Synthesis of Approximate Parallel-Prefix Adders

Approximate computation has evolved recently as a viable alternative for maximizing energy efficiency. One aspect of approximate computing involves the design of hardware units that return a sufficiently accurate result for the examined occasion, rather than computing an accurate result. As long as the hardware units are allowed to compute approximately, they can be designed with multiple new ways. In this work, we focus on the synthesis of approximate parallel-prefix adders. Instead of exploring specific architectures, as done by state-of-the-art approaches, the introduced synthesizer can produce every solution that meets the designer’s criteria, resulting in adders with various delay, area, and error tradeoffs. This automatic design space exploration allows approaching, in several cases, optimal solutions that could have not been designed with any other known parallel-prefix architecture. The synthesized adders, when compared with state-of-the-art adders, achieve 27%–36% better error frequency (EF) on average for random inputs and improve image quality metrics by 8%–42% for image filtering. These results are achieved with the proposed adders requiring the same or marginally more hardware area or energy. On the contrary, in split-accuracy configurations, more than 30% of hardware area/energy can be saved for the same classification accuracy for a neural network application.

Apostolos Stefanidis, Ioanna Zoumpoulidou, Dionysios Filippas, Giorgos Dimitrakopoulos, Georgios Ch. Sirakoulis

IEEE Transactions on Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Systems
Publication Date
June 30th, 2023
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