Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) are widely used due to their effectiveness in various AI applications such as object recognition, speech processing, etc., where the multiply-and-accumulate (MAC) operation contributes to ∼95% of the computation time. From the hardware implementation perspective, the performance of current CMOS-based MAC accelerators is limited mainly due to their von-Neumann architecture and corresponding limited memory bandwidth. In this way, silicon photonics has been recently explored as a promising solution for accelerator design to improve the speed and power-efficiency of the designs as opposed to electronic memristive crossbars. In this work, we briefly study recent silicon photonics accelerators and take initial steps to develop an open-source and adaptive crossbar architecture simulator for that. Keeping the original functionality of the MNSIM tool , we add a new photonic mode that utilizes the pre-existing algorithm to work with a photonic Phase Change Memory (pPCM) based crossbar structure. With inputs from the CNN's topology, the accelerator configuration, and experimentally-benchmarked data, the presented simulator can report the optimal crossbar size, the number of crossbars needed, and the estimation of total area, power, and latency.
Emily Lattanzio, Ranyang Zhou, Arman Roohi, Abdallah Khreishah, Durga Misra, Shaahin Angizi