doi: 10.7873/DATE.2015.1115

Designing Inexact Systems Efficiently using Elimination Heuristics

Shyamsundar Venkataraman1,a, Akash Kumar1,b, Jeremy Schlachter2,c and Christian Enz2,d

1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore.

2Integrated Circuits Laboratory, EPFL, Neuchâtel 2, Switzerland.


There are a wide variety of applications that are able to tolerate small errors in the values of the outputs, provided they are within the application-specific thresholds. For such applications, there have been many efforts to study the tradeoff involved in the accuracy of the output and the energy/area requirement. However, most of the efforts have been at the level of individual components. In this article, we present a design flow to study the inexactness at the level of system and provide heuristics to quickly explore the design-space under given inexactness and area/energy constraints. The approach is applied to various digital signal processing filters and an ECG application of QRS detection. In both cases, orders of magnitude speed-ups are obtained in the design-flow process. Area savings of 21.61% and power savings of 22.79% were observed for a low-pass filter having a relative error of just 8E-5%.

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