Probabilistic pruning technology makes chips faster, smaller and more energy-efficient with an error rate of only 8%

According to a report by the American Physicists Organization Network on March 17 (Beijing time), an international scientific research team used "probabilistic pruning technology" to prune the rarely used parts of integrated circuits, which increased the performance of computer chips by 2 times. The energy consumption is only half of the previous.

Rice University of the United States and Nanyang Technological University of Singapore cooperate to establish the Institute of Sustainability and Applied Information Dynamics in Singapore (to develop innovative information technologies that save energy and reduce costs) and scientists from the Swiss Electronics and Microsystems Technology Center Developed this breakthrough technology.

The principle of this "probabilistic pruning" technique is very simple: it reduces its energy requirements by allowing the microprocessor to make mistakes. The researchers found that they can reduce energy requirements and improve chip performance by properly managing the likelihood of errors and limiting which calculations cause errors.

Krishna Palem, head of the Institute of Sustainability and Applied Information Dynamics and computer professor at Rice University in the United States, said: "According to Moore's Law, there will be more and more transistors on the chip. The high-density transistors on the chip will Causes a lot of background 'noise'. To compensate, engineers will increase the voltage on the circuit to overcome the noise and ensure the accuracy of the calculation. Therefore, slightly reducing the calculation accuracy can improve the speed and save energy to a certain extent. "

The research team used "probabilistic pruning" technology to cut out the rarely used parts of the integrated circuit to create a new chip model. The researcher said: "The initial test showed that the operating speed of the trimmed circuit is at least twice that of the previous circuit, and the energy consumption is half of the previous one, and the space occupied by it is only half of the traditional circuit."

However, the disadvantage of this technology is that the calculation accuracy of the processor is reduced. Palem believes that the accuracy required for real-time processing such as sound and image decoding need not be too high, but whether the processor saves power and whether the calculation is fast is more important. Palem said: "Our research shows that by reducing unnecessary parts of integrated circuits used in hearing aids, cameras and other multimedia devices, we can achieve both chip performance and energy consumption."

Christian Enz, leader of the Electronics and Microsystems Technology Center, said: "In doing so, the error rate for integrated circuits is 8%, and as far as we know, many assisted viewing and hearing aid devices can tolerate an error rate of 10%. "

Palem said that in the next step, we will use this technology to make a complete and specific purpose chip, and hope to design a chip for hearing aids before this summer. Circuits and hearing aids equipped with such integrated circuits will extend the use time of the same battery by 4 to 5 times. "

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