Communication-Minimizing 2D Convolution in GPU Registers

2D image convolution is ubiquitous in image processing and computer vision problems such as feature extraction. Exploiting parallelism is a common strategy for accelerating convolution. Parallel processors keep getting faster, but algorithms such as image convolution remain memory bounded on parallel processors such as GPUs. Therefore, reducing memory communication is fundamental to accelerating image convolution. To reduce memory communication, we reorganize the convolution algorithm to prefetch image regions to register, and we do more work per thread with fewer threads. To enable portability to future architectures, we implement a convolution autotuner that sweeps the design space of memory layouts and loop unrolling configurations. We focus on convolution with small filters (2×2–7×7), but our techniques can be extended to larger filter sizes. Depending on filter size, our speedups on two NVIDIA architectures range from 1.2x to 4.5x over state-of-the-art GPU libraries.

Code (Github)