LookNN: Neural Network with No Multiplication

Mohammad Samragh Razlighi1, Mohsen Imani2, Farinaz Koushanfar1 and Tajana Rosing1,2
1ECE Department, UC San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.
2CSE Department, UC San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


Neural networks are machine learning models that have been successfully used in many applications. Due to the high computational complexity of neural networks, deploying such models on embedded devices with severe power/resource constraints is troublesome. Neural networks are inherently approximate and can be simplified. We propose LookNN, a methodology to replace floating-point multiplications with lookup table search. First, we devise an algorithmic solution to adapt conventional neural networks to LookNN such that the model’s accuracy is minimally affected. We provide experimental results and theoretical analysis demonstrating the applicability of the method. Next, we design enhanced general purpose processors for searching look-up tables: each processing element of our GPU has access to a small associative memory, enabling it to bypass redundant computations. Our evaluations on AMD Southern Island GPU architecture shows that LookNN results in 2.2× energy saving and 2.5× speedup running four different neural network applications with zero additive error. For the same four applications, if we tolerate an additive error of less than 0.2%, LookNN can achieve an average of 3× energy improvement and 2.6× speedup compared to the traditional GPU architecture.

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