One of the most important steps in accelerator development is hardware-oriented model approximation. In this paper we present Ristretto, a model approximation framework that analyzes a given CNN with respect to numerical resolution used in representing weights and outputs of convolutional and fully connected layers. Ristretto can condense models by using fixed point arithmetic and representation instead of floating point. Moreover, Ristretto fine-tunes the resulting fixed point network. Given a maximum error tolerance of 1%, Ristretto can successfully condense CaffeNet and SqueezeNet to 8-bit. The code for Ristretto is available.