ZynqNet: An FPGA-Accelerated Embedded Convolutional Neural Network [article]

David Gschwend
<span title="2020-05-14">2020</span> <i > arXiv </i> &nbsp; <span class="release-stage" >pre-print</span>
Image Understanding is becoming a vital feature in ever more applications ranging from medical diagnostics to autonomous vehicles. Many applications demand for embedded solutions that integrate into existing systems with tight real-time and power constraints. Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) presently achieve record-breaking accuracies in all image understanding benchmarks, but have a very high computational complexity. Embedded CNNs thus call for small and efficient, yet very powerful
more &raquo; ... ting platforms. This master thesis explores the potential of FPGA-based CNN acceleration and demonstrates a fully functional proof-of-concept CNN implementation on a Zynq System-on-Chip. The ZynqNet Embedded CNN is designed for image classification on ImageNet and consists of ZynqNet CNN, an optimized and customized CNN topology, and the ZynqNet FPGA Accelerator, an FPGA-based architecture for its evaluation. ZynqNet CNN is a highly efficient CNN topology. Detailed analysis and optimization of prior topologies using the custom-designed Netscope CNN Analyzer have enabled a CNN with 84.5% top-5 accuracy at a computational complexity of only 530 million multiplyaccumulate operations. The topology is highly regular and consists exclusively of convolutional layers, ReLU nonlinearities and one global pooling layer. The CNN fits ideally onto the FPGA accelerator. The ZynqNet FPGA Accelerator allows an efficient evaluation of ZynqNet CNN. It accelerates the full network based on a nested-loop algorithm which minimizes the number of arithmetic operations and memory accesses. The FPGA accelerator has been synthesized using High-Level Synthesis for the Xilinx Zynq XC-7Z045, and reaches a clock frequency of 200MHz with a device utilization of 80% to 90 %.
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