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EVA²: Exploiting Temporal Redundancy in Live Computer Vision

Los Angeles, US

Hardware support for deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) is critical to advanced computer vision in mobile and embedded devices. Current designs, however, accelerate generic CNNs; they do not exploit the unique characteristics of real-time vision. We propose to use the temporal redundancy in natural video to avoid unnecessary computation on most frames. A new algorithm, activation motion compensation, detects changes in the visual input and incrementally updates a previously-computed output. The technique takes inspiration from video compression and applies well-known motion estimation techniques to adapt to visual changes. We use an adaptive key frame rate to control the trade-off between efficiency and vision quality as the input changes. We implement the technique in hardware as an extension to existing state-of-the-art CNN accelerator designs. The new unit reduces the average energy per frame by 54.2%, 61.7%, and 87.6% for three CNNs with less than 1% loss in vision accuracy.