ARITH 2021
Conference paper

Dither computing: a hybrid deterministic-stochastic computing framework

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Stochastic computing has a long history as an alternative method of performing arithmetic on a computer. While it can be considered an unbiased estimator of real numbers, it has a variance and MSE on the order of O(1/N). On the other hand, deterministic variants of stochastic computing remove the stochastic aspect, but cannot approximate arbitrary real numbers with arbitrary precision and are biased estimators. However, they have an asymptotically superior MSE on the order of O(1/N^2). Recent results in deep learning with stochastic rounding suggest that the bias in the rounding can degrade performance. We proposed an alternative framework, called dither computing, that combines aspects of stochastic computing and its deterministic variants and that can perform computing with similar efficiency, is unbiased, and with a variance and MSE also on the optimal order of O(1/N^2). We also show that it can be beneficial in stochastic rounding applications as well. We provide implementation details and give experimental results to comparatively show the benefits of the proposed scheme.


14 Jun 2021


ARITH 2021