Benchmarking keyword spotting efficiency on neuromorphic hardware

Research posted Dec 04, 2018 by Peter Blouw, Xuan Choo, Eric Hunsberger and Chris Eliasmith

Abstract

Using Intel’s Loihi neuromorphic research chip and ABR’s Nengo Deep Learning toolkit, we analyze the inference speed, dynamic power consumption, and energy cost per inference of a two-layer neural network keyword spotter trained to recognize a single phrase. We perform comparative analyses of this keyword spotter running on more conventional hardware devices including a CPU, a GPU, Nvidia’s Jetson TX1, and the Movidius Neural Compute Stick. Our results indicate that for this inference application, Loihi outperforms all of these alternatives on an energy cost per inference basis while maintaining equivalent inference accuracy. Furthermore, an analysis of tradeoffs between network size, inference speed, and energy cost indicates that Loihi’s comparative advantage over other low-power computing devices improves for larger networks.

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