Input-Based Dynamic Reconfiguration of Approximate Arithmetic Units for Video Encoding

Input-Based Dynamic Reconfiguration of Approximate Arithmetic Units for Video Encoding


The field of approximate computing has received significant attention from the research community in the past few years, especially in the context of various signal processing applications. Image and video compression algorithms, such as JPEG, MPEG, and so on, are particularly attractive candidates for approximate computing, since they are tolerant of computing imprecision due to human imperceptibility, which can be exploited to realize highly power-efficient implementations of these algorithms. However, existing approximate architectures typically fix the level of hardware approximation statically and are not adaptive to input data. For example, if a fixed approximate hardware configuration is used for an MPEG encoder (i.e., a fixed level of approximation), the output quality varies greatly for different input videos. This paper addresses this issue by proposing a reconfigurable approximate architecture for MPEG encoders that optimizes power consumption with the goal of maintaining a particular Peak Signal-to-Noise Ratio (PSNR) threshold for any video. Toward this end, we design reconfigurable adder/subtractor blocks (RABs), which have the ability to modulate their degree of approximation, and subsequently integrate these blocks in the motion estimation and discrete cosine transform modules of the MPEG encoder. We propose two heuristics for automatically tuning the approximation degree of the RABs in these two modules during runtime based on the characteristics of each individual video. Experimental results show that our approach of dynamically adjusting the degree of hardware approximation based on the input video respects the given quality bound (PSNR degradation of 1%-10%) across different videos while achieving a power saving up to 38% over a conventional nonapproximated MPEG encoder architecture. Note that although the proposed reconfigurable approximate architecture is presented for the specific case of an MPEG encoder, it can be easily extended to other DSP applications.


Comments are closed.