Dr. DNA: Combating Silent Data Corruptions in Deep Learning using Distribution of Neuron Activations.

International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems(2024)

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Abstract
Deep neural networks (DNNs) have been widely-adopted in various safety-critical applications such as computer vision and autonomous driving. However, as technology scales and applications diversify, coupled with the increasing heterogeneity of underlying hardware architectures, silent data corruption (SDC) has been emerging as a pronouncing threat to the reliability of DNNs. Recent reports from industry hyperscalars underscore the difficulty in addressing SDC due to their "stealthy" nature and elusive manifestation. In this paper, we propose Dr. DNA , a novel approach to enhance the reliability of DNN systems by detecting and mitigating SDCs. Specifically, we formulate and extract a set of unique SDC signatures from the Distribution of Neuron Activations (DNA), based on which we propose early-stage detection and mitigation of SDCs during DNN inference. We perform an extensive evaluation across 3 vision tasks, 5 different datasets, and 10 different models, under 4 different error models. Results show that Dr. DNA achieves 100% SDC detection rate for most cases, 95% detection rate on average and >90% detection rate across all cases, representing 20% - 70% improvement over baselines. Dr. DNA can also mitigate the impact of SDCs by effectively recovering DNN model performance with <1% memory overhead and <2.5% latency overhead.
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