A Framework for Automated and Controlled Floating-Point Accuracy Reduction in Graphics Applications on GPUs
Journal article, 2017

Reducing the precision of floating-point values can improve performance and/or reduce energy expenditure in computer graphics, among other, applications. However, reducing the precision level of floating-point values in a controlled fashion needs support both at the compiler and at the microarchitecture level. At the compiler level, a method is needed to automate the reduction of precision of each floating-point value. At the microarchitecture level, a lower precision of each floating-point register can allow more floating-point values to be packed into a register file. This, however, calls for new register file organizations. This article proposes an automated precision-selection method and a novel GPU register file organization that can store floating-point register values at arbitrary precisions densely. The automated precision-selection method uses a data-driven approach for setting the precision level of floating-point values, given a quality threshold and a representative set of input data. By allowing a small, but acceptable, degradation in output quality, our method can remove a significant amount of the bits needed to represent floating-point values in the investigated kernels (between 28% and 60%). Our proposed register file organization exploits these lower-precision floating-point values by packing several of them into the same physical register. This reduces the register pressure per thread by up to 48%, and by 27% on average, for a negligible output-quality degradation. This can enable GPUs to keep up to twice as many threads in flight simultaneously.

approximate computing



register file

floating-point precision


Alexandra Angerd

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Computer Engineering (Chalmers)

Erik Sintorn

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Computer Engineering (Chalmers)

Per Stenström

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Computer Engineering (Chalmers)

Transactions on Architecture and Code Optimization

1544-3566 (ISSN) 1544-3973 (eISSN)

Vol. 14 4 46

Subject Categories

Computer Engineering



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