Researchers are developing computers capable of “approximate computing” to perform calculations good enough for certain tasks that don’t require perfect accuracy, potentially doubling efficiency and reducing energy consumption.
“The need for approximate computing is driven by two factors: a fundamental shift in the nature of computing workloads, and the need for new sources of efficiency,” said Anand Raghunathan, a Purdue Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who has been working in the field for about five years. “Computers were first designed to be precise calculators that solved problems where they were expected to produce an exact numerical value. However, the demand for computing today is driven by very different applications. Mobile and embedded devices need to process richer media, and are getting smarter – understanding us, being more context-aware and having more natural user interfaces. On the other hand, there is an explosion in digital data searched, interpreted, and mined by data centers.”
A growing number of applications are designed to tolerate “noisy” real-world inputs and use statistical or probabilistic types of computations.
“The nature of these computations is different from the traditional computations where you need a precise answer,” said Srimat Chakradhar, department head for Computing Systems Architecture at NEC Laboratories America, who collaborated with the Purdue team. “Here, you are looking for the best match since there is no golden answer, or you are trying to provide results that are of acceptable quality, but you are not trying to be perfect.”
However, today’s computers are designed to compute precise results even when it is not necessary. Approximate computing could endow computers with a capability similar to the human brain’s ability to scale the degree of accuracy needed for a given task. New findings were detailed in research presented during the IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, Dec. 7-11 at the University of California, Davis.
The inability to perform to the required level of accuracy is inherently inefficient and saps energy.
“If I asked you to divide 500 by 21 and I asked you whether the answer is greater than one, you would say yes right away,” Raghunathan said. “You are doing division but not to the full accuracy. If I asked you whether it is greater than 30, you would probably take a little longer, but if I ask you if it’s greater than 23, you might have to think even harder. The application context dictates different levels of effort, and humans are capable of this scalable approach, but computer software and hardware are not like that. They often compute to the same level of accuracy all the time.”
Purdue researchers have developed a range of hardware techniques to demonstrate approximate computing, showing a potential for improvements in energy efficiency.
The research paper presented during the IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture was authored by doctoral student Swagath Venkataramani; former Purdue doctoral student Vinay K. Chippa; Chakradhar; Kaushik Roy, Purdue’s Edward G. Tiedemann Jr. Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Raghunathan.
Recently, the researchers have shown how to apply approximate computing to programmable processors, which are ubiquitous in computers, servers and consumer electronics.
“In order to have a broad impact we need to be able to apply this technology to programmable processors,” Roy said. “And now we have shown how to design a programmable processor to perform approximate computing.”
The Latest on: Approximate computing
via Google News
The Latest on: Approximate computing
- The era of quantum supremacy is hereon February 28, 2020 at 8:02 am
Gian Giacomo Guerreschi from Intel Corporation and collaborators from Carnegie Mellon University have tested a noise-robust algorithm that is a hybrid of quantum and classical computing: the Quantum ...
- As Coronavirus Pandemic Looms, US Companies Scramble to Warn About 2020 Revenueon February 27, 2020 at 9:14 am
Its cloud computing business ... “We currently estimate the negative impact from COVID-19 to be an approximate one percentage point reduction,” the company said in a press release on ...
- With the power of AI, India can reimagine delivery of public serviceson February 26, 2020 at 8:50 pm
In India’s smart cities, AI algorithms in collision avoidance systems can give an approximate 1.5 second ... artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, machine learning (ML), and data ...
- How Artificial Intelligence can transform Indiaon February 26, 2020 at 5:09 pm
In India's smart cities, AI algorithms in collision avoidance systems can give an approximate 1.5 seconds advance notice to drivers to avoid ... the finance minister set aside $1.14 billion to invest ...
- Quantum Computing releases further details on Mukai quantum application development platformon February 26, 2020 at 7:54 am
Quantum Computing said the slowing of Moore’s Law and the diminishing return on technological ... evidenced by the work on quantum annealers by early D-Wave researchers and on gate-model QCs by ...
- QCI's Mukai Middleware Platform - The Quantum Computing Application Enableron February 26, 2020 at 7:47 am
Quantum Computing Inc.’s (QCI) mission is developing quantum ... annealers by early D-Wave researchers and on gate-model QCs by researchers of the Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm (QAOA).
- Data Center REITs: Battle Of The Cloudson February 20, 2020 at 2:00 pm
The companies synonymous with cloud computing, Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG), Alibaba (BABA ... Within the sector, we note the differences in yield for these five REITs and an ...
- Berkeley Lab to Tackle Particle Physics with Quantum Computingon February 18, 2020 at 1:30 pm
In essence, HEP.QPR aims to use quantum computing to speed this pattern recognition process ... an undergraduate, developed a quantum approximate optimization algorithm (QAOA) while participating in ...
- Enterprise Cloud Services Market 2020 Global Analysis, Opportunities And Forecast To 2025on February 10, 2020 at 3:35 am
Enterprise Cloud Services Industry Description Enterprise cloud computing is the provision of cloud computing services to businesses. Increasing mobile device adoption will drive the growth rate of ...
- Internship Paves Path to Quantum-Computing Project at Berkeley Labon January 29, 2020 at 8:04 am
He began to read up on quantum-computing approaches, and he found some guidance ... known as a QAOA – a quantum approximate optimization algorithm. The algorithm involves some back and forth between ...
via Bing News