The success of deep neural networks (DNNs) is attributable to three factors: increased compute capacity, more complex models, and more data. These factors, however, are not always present, especially for edge applications such as autonomous driving, augmented reality, and internet-of-things. Training DNNs requires a large amount of data, which is difficult to obtain. Edge devices such as mobile phones have limited compute capacity, and therefore, require specialized and efficient DNNs. However, due to the enormous design space and prohibitive training costs, designing efficient DNNs for different target devices is challenging. So the question is, with limited data, compute capacity, and model complexity, can we still successfully apply deep neural networks?

This dissertation focuses on the above problems and improving the efficiency of deep neural networks at four levels. Model efficiency: we designed neural networks for various computer vision tasks and achieved more than 10x faster speed and lower energy. Data efficiency: we developed an advanced tool that enables 6.2x faster annotation of a LiDAR point cloud. We also leveraged domain adaptation to utilize simulated data, bypassing the need for real data. Hardware efficiency: we co-designed neural networks and hardware accelerators and achieved 11.6x faster inference. Design efficiency: the process of finding the optimal neural networks is time-consuming. Our automated neural architecture search algorithms discovered, using 421x lower computational cost than previous search methods, models with state-of-the-art accuracy and efficiency.




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