Optimizing AI at the Edge: from network topology design to MCU deployment

Burrello, Alessio (2023) Optimizing AI at the Edge: from network topology design to MCU deployment, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Ingegneria elettronica, telecomunicazioni e tecnologie dell'informazione, 35 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/10542.
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The first topic analyzed in the thesis will be Neural Architecture Search (NAS). I will focus on two different tools that I developed, one to optimize the architecture of Temporal Convolutional Networks (TCNs), a convolutional model for time-series processing that has recently emerged, and one to optimize the data precision of tensors inside CNNs. The first NAS proposed explicitly targets the optimization of the most peculiar architectural parameters of TCNs, namely dilation, receptive field, and the number of features in each layer. Note that this is the first NAS that explicitly targets these networks. The second NAS proposed instead focuses on finding the most efficient data format for a target CNN, with the granularity of the layer filter. Note that applying these two NASes in sequence allows an "application designer" to minimize the structure of the neural network employed, minimizing the number of operations or the memory usage of the network. After that, the second topic described is the optimization of neural network deployment on edge devices. Importantly, exploiting edge platforms' scarce resources is critical for NN efficient execution on MCUs. To do so, I will introduce DORY (Deployment Oriented to memoRY) -- an automatic tool to deploy CNNs on low-cost MCUs. DORY, in different steps, can manage different levels of memory inside the MCU automatically, offload the computation workload (i.e., the different layers of a neural network) to dedicated hardware accelerators, and automatically generates ANSI C code that orchestrates off- and on-chip transfers with the computation phases. On top of this, I will introduce two optimized computation libraries that DORY can exploit to deploy TCNs and Transformers on edge efficiently. I conclude the thesis with two different applications on bio-signal analysis, i.e., heart rate tracking and sEMG-based gesture recognition.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Burrello, Alessio
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Deep Learning; TinyML; Neural Architecture Search; MCU; Bio-Signals; Time-Series
Data di discussione
30 Marzo 2023

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