SIMD-aware word length optimization for floating-point to fixed-point conversion targeting embedded processors

Abstract : In order to cut-down their cost and/or their power consumption, many embedded processors do not provide hardware support for floating-point arithmetic. However, applications in many domains, such as signal processing, are generally specified using floating-point arithmetic for the sake of simplicity. Porting these applications on such embedded processors requires a software emulation of floating-point arithmetic, which can greatly degrade performance. To avoid this, the application is converted to use fixed-point arithmetic instead. Floating-point to fixed-point conversion involves a subtle tradeoff between performance and precision ; it enables the use of narrower data word lengths at the cost of degrading the computation accuracy. Besides, most embedded processors provide support for SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) as a mean to improve performance. In fact, this allows the execution of one operation on multiple data in parallel, thus ultimately reducing the execution time. However, the application should usually be transformed in order to take advantage of the SIMD instruction set. This transformation, known as Simdization, is affected by the data word lengths ; narrower word lengths enable a higher SIMD parallelism rate. Hence the tradeoff between precision and Simdization. Many existing work aimed at provide/improving methodologies for automatic floating-point to fixed-point conversion on the one side, and Simdization on the other. In the state-of-the-art, both transformations are considered separately even though they are strongly related. In this context, we study the interactions between these transformations in order to better exploit the performance/accuracy tradeoff. First, we propose an improved SLP (Superword Level Parallelism) extraction (an Simdization technique) algorithm. Then, we propose a new methodology to jointly perform floating-point to fixed-point conversion and SLP extraction. Finally, we implement this work as a fully automated source-to-source compiler flow. Experimental results, targeting four different embedded processors, show the validity of our approach in efficiently exploiting the performance/accuracy tradeoff compared to a typical approach, which considers both transformations independently.
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Ali Hassan El Moussawi. SIMD-aware word length optimization for floating-point to fixed-point conversion targeting embedded processors. Computer Arithmetic. Université Rennes 1, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016REN1S150⟩. ⟨tel-01425642v2⟩



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