Approximation computing is allowing larger errors when performing calculations. While most programmers might go the other way (lower error rate) by using doubles for instance, this field is interesting for quite some of us. The reason is that you can get more performance, more bandwidth space and lower power usage in return.

In Neural Networks high precision is not required, but also Big Data approximation computing is very useful. Most important is that you actually think of the possibility to trade in precision when designing your OpenCL software. For example, does your window function need to be very precise or can there be rounding errors? Or do you do iterative steps (more precision needed), or calculate relatively from the starting point (less precision needed)? You can even use relatively more expensive algorithms that compensate with a smaller overall error. Here at StreamComputing we think this through as one of the main optimisation techniques.

Let’s look into what is possible in OpenCL and which is the hardware support. Continue reading “How to do Approximation Computing in OpenCL”