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Compact Convolutional Neural Network Accelerator for IoT Endpoint SoC

College of Electronic and Information Engineering, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 211106, China
Science and Technology on Electronic Information Control Laboratory, Chengdu 610036, China
School of Microelectronics, HeFei University of Technology, Hefei 230009, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Electronics 2019, 8(5), 497;
Received: 19 March 2019 / Revised: 27 April 2019 / Accepted: 30 April 2019 / Published: 5 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Applications and Architectures Based on FPGA/SoC)
PDF [3078 KB, uploaded 5 May 2019]


As a classical artificial intelligence algorithm, the convolutional neural network (CNN) algorithm plays an important role in image recognition and classification and is gradually being applied in the Internet of Things (IoT) system. A compact CNN accelerator for the IoT endpoint System-on-Chip (SoC) is proposed in this paper to meet the needs of CNN computations. Based on analysis of the CNN structure, basic functional modules of CNN such as convolution circuit and pooling circuit with a low data bandwidth and a smaller area are designed, and an accelerator is constructed in the form of four acceleration chains. After the acceleration unit design is completed, the Cortex-M3 is used to construct a verification SoC and the designed verification platform is implemented on the FPGA to evaluate the resource consumption and performance analysis of the CNN accelerator. The CNN accelerator achieved a throughput of 6.54 GOPS (giga operations per second) by consuming 4901 LUTs without using any hardware multipliers. The comparison shows that the compact accelerator proposed in this paper makes the CNN computational power of the SoC based on the Cortex-M3 kernel two times higher than the quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC and 67% of the computational power of eight-core Cortex-A53 SoC. View Full-Text
Keywords: Convolutional neural network (CNN); Internet of Things (IoT); endpoint SoC; FPGA; Cortex-M3 Convolutional neural network (CNN); Internet of Things (IoT); endpoint SoC; FPGA; Cortex-M3

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Ge, F.; Wu, N.; Xiao, H.; Zhang, Y.; Zhou, F. Compact Convolutional Neural Network Accelerator for IoT Endpoint SoC. Electronics 2019, 8, 497.

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