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A Survey of Field Programmable Gate Array-Based Convolutional Neural Network Accelerators

Authors: Wei Zhang


With the rapid development of deep learning, neural network and deep learning algorithms play a significant role in various practical applications. Due to the high accuracy and good performance, Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) especially have become a research hot spot in the past few years. However, the size of the networks becomes increasingly large scale due to the demands of the practical applications, which poses a significant challenge to construct a high-performance implementation of deep learning neural networks. Meanwhile, many of these application scenarios also have strict requirements on the performance and low-power consumption of hardware devices. Therefore, it is particularly critical to choose a moderate computing platform for hardware acceleration of CNNs. This article aimed to survey the recent advance in Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)-based acceleration of CNNs. Various designs and implementations of the accelerator based on FPGA under different devices and network models are overviewed, and the versions of Graphic Processing Units (GPUs), Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) and Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) are compared to present our own critical analysis and comments. Finally, we give a discussion on different perspectives of these acceleration and optimization methods on FPGA platforms to further explore the opportunities and challenges for future research. More helpfully, we give a prospect for future development of the FPGA-based accelerator.

Keywords: Deep learning, field programmable gate array, FPGA, hardware acceleration, convolutional neural networks, CNN.

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