Reasoning about Approximate Computing

Speaker: Michael Carbin , MIT

Date: Monday, April 07, 2014

Time: 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM Note: all times are in the Eastern Time Zone

Refreshments: 3:45 PM

Public: Yes

Location: 32-G449

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Host: Arvind

Contact: Francis Doughty, 253-4602,

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Reminder Subject: TALK: Reasoning about Approximate Computing

Many modern applications implement large-scale computations (e.g., machine learning, big data analytics, and financial analysis) in which there is a natural trade-off between the quality of the results that the computation produces and the performance and cost of executing the computation.

Exploiting this fact, researchers have recently developed a variety of new mechanisms that automatically change the structure and execution of an application to enable it to meet its performance requirements. Examples of these mechanisms include skipping portions of the application's computation and executing the application on fast and/or energy-efficient unreliable hardware systems whose operations may silently produce incorrect results.

I present a program verification and analysis system, Rely, whose novel verification approach makes it possible to verify the safety, security, and accuracy of the approximate applications that these mechanisms produce. Rely also provides a program analysis that makes it possible to verify the probability that an application executed on unreliable hardware produces the same result as if it were executed on reliable hardware.


Michael Carbin is a Ph.D. Candidate in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. His interests include the design and implementation of programming systems that deliver improved performance and resilience by incorporating approximate computing and self-healing. His undergraduate research at Stanford University received an award for Best Computer Science Undergraduate Honors Thesis. As a graduate student, he has received the MIT Lemelson Presidential and Microsoft Research Graduate Fellowships. His recent research on verifying the reliability of programs that execute on unreliable hardware received a best paper award at OOPSLA 2013.

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Created by Francis Doughty Email at Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 1:48 PM.