A Hardware Accelerator for Computing an Exact Dot Product

We study the implementation of a hardware accelerator that computes a dot product of IEEE-754 floating-point numbers exactly. The accelerator uses a wide (640 or 4288 bits for single or double-precision respectively) fixed-point representation into which intermediate floating-point products are accumulated. We designed the accelerator as a generator in Chisel, which can synthesize various configurations of the accelerator that make different area-performance trade-offs.

We integrated eight different configurations into an SoC comprised of a RISC-V in-order scalar core, split L1 instruction and data caches, and unified L2 cache. In a TSMC 45 nm technology, the accelerator area ranges from 0.05 to 0.32 square mm , and all configurations could be clocked at frequencies in excess of 900MHz. The accelerator successfully saturates the SoC’s memory system, achieving the same per-element efficiency (1 cycle-per-element) as Intel MKL running on an x86 machine with a similar cache configuration.