An Analytical Approach for Error PMF Characterization in Approximate Circuits
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1982-2012 IEEE. Approximate computing has emerged as a circuit design technique that can reduce system power without significantly sacrificing the output quality in error-resilient applications. However, there exists only a few approaches for systematically and efficiently determining the error introduced by approximate hardware units. This paper focuses on the development of error analysis techniques for approximate circuits consisting of adders and multipliers, which are the key hardware components used in error-resilient applications. A novel algorithm has been presented, using the Fourier and the Mellin transforms, that efficiently determines the probability distribution of the error introduced by approximation in a circuit, abstracted as a directed acyclic graph. The algorithm is generalized for signed operations through two's complement representation, and its accuracy is demonstrated to be within 1% of Monte Carlo simulations, while being over an order of magnitude faster.