Trading Accuracy for Power with an Underdesigned Multiplier Architecture

 We propose a novel multiplier architecture with tunable error characteristics, that leverages a modified inaccurate 2×2 building block. Our inaccurate multipliers achieve an average power saving of 31.78% - 45.4% over corresponding accurate multiplier designs, for an average error of 1.39% - 3.32%. Using image filtering and JPEG compression as sample applications we show that our architecture can achieve 2X - 8X better Signal-Noise-Ratio (SNR) for the same power savings when compared to recent voltage over-scaling based power-error tradeoff methods. We project the multiplier power savings to bigger designs highlighting the fact that the benefits are strongly design-dependent. We compare this circuit-centric approach to power-quality tradeoffs with a pure software adaptation approach for a JPEG example. We also enhance the design to allow for correct operation of the multiplier using a residual adder, for non error-resilient applications.

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