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IMPACT: IMPrecise adders for low-power approximate computing

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5 Author(s)
Gupta, V. ; Sch. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN, USA ; Mohapatra, D. ; Sang Phill Park ; Raghunathan, A.
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Low-power is an imperative requirement for portable multimedia devices employing various signal processing algorithms and architectures. In most multimedia applications, the final output is interpreted by human senses, which are not perfect. This fact obviates the need to produce exactly correct numerical outputs. Previous research in this context exploits error-resiliency primarily through voltage over-scaling, utilizing algorithmic and architectural techniques to mitigate the resulting errors. In this paper, we propose logic complexity reduction as an alternative approach to take advantage of the relaxation of numerical accuracy. We demonstrate this concept by proposing various imprecise or approximate Full Adder (FA) cells with reduced complexity at the transistor level, and utilize them to design approximate multi-bit adders. In addition to the inherent reduction in switched capacitance, our techniques result in significantly shorter critical paths, enabling voltage scaling. We design architectures for video and image compression algorithms using the proposed approximate arithmetic units, and evaluate them to demonstrate the efficacy of our approach. Post-layout simulations indicate power savings of up to 60% and area savings of up to 37% with an insignificant loss in output quality, when compared to existing implementations.

Published in:

Low Power Electronics and Design (ISLPED) 2011 International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

1-3 Aug. 2011