ApproxQA: A Unified Quality Assurance Framework for Approximate Computing

Ting Wanga, Qian Zhangb and Qiang Xuc
CUhk REliable Computing Laboratory (CURE), Department of Computer Science & Engineering. The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong.


Approximate computing, being able to trade off computation quality and computational effort (e.g., energy) by exploiting the inherent error-resilience of emerging applications (e.g., recognition and mining), has garnered significant attention recently. No doubt to say, quality assurance is indispensable for satisfactory user experience with approximate computing, but this issue has remained largely unexplored in the literature. In this work, we propose a novel framework namely ApproxQA to tackle this problem, in which approximation mode tuning and rollback recovery are considered in a unified manner. To be specific, ApproxQA resorts to a two-level controller, in which the high-level approximation controller tunes approximation modes at a coarse-grained scale based on Q-learning while the low-level rollback controller judiciously determines whether to perform rollback recovery at a fine-grained scale based on the target quality requirement. Experimental results on various benchmark applications demonstrate that it significantly outperforms existing solutions in terms of energy efficiency with quality assurance.

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