Automatic classification of pigmented, non-pigmented, and depigmented non-melanocytic skin lesions have garnered lots of attention in recent years. However, imaging variations in skin texture, lesion shape, depigmentation contrast, lighting condition, etc. hinder robust feature extraction, affecting classification accuracy. In this paper, we propose a new deep neural network that exploits input data for robust feature extraction. Specifically, we analyze the convolutional network's behavior (field-of-view) to find the location of deep supervision for improved feature extraction. To achieve this, first, we perform activation mapping to generate an object mask, highlighting the input regions most critical for classification output generation. Then the network layer whose layer-wise effective receptive field matches the approximated object shape in the object mask is selected as our focus for deep supervision. Utilizing different types of convolutional feature extractors and classifiers on three melanoma detection datasets and two vitiligo detection datasets, we verify the effectiveness of our new method.
Experience replay is an essential component in deep reinforcement learning (DRL), which stores the experiences and generates experiences for the agent to learn in real time. Recently, prioritized experience replay (PER) has been proven to be powerful and widely deployed in DRL agents. However, implementing PER on traditional CPU or GPU architectures incurs significant latency overhead due to its frequent and irregular memory accesses. This paper proposes a hardware-software co-design approach to design an associative memory (AM) based PER, AMPER, with an AM-friendly priority sampling operation. AMPER replaces the widely-used time-costly tree-traversal-based priority sampling in PER while preserving the learning performance. Further, we design an in-memory computing hardware architecture based on AM to support AMPER by leveraging parallel in-memory search operations. AMPER shows comparable learning performance while achieving 55x to 270x latency improvement when running on the proposed hardware compared to the state-of-the-art PER running on GPU.
Lifelong on-device learning is a key challenge for machine intelligence, and this requires learning from few, often single, samples. Memory augmented neural network has been proposed to achieve the goal, but the memory module has to be stored in an off-chip memory due to its size. Therefore the practical use has been heavily limited. Previous works on emerging memory-based implementation have difficulties in scaling up because different modules with various structures are difficult to integrate on the same chip and the small sense margin of the content addressable memory for the memory module heavily limited the degree of mismatch calculation. In this work, we implement the entire memory augmented neural network architecture in a fully integrated memristive crossbar platform and achieve an accuracy that closely matches standard software on digital hardware for the Omniglot dataset. The successful demonstration is supported by implementing new functions in crossbars in addition to widely reported matrix multiplications. For example, the locality-sensitive hashing operation is implemented in crossbar arrays by exploiting the intrinsic stochasticity of memristor devices. Besides, the content-addressable memory module is realized in crossbars, which also supports the degree of mismatches. Simulations based on experimentally validated models show such an implementation can be efficiently scaled up for one-shot learning on the Mini-ImageNet dataset. The successful demonstration paves the way for practical on-device lifelong learning and opens possibilities for novel attention-based algorithms not possible in conventional hardware.
Compression is a standard procedure for making convolutional neural networks (CNNs) adhere to some specific computing resource constraints. However, searching for a compressed architecture typically involves a series of time-consuming training/validation experiments to determine a good compromise between network size and performance accuracy. To address this, we propose an image complexity-guided network compression technique for biomedical image segmentation. Given any resource constraints, our framework utilizes data complexity and network architecture to quickly estimate a compressed model which does not require network training. Specifically, we map the dataset complexity to the target network accuracy degradation caused by compression. Such mapping enables us to predict the final accuracy for different network sizes, based on the computed dataset complexity. Thus, one may choose a solution that meets both the network size and segmentation accuracy requirements. Finally, the mapping is used to determine the convolutional layer-wise multiplicative factor for generating a compressed network. We conduct experiments using 5 datasets, employing 3 commonly-used CNN architectures for biomedical image segmentation as representative networks. Our proposed framework is shown to be effective for generating compressed segmentation networks, retaining up to $\approx 95\%$ of the full-sized network segmentation accuracy, and at the same time, utilizing $\approx 32x$ fewer network trainable weights (average reduction) of the full-sized networks.
From diagnosing neovascular diseases to detecting white matter lesions, accurate tiny vessel segmentation in fundus images is critical. Promising results for accurate vessel segmentation have been known. However, their effectiveness in segmenting tiny vessels is still limited. In this paper, we study retinal vessel segmentation by incorporating tiny vessel segmentation into our framework for the overall accurate vessel segmentation. To achieve this, we propose a new deep convolutional neural network (CNN) which divides vessel segmentation into two separate objectives. Specifically, we consider the overall accurate vessel segmentation and tiny vessel segmentation as two individual objectives. Then, by exploiting the objective-dependent (homoscedastic) uncertainty, we enable the network to learn both objectives simultaneously. Further, to improve the individual objectives, we propose: (a) a vessel weight map based auxiliary loss for enhancing tiny vessel connectivity (i.e., improving tiny vessel segmentation), and (b) an enhanced encoder-decoder architecture for improved localization (i.e., for accurate vessel segmentation). Using 3 public retinal vessel segmentation datasets (CHASE_DB1, DRIVE, and STARE), we verify the superiority of our proposed framework in segmenting tiny vessels (8.3% average improvement in sensitivity) while achieving better area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) compared to state-of-the-art methods.
Nearest neighbor (NN) search is an essential operation in many applications, such as one/few-shot learning and image classification. As such, fast and low-energy hardware support for accurate NN search is highly desirable. Ternary content-addressable memories (TCAMs) have been proposed to accelerate NN search for few-shot learning tasks by implementing $L_\infty$ and Hamming distance metrics, but they cannot achieve software-comparable accuracies. This paper proposes a novel distance function that can be natively evaluated with multi-bit content-addressable memories (MCAMs) based on ferroelectric FETs (FeFETs) to perform a single-step, in-memory NN search. Moreover, this approach achieves accuracies comparable to floating-point precision implementations in software for NN classification and one/few-shot learning tasks. As an example, the proposed method achieves a 98.34% accuracy for a 5-way, 5-shot classification task for the Omniglot dataset (only 0.8% lower than software-based implementations) with a 3-bit MCAM. This represents a 13% accuracy improvement over state-of-the-art TCAM-based implementations at iso-energy and iso-delay. The presented distance function is resilient to the effects of FeFET device-to-device variations. Furthermore, this work experimentally demonstrates a 2-bit implementation of FeFET MCAM using AND arrays from GLOBALFOUNDRIES to further validate proof of concept.
A new spintronic nonvolatile memory cell analogous to 1T DRAM with non-destructive read is proposed. The cells can be used as neural computing units. A dual-circuit neural network architecture is proposed to leverage these devices against the complex operations involved in convolutional networks. Simulations based on HSPICE and Matlab were performed to study the performance of this architecture when classifying images as well as the effect of varying the size and stability of the nanomagnets. The spintronic cells outperform a purely charge-based implementation of the same network, consuming about 100 pJ total per image processed.
As cost and performance benefits associated with Moore's Law scaling slow, researchers are studying alternative architectures (e.g., based on analog and/or spiking circuits) and/or computational models (e.g., convolutional and recurrent neural networks) to perform application-level tasks faster, more energy efficiently, and/or more accurately. We investigate cellular neural network (CeNN)-based co-processors at the application-level for these metrics. While it is well-known that CeNNs can be well-suited for spatio-temporal information processing, few (if any) studies have quantified the energy/delay/accuracy of a CeNN-friendly algorithm and compared the CeNN-based approach to the best von Neumann algorithm at the application level. We present an evaluation framework for such studies. As a case study, a CeNN-friendly target-tracking algorithm was developed and mapped to an array architecture developed in conjunction with the algorithm. We compare the energy, delay, and accuracy of our architecture/algorithm (assuming all overheads) to the most accurate von Neumann algorithm (Struck). Von Neumann CPU data is measured on an Intel i5 chip. The CeNN approach is capable of matching the accuracy of Struck, and can offer approximately 1000x improvements in energy-delay product.
Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) for biomedical image analysis are often of very large size, resulting in high memory requirement and high latency of operations. Searching for an acceptable compressed representation of the base CNN for a specific imaging application typically involves a series of time-consuming training/validation experiments to achieve a good compromise between network size and accuracy. To address this challenge, we propose CC-Net, a new image complexity-guided CNN compression scheme for biomedical image segmentation. Given a CNN model, CC-Net predicts the final accuracy of networks of different sizes based on the average image complexity computed from the training data. It then selects a multiplicative factor for producing a desired network with acceptable network accuracy and size. Experiments show that CC-Net is effective for generating compressed segmentation networks, retaining up to 95% of the base network segmentation accuracy and utilizing only 0.1% of trainable parameters of the full-sized networks in the best case.
The 55th Design Automation Conference (DAC) held its first System Design Contest (SDC) in 2018. SDC'18 features a lower power object detection challenge (LPODC) on designing and implementing novel algorithms based object detection in images taken from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The dataset includes 95 categories and 150k images, and the hardware platforms include Nvidia's TX2 and Xilinx's PYNQ Z1. DAC-SDC'18 attracted more than 110 entries from 12 countries. This paper presents in detail the dataset and evaluation procedure. It further discusses the methods developed by some of the entries as well as representative results. The paper concludes with directions for future improvements.