Publications by Author: David Brooks

T. Tambe, et al., “AdaptivFloat: A Floating-point based Data Type for Resilient Deep Learning Inference,” arXiv preprint arXiv:1909.13271, 2020. arXiv VersionAbstract
Conventional hardware-friendly quantization methods, such as fixed-point or integer, tend to perform poorly at very low word sizes as their shrinking dynamic ranges cannot adequately capture the wide data distributions commonly seen in sequence transduction models. We present AdaptivFloat, a floating-point inspired number representation format for deep learning that dynamically maximizes and optimally clips its available dynamic range, at a layer granularity, in order to create faithful encoding of neural network parameters. AdaptivFloat consistently produces higher inference accuracies compared to block floating-point, uniform, IEEE-like float or posit encodings at very low precision (≤ 8-bit) across a diverse set of state-of-the-art neural network topologies. And notably, AdaptivFloat is seen surpassing baseline FP32 performance by up to +0.3 in BLEU score and -0.75 in word error rate at weight bit widths that are ≤ 8-bit. Experimental results on a deep neural network (DNN) hardware accelerator, exploiting AdaptivFloat logic in its computational datapath, demonstrate per-operation energy and area that is 0.9× and 1.14×, respectively, that of equivalent bit width integer-based accelerator variants.
T. Tambe, et al., “Algorithm-Hardware Co-Design of Adaptive Floating-Point Encodings for Resilient Deep Learning Inference,” in 2020 57th ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference, DAC '20, July 20-24, Virtual, San Francisco, CA, 2020, pp. 1-6. IEEE VersionAbstract
Conventional hardware-friendly quantization methods, such as fixed-point or integer, tend to perform poorly at very low precision as their shrunken dynamic ranges cannot adequately capture the wide data distributions commonly seen in sequence transduction models. We present an algorithm-hardware co-design centered around a novel floating-point inspired number format, AdaptivFloat, that dynamically maximizes and optimally clips its available dynamic range, at a layer granularity, in order to create faithful encodings of neural network parameters. AdaptivFloat consistently produces higher inference accuracies compared to block floating-point, uniform, IEEE-like float or posit encodings at low bit precision (≤8-bit) across a diverse set of state-of-the-art neural networks, exhibiting narrow to wide weight distribution. Notably, at 4-bit weight precision, only a 2.1 degradation in BLEU score is observed on the AdaptivFloat-quantized Transformer network compared to total accuracy loss when encoded in the above-mentioned prominent datatypes. Furthermore, experimental results on a deep neural network (DNN) processing element (PE), exploiting AdaptivFloat logic in its computational datapath, demonstrate per-operation energy and area that is 0.9× and 1.14×, width, respectively that of an equivalent bit NVDLA-like integer-based PE.
P. Mattson, et al., “MLPerf Training Benchmark”. 2020.
Y. Zhu, et al., “Cognitive Computing Safety: The New Horizon for Reliability/The Design and Evolution of Deep Learning Workloads,” IEEE Micro, no. 1, pp. 15–21, 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Recent advances in cognitive computing have brought widespread excitement for various machine learning–based intelligent services, ranging from autonomous vehicles to smart traffic-light systems. To push such cognitive services closer to reality, recent research has focused extensively on improving the performance, energy efficiency, privacy, and security of cognitive computing platforms.

Among all the issues, a rapidly rising and critical challenge to address is the practice of safe cognitive computing— that is, how to architect machine learning–based systems to be robust against uncertainty and failure to guarantee that they perform as intended without causing harmful behavior. Addressing the safety issue will involve close collaboration among different computing communities, and we believe computer architects must play a key role. In this position paper, we first discuss the meaning of safety and the severe implications of the safety issue in cognitive computing. We then provide a framework to reason about safety, and we outline several opportunities for the architecture community to help make cognitive computing safer.

A. Zou, et al., “Ivory: Early-Stage Design Space Exploration Tool for Integrated Voltage Regulators,” in Proceedings of the 54th Annual Design Automation Conference (DAC), 2017, pp. 1. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Despite being employed in burgeoning eforts to improve power delivery eiciency, integrated voltage regulators (IVRs) have yet to be evaluated in a rigorous, systematic, or quantitative manner. To fulill this need, we present Ivory, a high-level design space exploration tool capable of providing accurate conversion eiciency, static performance characteristics, and dynamic transient responses of an IVR-enabled power delivery subsystem (PDS), enabling rapid trade-of exploration at early design stage, approximately 1000x faster than SPICE simulation. We demonstrate and validate Ivory with a wide spectrum of IVR topologies. In addition, we present a case study using Ivory to reveal the optimal PDS conigurations, with underlying power break-downs and area overheads for the GPU manycore architecture, which has yet to embrace IVRs.


V. J. Reddi, M. S. Gupta, G. Holloway, G. - Y. Wei, M. D. Smith, and D. Brooks, “Adaptive Event-Guided System and Method for Avoiding Voltage Emergencies”, US Patent: 8,949,666, 2015.
S. Campanoni, T. Jones, G. Holloway, V. J. Reddi, G. - Y. Wei, and D. Brooks, “HELIX: Automatic Parallelization of Irregular Programs for Chip Multiprocessing,” in Proceedings of the Tenth International Symposium on Code Generation and Optimization, 2012, pp. 84–93. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We describe and evaluate HELIX, a new technique for automatic loop parallelization that assigns successive iterations of a loop to separate threads. We show that the inter-thread communication costs forced by loop-carried data dependences can be mitigated by code optimization, by using an effective heuristic for selecting loops to parallelize, and by using helper threads to prefetch synchronization signals. We have implemented HELIX as part of an optimizing compiler framework that automatically selects and parallelizes loops from general sequential programs. The framework uses an analytical model of loop speedups, combined with profile data, to choose loops to parallelize. On a six-core Intel✌R Core❚▼ i7-980X, HELIX achieves speedups averaging 2.25✂, with a maximum of 4.12✂, for thirteen C benchmarks from SPEC CPU2000.

P. Bailis, V. J. Reddi, S. Gandhi, D. Brooks, and M. Seltzer, “Dimetrodon: processor-level preventive thermal management via idle cycle injection,” in Design Automation Conference (DAC), 2011 48th ACM/EDAC/IEEE, 2011, pp. 89–94.
V. J. Reddi and D. Brooks, “Resilient Architectures via Collaborative Design: Maximizing Commodity Processor Performance in the Presence of Variations,” IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems, vol. 30, no. 10, pp. 1429–1445, 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Unintended variations in circuit lithography and undesirable fluctuations in circuit operating parameters such as supply voltage and temperature are threatening the continuation of technology scaling that microprocessor evolution relies on. Although circuit-level solutions for some variation problems may be possible, they are prohibitively expensive and impractical for commodity processors, on which not only the consumer market but also an increasing segment of the business market now depends. Solutions at the microarchitecture level and even the software level, on the other hand, overcome some of these circuitlevel challenges without significantly raising costs or lowering performance. Using examples drawn from our Alarms Project and related work, we illustrate how collaborative design that encompasses circuits, architecture, and chip-resident software leads to a cost-effective solution for inductive voltage noise, sometimes called the dI/dt problem.

The strategy that we use for assuring correctness while preserving performance can be extended to other variation problems. Index Terms—Dynamic variation, error correction, error detection, error recovery, error resiliency, hw/sw co-design, inductive noise, power supply noise, reliability, resilient design, resilient microprocessor, timing error, variation, voltage droop.

V. J. Reddi, et al., “ Voltage Noise in Production Processors,” IEEE Micro, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 20-28, 2011. IEEE VersionAbstract
Voltage variations are a major challenge in processor design. Here, researchers characterize the voltage noise characteristics of programs as they run to completion on a production Core 2 Duo processor. Furthermore, they characterize the implications of resilient architecture design for voltage variation in future systems.
V. J. Reddi, et al., “Eliminating Voltage Emergencies via Software-Guided Code Transformations,” ACM Transactions on Architecture and Code Optimization (TACO), vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 12, 2010. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In recent years, circuit reliability in modern high-performance processors has become increasingly important. Shrinking feature sizes and diminishing supply voltages have made circuits more sensitive to microprocessor supply voltage fluctuations. These fluctuations result from the natural variation of processor activity as workloads execute, but when left unattended, these voltage fluctuations can lead to timing violations or even transistor lifetime issues. In this paper, we present a hardware-software collaborative approach to mitigate voltage fluctuations. A checkpoint-recovery mechanism rectifies errors when voltage violates maximum tolerance settings, while a run-time software layer reschedules the program’s instruction stream to prevent recurring violations at the same program location. The run-time layer, combined with the proposed code rescheduling algorithm, removes 60% of all violations with minimal overhead, thereby significantly improving overall performance. Our solution is a radical departure from the ongoing industry standard approach to circumvent the issue altogether by optimizing for the worst case voltage flux, which compromises power and performance efficiency severely, especially looking ahead to future technology generations. Existing conservative approaches will have severe implications on the ability to deliver efficient microprocessors. The proposed technique reassembles a traditional reliability problem as a runtime performance optimization problem, thus allowing us to design processors for typical case operation by building intelligent algorithms that can prevent recurring violations.

Categories and Subject Descriptors: B.8.1 [Performance and Reliability]: Reliability, Testing, and Fault-Tolerance

General Terms: Performance, Reliability

Additional Key Words and Phrases: Voltage Noise, dI/dt, Inductive Noise, Voltage Emergencies

S. Kanev, et al., “A System-Level View of Voltage Noise in Production Processors,” ACM Transactions on Architecture and Code Optimization, vol. 9, no. 4, 2010.Abstract

Parameter variations have become a dominant challenge in microprocessor design. Voltage variation is es- pecially daunting because it happens rapidly. We measure and characterize voltage variation in a running Intel⃝R CoreTM2 Duo processor. By sensing on-die voltage as the processor runs single-threaded, multi- threaded, and multi-program workloads, we determine the average supply voltage swing of the processor to be only 4%, far from the processor’s 14% worst-case operating voltage margin. While such large margins guarantee correctness, they penalize performance and power efficiency. We investigate and quantify the benefits of designing a processor for typical-case (rather than worst-case) voltage swings, assuming that a fail-safe mechanism protects it from infrequently occurring large voltage fluctuations. With the investigated processors, such resilient designs could yield 15% to 20% performance improvements. But we also show that in future systems, these gains could be lost as increasing voltage swings intensify the frequency of fail-safe recoveries. After characterizing microarchitectural activity that leads to voltage swings within multi-core systems, we show two software techniques that have the potential to mitigate such voltage emergencies. A voltage-aware compiler can choose to de-optimize for performance in favor of better noise behavior, while a thread scheduler can co-schedule phases of different programs to mitigate error recovery overheads in future resilient processor designs.

V. J. Reddi, et al., “Voltage Smoothing: Characterizing and Mitigating Voltage Noise in Production Processors via Software-Guided Thread Scheduling,” in Proceedings of the 2010 43rd Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, 2010, pp. 77–88. Publisher's VersionAbstract

More than 20% of the available energy is lost in “the last centimeter” from the PCB board to the microprocessor chip due to inherent inefficiencies of power delivery subsystems (PDSs) in today’s computing systems. By series-stacking multiple voltage domains to eliminate explicit voltage conversion and reduce loss along the power delivery path, voltage stacking (VS) is a novel configuration that can improve power delivery efficiency (PDE). However, VS suffers from aggravated levels of supply noise caused by current imbalance between the stacking layers, preventing its practical adoption in mainstream computing systems. Throughput-centric manycore architectures such as GPUs intrinsically exhibit more balanced workloads, yet suffer from lower PDE, making them ideal platforms to implement voltage stacking. In this paper, we present a cross-layer approach to practical voltage stacking implementation in GPUs. It combines circuit-level voltage regulation using distributed charge-recycling integrated voltage regulators (CR-IVRs) with architecture-level voltage smoothing guided by control theory. Our proposed voltage-stacked GPUs can eliminate 61.5% of total PDS energy loss and achieve 92.3% system-level power delivery efficiency, a 12.3% improvement over the conventional single-layer based PDS. Compared to the circuit-only solution, the cross-layer approach significantly reduces the implementation cost of voltage stacking (88% reduction in area overhead) without compromising supply reliability under worst-case scenarios and across a wide range of real-world benchmarks. In addition, we demonstrate that the cross-layer solution not only complements on-chip CR-IVRs to transparently manage current imbalance and restore stable layer voltages, but also serves as a seamless interface to accommodate higher-level power optimization techniques, traditionally thought to be incompatible with a VS configuration.

V. J. Reddi, M. S. Gupta, M. D. Smith, G. - Y. Wei, D. Brooks, and S. Campanoni, “Software-Assisted Hardware Reliability: Abstracting Circuit-Level Challenges to the Software Stack,” in Proceedings of the 46th Annual Design Automation Conference, 2009, pp. 788–793. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Power constrained designs are becoming increasingly sensitive to supply voltage noise. We propose a hardware-software collaborative approach to enable aggressive operating margins: a checkpoint-recovery mechanism corrects margin violations, while a run-time software layer reschedules the program’s instruction stream to prevent recurring margin crossings at the same program location. The run-time layer removes 60% of these events with minimal overhead, thereby significantly improving overall performance.

Categories and Subject Descriptors

C.0 [Computer Systems Organization]: General— Hardware/Software interfaces and System architectures.

General Terms

Performance, Reliability.


Runtime Optimization, Hardware Software Co-Design.

V. J. Reddi, M. S. Gupta, G. Holloway, G. - Y. Wei, M. D. Smith, and D. Brooks, “Voltage Emergency Prediction: Using Signatures to Reduce Operating Margins,” in High Performance Computer Architecture, 2009. HPCA 2009. IEEE 15th International Symposium on, 2009, pp. 18–29. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Inductive noise forces microprocessor designers to sacrifice performance in order to ensure correct and reliable operation of their designs. The possibility of wide fluctuations in supply voltage means that timing margins throughout the processor must be set pessimistically to protect against worst-case droops and surges. While sensor-based reactive schemes have been proposed to deal with voltage noise, inherent sensor delays limit their effectiveness. Instead, this paper describes a voltage emergency predictor that learns the signatures of voltage emergencies (the combinations of control flow and microarchitectural events leading up to them) and uses these signatures to prevent recurrence of the corresponding emergencies. In simulations of a representative superscalar microprocessor in which fluctuations beyond 4% of nominal voltage are treated as emergencies (an aggressive configuration), these signatures can pinpoint the likelihood of an emergency some 16 cycles ahead of time with 90% accuracy. This lead time allows machines to operate with much tighter voltage margins (4% instead of 13%) and up to 13.5% higher performance, which closely approaches the 14.2% performance improvement possible with an ideal oracle-based predictor.

V. J. Reddi, et al., “Voltage Noise: Why It’s Bad, and What To Do About It,” in 5th IEEE Workshop on Silicon Errors in Logic-System Effects (SELSE), Palo Alto, CA, 2009.Abstract

Power constrained designs are becoming increasingly sensitive to supply voltage noise. We propose hardware-software collaboration to enable aggressive voltage margins: a fail-safe hardware mechanism tolerates margin violations in order to train a run-time software layer that reschedules instructions to avoid recurring violations. Additionally, the software controls an emergency signature-based predictor that throttles to suppress emergencies that code rescheduling cannot eliminate.

Q. Wu, et al., “A Dynamic Compilation Framework for Controlling Microprocessor Energy and Performance,” in Proceedings of the 38th annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture, 2005, pp. 271–282. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS) is an effective technique for controlling microprocessor energy and performance. Existing DVFS techniques are primarily based on hardware, OS timeinterrupts, or static-compiler techniques. However, substantially greater gains can be realized when control opportunities are also explored in a dynamic compilation environment. There are several advantages to deploying DVFS and managing energy/performance tradeoffs through the use of a dynamic compiler. Most importantly, dynamic compiler driven DVFS is fine-grained, code-aware, and adaptive to the current microarchitecture environment. This paper presents a design framework of the run-time DVFS optimizer in a general dynamic compilation system. A prototype of the DVFS optimizer isimplemented and integrated into an industrialstrength dynamic compilation system. The obtained optimization system is deployed in a real hardware platform that directly measures CPU voltage and current for accurate power and energy readings. Experimental results, based on physical measurements for over 40 SPEC or Olden benchmarks, show that significant energy savings are achieved with little performance degradation. SPEC2K FP benchmarks benefit with energy savings of up to 70% (with 0.5% performance loss). In addition, SPEC2K INT show up to 44% energy savings (with 5% performance loss), SPEC95 FP save up to 64% (with 4.9% performance loss), and Olden save up to 61% (with 4.5% performance loss). On average, the technique leads to an energy delay product (EDP) improvement that is 3X-5X better than static voltage scaling, and is more than 2X (22% vs. 9%) better than the reported DVFS results of prior static compiler work. While the proposed technique is an effective method for microprocessor voltage and frequency control, the design framework and methodology described in this paper have broader potential to address other energy and power issues such as di/dt and thermal control.