Fri 30 Oct 2015 11:37 - 12:00 at Grand Station 2 - 10. Empirical Studies & Approximation Chair(s): John Field

We present Topaz, a new task-based language for computations that execute on approximate computing platforms that may occasionally produce arbitrarily inaccurate results. Topaz maps tasks onto the approximate hardware and integrates the generated results into the main computation. To prevent unacceptably inaccurate task results from corrupting the main computation, Topaz deploys a novel outlier detection mechanism that recognizes and precisely reexecutes outlier tasks. Outlier detection enables Topaz to work effectively with approximate hardware platforms that have complex fault characteristics, including platforms with bit pattern dependent faults (in which the presence of faults may depend on values stored in adjacent memory cells). Our experimental results show that, for our set of benchmark applications, outlier detection enables Topaz to deliver acceptably accurate results (less than 1% error) on our target approximate hardware platforms. Depending on the application and the hardware platform, the overall energy savings range from 5 to 13 percent. Without outlier detection, only one of the applications produces acceptably accurate results.