An ultra low-power hardware accelerator for acoustic scoring in speech recognition
Document typeConference report
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Rights accessRestricted access - publisher's policy
Accurate, real-time Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) comes at a high energy cost, so accuracy has often to be sacrificed in order to fit the strict power constraints of mobile systems. However, accuracy is extremely important for the end-user, and today's systems are still unsatisfactory for many applications. The most critical component of an ASR system is the acoustic scoring, as it has a large impact on the accuracy of the system and takes up the bulk of execution time. The vast majority of ASR systems implement the acoustic scoring by means of Gaussian Mixture Models (GMMs), where the acoustic scores are obtained by evaluating multidimensional Gaussian distributions.In this paper, we propose a hardware accelerator for GMM evaluation that reduces the energy required for acoustic scoring by three orders of magnitude compared to solutions based on CPUs and GPUs. Our accelerator implements a lazy evaluation scheme where Gaussians are computed on demand, avoiding 50% of the computations. Furthermore, it employs a novel clustering scheme to reduce the size of the acoustic model, which results in 8x memory bandwidth savings with a negligible impact on accuracy. Finally, it includes a novel memoization scheme that avoids 74.88% of floating-point operations. The end design provides a 164x speedup and 3532x energy reduction when compared with a highly-tuned implementation running on a modern mobile CPU. Compared to a state-of-the-art mobile GPU, the GMM accelerator achieves 5.89x speedup over a highly optimized CUDA implementation, while reducing energy by 241x.
CitationTabani, H., Arnau, J., Tubella, J., Gonzalez, A. An ultra low-power hardware accelerator for acoustic scoring in speech recognition. A: International Conference on Parallel Architectures and Compilation. "26th International Conference on Parallel Architectures and Compilation Techniques: proceedings: 9-13 September 2017: Portland, Oregon". Portland, OR: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 2017, p. 41-52.