Hardware Acceleration refers to the use of specialized hardware components or devices to perform specific computational tasks more efficiently than general-purpose processors (CPUs). The goal of hardware acceleration is to improve the speed and efficiency of certain computations by offloading them to dedicated hardware, thereby achieving better performance compared to relying solely on software executed by a CPU.

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Retrospective : A Dynamically Configurable Coprocessor For Convolutional Neural Networks

Retrospective : A dynamically configurable coprocessor for convolutional neural networks In 2008, parallel computing posed significant challenges due to the complexities of parallel programming and the bottlenecks associated with efficient parallel execution. Inspired by the remarkable scalability achieved by networking and storage systems in handling extensive packet traffic and persistent data respectively by leveraging best-effort service, we proposed a new and fundamentally different approach of best-effort computing.Having observed that a broad spectrum of existing and emerging computing workloads were from applications that had an inherent forgiving nature [2], [5], we proposed best effort computing. The new approach resulted in disproportionate gains in power, energy and latency, while improving performance. While contemplating the concept of best-effort computing [2], we noticed the resurgence of convolutional neural networks, which generated approximate but acceptable outcomes for numerous recognition, mining, and synthesis tasks. The lead author of this retrospective had previously conducted research on neural networks for his doctoral dissertation over a decade ago, and the reemergence of neural networks proved both surprising and exciting. Recognizing the connection between best-effort computing and convolutional neural networks, in 2008 we embarked on developing a programmable and dynamically reconfigurable convolutional neural network capable of performing best effort computing for various machine learning tasks that inherently allow for multiple acceptable answers. This combination of our thoughts on best-effort computing and the gradual evolution of convolutional neural networks (deep neural networks emerged much later) culminated in our 2010 ISCA work on dynamically reconfigurable convolutional neural networks.