Memory Organization for Energy-Efficient Learning and Inference in Digital Neuromorphic Accelerators
The energy efficiency of neuromorphic hardware is greatly affected by the energy of storing, accessing, and updating synaptic parameters. Various methods of memory organisation targeting energy-efficient digital accelerators have been investigated in the past, however, they do not completely encapsulate the energy costs at a system level. To address this shortcoming and to account for various overheads, we synthesize the controller and memory for different encoding schemes and extract the energy costs from these synthesized blocks. Additionally, we introduce functional encoding for structured connectivity such as the connectivity in convolutional layers. Functional encoding offers a 58% reduction in the energy to implement a backward pass and weight update in such layers compared to existing index-based solutions. We show that for a 2 layer spiking neural network trained to retain a spatio-temporal pattern, bitmap (PB-BMP) based organization can encode the sparser networks more efficiently. This form of encoding delivers a 1.37x improvement in energy efficiency coming at the cost of a 4% degradation in network retention accuracy as measured by the van Rossum distance.