DOTA: detect and omit weak attentions for scalable transformer acceleration

Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems(2022)

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摘要
ABSTRACTTransformer Neural Networks have demonstrated leading performance in many applications spanning over language understanding, image processing, and generative modeling. Despite the impressive performance, long-sequence Transformer processing is expensive due to quadratic computation complexity and memory consumption of self-attention. In this paper, we present DOTA, an algorithm-architecture co-design that effectively addresses the challenges of scalable Transformer inference. Based on the insight that not all connections in an attention graph are equally important, we propose to jointly optimize a lightweight Detector with the Transformer model to accurately detect and omit weak connections during runtime. Furthermore, we design a specialized system architecture for end-to-end Transformer acceleration using the proposed attention detection mechanism. Experiments on a wide range of benchmarks demonstrate the superior performance of DOTA over other solutions. In summary, DOTA achieves 152.6x and 4.5x performance speedup and orders of magnitude energy-efficiency improvements over GPU and customized hardware, respectively.
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关键词
Transformer Acceleration, SW-HW Co-design, Sparse Architecture
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