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Programming Abstractions for Approximate Computing Michael Carbin with Sasa Misailovic, Hank Hoffmann, Deokhwan Kim, Stelios Sidiroglou, Martin Rinard MIT

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Challenges for Programming Expression (specifying approximations) Reasoning (verifying resulting program) Debugging (reproducing failures) Deployment (changes in assumptions)

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Challenges for Programming Expression (specifying approximations) Reasoning (verifying resulting program) Debugging (reproducing failures) Deployment (changes in assumptions)

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Fundamental Questions Scope What do we approximate and how? Specifications of “Correctness” What is correctness? Reasoning How do we reason about correctness?

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What do we approximate? Domains have inherent uncertainty Execution time dominated by a fraction of code [Misailovic, Carbin, Achour, Qi, Rinard MIT-TR 14]

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Approximation Transformations Approximate Hardware PCMOS, Palem et al. 2005; Narayanan et al., DATE ’10; Liu et al. ASPLOS ’11; Sampson et al, PLDI ’11; Esmaeilzadeh et al., ASPLOS ’12, MICRO’ 12 Function Substitution Hoffman et al., APLOS ’11; Ansel et al., CGO ’11; Zhu et al., POPL ‘12 Approximate Memoization Alvarez et al., IEEE TOC ’05; Chaudhuri et al., FSE ’12; Samadi et al., ASPLOS ’14 Relaxed Synchronization (Lock Elision) Renganarayana et al., RACES ’12; Rinard, HotPar ‘13; Misailovic, et al., RACES ’12 Code Perforation Rinard, ICS ‘06; Baek et al., PLDI 10; Misailovic et al., ICSE ’10; Sidiroglou et al., FSE ‘11; Misailovic et al., SAS ‘11; Zhu et al., POPL ‘12; Carbin et al. PEPM ’13;

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float sum = 0; for (int i = 0; i < n; i += 1) { sum = sum + a[i]; } float avg = sum / n; float sum = 0; for (int i = 0; i < n; i += 1) { sum = sum + a[i]; } float avg = sum / n; Example: Loop Perforation

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float sum = 0; for (int i = 0; i < n; i += 1) { sum = sum + a[i]; } float avg = sum / n; float avg = (sum * 2) / n; float sum = 0; for (int i = 0; i < n; i += 1) { sum = sum + a[i]; } float avg = sum / n; float avg = (sum * 2) / n; Example: Loop Perforation i += 2 Skip iterations (or truncate or random subset) Potentially add extrapolations to reduce bias

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Traditional Transformation ≡.c What is correctness?

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Approximate Transformation.c What is correctness?

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Safety: satisfies standard unary assertions (type safety, memory safety, partial functionality) Accuracy: program satisfies relational assertions that constrain difference in results

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Relational Assertions Contribution: program logic and verification system that supports verifying relationships between implementations x : value of x in original implementation x : value of x in approximate implementation relate |x - x | / x <=.1; [Carbin, Kim, Misailovic, Rinard PLDI’12, PEPM ‘13]

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float sum = 0; for (int i = 0; i < n; i += 1) { sum = sum + a[i]; } float avg = sum / n; float avg = (sum * 2) / n; float sum = 0; for (int i = 0; i < n; i += 1) { sum = sum + a[i]; } float avg = sum / n; float avg = (sum * 2) / n; Example: Loop Perforation i += 2

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Worst-case error: float sum = 0; for (int i = 0; i < n; i += 1) { sum = sum + a[i]; } float avg = sum / n; float avg = (sum * 2) / n; float sum = 0; for (int i = 0; i < n; i += 1) { sum = sum + a[i]; } float avg = sum / n; float avg = (sum * 2) / n; Example: Loop Perforation i += 2

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Novel Safety Verification Concept Assume validity of assertions in original program Use relations to prove that approximation does not change validity of assertions Lower verification complexity than verifying an assertion outright assert (safe(*p)) p == p safe(*p ) ∧

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Specifications and Reasoning Worst-case (for all inputs) Non-interference [Sampson et al., PLDI ‘11] Assertions [Carbin et al., PLDI ‘12; PEPM ‘13] Accuracy [Carbin et al., PLDI ‘12] Statistical (with some probability) Assertions [Sampson et al., PLDI ‘14] Reliability [Carbin, Misailovic, and Rinard, OOPSLA ‘13] Expected Error [Zhu, Misailovic et al., POPL ‘13] Probabilistic Error Bounds [Misailovic et al., SAS ‘13]

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Questions from Computer Science

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Question #1: “Programmers will never do this.” - Unnamed Systems and PL Researchers

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Challenge Reasoning Complexity Types Partial Specifications Full Functional Correctness Expressivity

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Challenge Reasoning Complexity Types Partial Specifications Full Functional Correctness Expressivity Ordering of unary assertions still true (improved by relational verification)

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Challenge Worst-case AccuracyReliability Probabilistic Accuracy BoundsProbabilistic Assertions Error DistributionsExpected Error Reasoning Complexity Expressivity Performance/Energy Benefit Assertions

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float sum = 0; for (int i = 0; i < n; i += 1) { sum = sum + a[i]; } float avg = sum / n; float avg = (sum * 2) / n; float sum = 0; for (int i = 0; i < n; i += 1) { sum = sum + a[i]; } float avg = sum / n; float avg = (sum * 2) / n; Example: Loop Perforation (Misailovic et al., SAS ‘11) i += 2

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Worst-case error: Probabilistic Error Bound (.95): float sum = 0; for (int i = 0; i < n; i += 1) { sum = sum + a[i]; } float avg = sum / n; float avg = (sum * 2) / n; float sum = 0; for (int i = 0; i < n; i += 1) { sum = sum + a[i]; } float avg = sum / n; float avg = (sum * 2) / n; Example: Loop Perforation (Misailovic et al., SAS ‘11) i += 2

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Question #2: “There’s no hope for building approximate hardware.” - Unnamed Computer Architect

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Challenge Approx. PL community must work with hardware community to collaborate on models (not the PL community’s expertise) Approx. hardware community faces major challenge in publishing deep architectural changes: simulation widely panned Moving forward may require large joint effort

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Question #3: “I believe your techniques are fundamentally flawed.” - Unnamed Numerical Analyst

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Challenge Numerical analysts have been wronged Programming systems have failed to provide support for making the statements they desire Approximate computing community risks repeating work done by numerical analysis Opportunity for collaboration New research opportunities It’s no longer just about floating-point

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Broadly Accessible Motivations Programming with uncertainty (uncertain operations and data) Programming unrealizable computation (large scale numerical simulations) Useful computation from non-digital fabrics (analog, quantum, biological, and human) Opportunity to build reliable and resilient computing systems built upon anything

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End

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Conclusion Adoption hinges on tradeoff between expressivity, complexity and benefit Opportunity/necessity for tighter integration of PL and hardware communities

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Open Challenges and Directions Problem: benefits (performance/energy) may vary between different types of guarantees Worst-case Accuracy Reliability Probabilistic Accuracy Bounds Probabilistic Assertions Error Distributions Expected Accuracy Reasoning Complexity Expressivity

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Open Challenges and Directions Expressivity and Reasoning Complexity Type Checking Partial Specifications Full Functional Correctness

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Experimental Results

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Open Challenges Directions Traditional Tradeoff Reasoning Complexity Performance/Energy Type Checking Partial Specifications Dynamic Analysis Full Functional Correctness

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