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FPGA Optimizations of Dense Binary Hyperdimensional Computing

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HD dense codes.png

Brain-inspired hyperdimensional (HD) computing models neural activity patterns of the very size of the brain's circuits with points of a hyperdimensional space, that is, with hypervectors. Hypervectors are D-dimensional (pseudo)random vectors with independent and identically distributed (i.i.d.) components constituting ultra-wide holographic words: D=10,000 bits, for instance. At its very core, HD computing manipulates a set of seed hypervectors to build composite hypervectors representing objects of interest. It demands memory optimizations with simple operations for an e cient hardware realization. In this paper, we propose hardware techniques for optimizations of HD computing, in a synthesizable VHDL library, to enable co-located implementation of both learning and classification tasks on only a small portion of Xilinx(R) UltraScale(TM) FPGAs: (1) We propose simple logical operations to rematerialize the hypervectors on the fly rather than loading them from memory. These operations massively reduce the memory footprint by directly computing the composite hypervectors whose individual seed hypervectors do not need to be stored in memory. (2) Bundling a series of hypervectors over time requires a multibit counter per every hypervector component. We instead propose a binarized back-to-back bundling without requiring any counters. This truly enables on-chip learning with minimal resources as every hypervector component remains binary over the course of training to avoid otherwise multibit component. (3) For every classification event, an associative memory is in charge of finding the closest match between a set of learned hypervectors and a query hypervector by using a distance metric. This operator is proportional to hypervector dimension (D), and hence may take O(D) cycles per classification event. Accordingly, we significantly improve the throughput of classification by proposing associative memories that steadily reduce the latency of classification to the extreme of single cycle. (4) We perform a design space exploration incorporating the proposed techniques on FPGAs for a wearable biosignal processing application as a case study. Our techniques achieve up to 2.39x area saving, or 2337x throughput improvement. The Pareto optimal HD architecture is mapped on only 18340 configurable logic blocks (CLBs) to learn and classify five hand gestures using four electromyography sensors.


Hyperdimensional computing, on-chip learning, FPGA, rematerialization, binarized temporal bundling, single-cycle associative memory, electromyography, biosignals

Status: Completed

Semester thesis by Manuel Schmuck <>
Supervision: Abbas Rahimi <>