Drawing from discussions at the inaugural DMLR workshop at ICML 2023 and meetings prior, in this report we outline the relevance of community engagement and infrastructure development for the creation of next-generation public datasets that will advance machine learning science. We chart a path forward as a collective effort to sustain the creation and maintenance of these datasets and methods towards positive scientific, societal and business impact.
High-dimensional motion generation requires numerical precision for smooth, collision-free solutions. Typically, double-precision or single-precision floating-point (FP) formats are utilized. Using these for big tensors imposes a strain on the memory bandwidth provided by the devices and alters the memory footprint, hence limiting their applicability to low-power edge devices needed for mobile robots. The uniform application of reduced precision can be advantageous but severely degrades solutions. Using decreased precision data types for important tensors, we propose to accelerate motion generation by removing memory bottlenecks. We propose variable-precision (VaPr) search optimization to determine the appropriate precision for large tensors from a vast search space of approximately 4 million unique combinations for FP data types across the tensors. To obtain the efficiency gains, we exploit existing platform support for an out-of-the-box GPU speedup and evaluate prospective precision converter units for GPU types that are not currently supported. Our experimental results on 800 planning problems for the Franka Panda robot on the MotionBenchmaker dataset across 8 environments show that a 4-bit FP format is sufficient for the largest set of tensors in the motion generation stack. With the software-only solution, VaPr achieves 6.3% and 6.3% speedups on average for a significant portion of motion generation over the SOTA solution (CuRobo) on Jetson Orin and RTX2080 Ti GPU, respectively, and 9.9%, 17.7% speedups with the FP converter.
We introduce RobotPerf, a vendor-agnostic benchmarking suite designed to evaluate robotics computing performance across a diverse range of hardware platforms using ROS 2 as its common baseline. The suite encompasses ROS 2 packages covering the full robotics pipeline and integrates two distinct benchmarking approaches: black-box testing, which measures performance by eliminating upper layers and replacing them with a test application, and grey-box testing, an application-specific measure that observes internal system states with minimal interference. Our benchmarking framework provides ready-to-use tools and is easily adaptable for the assessment of custom ROS 2 computational graphs. Drawing from the knowledge of leading robot architects and system architecture experts, RobotPerf establishes a standardized approach to robotics benchmarking. As an open-source initiative, RobotPerf remains committed to evolving with community input to advance the future of hardware-accelerated robotics.
Autonomous systems, such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), are expected to run complex reinforcement learning (RL) models to execute fully autonomous position-navigation-time tasks within stringent onboard weight and power constraints. We observe that reducing onboard operating voltage can benefit the energy efficiency of both the computation and flight mission, however, it can also result in on-chip bit failures that are detrimental to mission safety and performance. To this end, we propose BERRY, a robust learning framework to improve bit error robustness and energy efficiency for RL-enabled autonomous systems. BERRY supports robust learning, both offline and on-board the UAV, and for the first time, demonstrates the practicality of robust low-voltage operation on UAVs that leads to high energy savings in both compute-level operation and system-level quality-of-flight. We perform extensive experiments on 72 autonomous navigation scenarios and demonstrate that BERRY generalizes well across environments, UAVs, autonomy policies, operating voltages and fault patterns, and consistently improves robustness, efficiency and mission performance, achieving up to 15.62% reduction in flight energy, 18.51% increase in the number of successful missions, and 3.43x processing energy reduction.
Achieving high accuracy, while maintaining good energy efficiency, in analog DNN accelerators is challenging as high-precision data converters are expensive. In this paper, we overcome this challenge by using the residue number system (RNS) to compose high-precision operations from multiple low-precision operations. This enables us to eliminate the information loss caused by the limited precision of the ADCs. Our study shows that RNS can achieve 99% FP32 accuracy for state-of-the-art DNN inference using data converters with only $6$-bit precision. We propose using redundant RNS to achieve a fault-tolerant analog accelerator. In addition, we show that RNS can reduce the energy consumption of the data converters within an analog accelerator by several orders of magnitude compared to a regular fixed-point approach.
Machine learning is a prevalent approach to tame the complexity of design space exploration for domain-specific architectures. Using ML for design space exploration poses challenges. First, it's not straightforward to identify the suitable algorithm from an increasing pool of ML methods. Second, assessing the trade-offs between performance and sample efficiency across these methods is inconclusive. Finally, lack of a holistic framework for fair, reproducible, and objective comparison across these methods hinders progress of adopting ML-aided architecture design space exploration and impedes creating repeatable artifacts. To mitigate these challenges, we introduce ArchGym, an open-source gym and easy-to-extend framework that connects diverse search algorithms to architecture simulators. To demonstrate utility, we evaluate ArchGym across multiple vanilla and domain-specific search algorithms in designing custom memory controller, deep neural network accelerators, and custom SoC for AR/VR workloads, encompassing over 21K experiments. Results suggest that with unlimited samples, ML algorithms are equally favorable to meet user-defined target specification if hyperparameters are tuned; no solution is necessarily better than another (e.g., reinforcement learning vs. Bayesian methods). We coin the term hyperparameter lottery to describe the chance for a search algorithm to find an optimal design provided meticulously selected hyperparameters. The ease of data collection and aggregation in ArchGym facilitates research in ML-aided architecture design space exploration. As a case study, we show this advantage by developing a proxy cost model with an RMSE of 0.61% that offers a 2,000-fold reduction in simulation time. Code and data for ArchGym is available at https://bit.ly/ArchGym.
Machine learning (ML) sensors offer a new paradigm for sensing that enables intelligence at the edge while empowering end-users with greater control of their data. As these ML sensors play a crucial role in the development of intelligent devices, clear documentation of their specifications, functionalities, and limitations is pivotal. This paper introduces a standard datasheet template for ML sensors and discusses its essential components including: the system's hardware, ML model and dataset attributes, end-to-end performance metrics, and environmental impact. We provide an example datasheet for our own ML sensor and discuss each section in detail. We highlight how these datasheets can facilitate better understanding and utilization of sensor data in ML applications, and we provide objective measures upon which system performance can be evaluated and compared. Together, ML sensors and their datasheets provide greater privacy, security, transparency, explainability, auditability, and user-friendliness for ML-enabled embedded systems. We conclude by emphasizing the need for standardization of datasheets across the broader ML community to ensure the responsible and effective use of sensor data.
The generative AI revolution in recent years has been spurred by an expansion in compute power and data quantity, which together enable extensive pre-training of powerful text-to-image (T2I) models. With their greater capabilities to generate realistic and creative content, these T2I models like DALL-E, MidJourney, Imagen or Stable Diffusion are reaching ever wider audiences. Any unsafe behaviors inherited from pretraining on uncurated internet-scraped datasets thus have the potential to cause wide-reaching harm, for example, through generated images which are violent, sexually explicit, or contain biased and derogatory stereotypes. Despite this risk of harm, we lack systematic and structured evaluation datasets to scrutinize model behavior, especially adversarial attacks that bypass existing safety filters. A typical bottleneck in safety evaluation is achieving a wide coverage of different types of challenging examples in the evaluation set, i.e., identifying 'unknown unknowns' or long-tail problems. To address this need, we introduce the Adversarial Nibbler challenge. The goal of this challenge is to crowdsource a diverse set of failure modes and reward challenge participants for successfully finding safety vulnerabilities in current state-of-the-art T2I models. Ultimately, we aim to provide greater awareness of these issues and assist developers in improving the future safety and reliability of generative AI models. Adversarial Nibbler is a data-centric challenge, part of the DataPerf challenge suite, organized and supported by Kaggle and MLCommons.
The field of neuromorphic computing holds great promise in terms of advancing computing efficiency and capabilities by following brain-inspired principles. However, the rich diversity of techniques employed in neuromorphic research has resulted in a lack of clear standards for benchmarking, hindering effective evaluation of the advantages and strengths of neuromorphic methods compared to traditional deep-learning-based methods. This paper presents a collaborative effort, bringing together members from academia and the industry, to define benchmarks for neuromorphic computing: NeuroBench. The goals of NeuroBench are to be a collaborative, fair, and representative benchmark suite developed by the community, for the community. In this paper, we discuss the challenges associated with benchmarking neuromorphic solutions, and outline the key features of NeuroBench. We believe that NeuroBench will be a significant step towards defining standards that can unify the goals of neuromorphic computing and drive its technological progress. Please visit neurobench.ai for the latest updates on the benchmark tasks and metrics.