Keywords: computer architecture and systems, machine learning, data-driven optimization
Abstract: To attain higher efficiency, the industry has gradually reformed towards application-specific hardware accelerators. While such a paradigm shift is already starting to show promising results, designers need to spend considerable manual effort and perform large number of time-consuming simulations to find accelerators that can accelerate multiple target applications while obeying design constraints. Moreover, such a simulation-driven approach must be re-run from scratch every time the set of target applications or design constraints change. An alternative paradigm is to use a data-driven, offline approach that utilizes logged simulation data, to architect hardware accelerators, without needing any form of simulations. Such an approach not only alleviates the need to run time-consuming simulation, but also enables data reuse and applies even when set of target applications changes. In this paper, we develop such a data-driven offline optimization method for designing hardware accelerators, dubbed PRIME, that enjoys all of these properties. Our approach learns a conservative, robust estimate of the desired cost function, utilizes infeasible points and optimizes the design against this estimate without any additional simulator queries during optimization. PRIME architects accelerators---tailored towards both single- and multi-applications---improving performance upon stat-of-the-art simulation-driven methods by about 1.54x and 1.20x, while considerably reducing the required total simulation time by 93% and 99%, respectively. In addition, PRIME also architects effective accelerators for unseen applications in a zero-shot setting, outperforming simulation-based methods by 1.26x.