Google Research

Apollo: Transferable Architecture Exploration

ML for Systems Workshop at NeurIPS 2020

Abstract

The looming end of Moore's Law and ascending use of deep learning drives the design of custom accelerators that are optimized for specific neural architectures. Accelerator design forms a challenging constrained optimization problem over a complex, high-dimensional and structured input space with a costly to evaluate objective function. Existing approaches for accelerator design are sample-inefficient do not transfer knowledge between related optimizations tasks with different design constraints (e.g. area budget) or neural architecture configurations. In this work, we propose a transferable architecture exploration framework, dubbed Apollo, that leverages recent advances in black-box function optimization for sample-efficient accelerator design. We use Apollo to optimize accelerator configurations of a diverse set of neural architectures with alternative design constraints. We show that Apollo finds optimal design configurations more sample-efficiently than baseline approaches. We further show that transferring knowledge between target architectures with different design constraints helps to find optimal configurations faster. This encouraging outcome portrays a promising path forward in shortening the timeline for accelerator design.

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