Energy-Efficient Approximate Multiplier Design using Bit Significance-Driven Logic Compression

Issa Qiqieha, Rishad Shafikb, Ghaith Tarawnehc, Danil Sokolovd and Alex Yakovleve
School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK.


Approximate arithmetic has recently emerged as a promising paradigm for many imprecision-tolerant applications. It can offer substantial reductions in circuit complexity, delay and energy consumption by relaxing accuracy requirements. In this paper, we propose a novel energy-efficient approximate multiplier design using a significance-driven logic compression (SDLC) approach. Fundamental to this approach is an algorithmic and configurable lossy compression of the partial product rows based on their progressive bit significance. This is followed by the commutative remapping of the resulting product terms to reduce the number of product rows. As such, the complexity of the multiplier in terms of logic cell counts and lengths of critical paths is drastically reduced. A number of multipliers with different bit-widths (4-bit to 128-bit) are designed in SystemVerilog and synthesized using Synopsys Design Compiler. Post-synthesis experiments showed that up to an order of magnitude energy savings, and reductions of 65% in critical delay and almost 45% in silicon area can be achieved for a 128-bit multiplier compared to an accurate equivalent. These gains are achieved with low accuracy losses estimated at less than 0.00071 mean relative error. Additionally, we demonstrate the energy-accuracy trade-offs for different degrees of compression, achieved through configurable logic clustering. In evaluating the effectiveness of our approach, a case study image processing application showed up to 68.3% energy reduction with negligible losses in image quality expressed as peak signal-to-noise ratio (PSNR).

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