Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) are widely used in computer vision, natural language processing, and so on, which generally require low power and high efficiency in real applications. Thus, energy efficiency has become a critical indicator of CNN accelerators. Considering that asynchronous circuits have the advantages of low power consumption, high speed, and no clock distribution problems, we design and implement an energy-efficient asynchronous CNN accelerator with a 65 nm Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) process. Given the absence of a commercial design tool flow for asynchronous circuits, we develop a novel design flow to implement Click-based asynchronous bundled data circuits efficiently to mask layout with conventional Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools. We also introduce an adaptive delay matching method and perform accurate static timing analysis for the circuits to ensure correct timing. The accelerator for handwriting recognition network (LeNet-5 model) is implemented. Silicon test results show that the asynchronous accelerator has 30% less power in computing array than the synchronous one and that the energy efficiency of the asynchronous accelerator achieves 1.538 TOPS/W, which is 12% higher than that of the synchronous chip.
This work was supported by National Science and Technology Major Project from Minister of Science and Technology, China (No. 2018AAA0103100) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 61674090), partly supported by Beijing National Research Center for Information Science and Technology (No. 042003266), and Beijing Engineering Research Center (No. BG0149).
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