FALCON Library: Fast Image Convolution in Neural Networks on Intel Architecture

November 9, 2016

We describe FALCON, an original open-source implementation of image convolution with a 3×3 filter based on Winograd’s minimal filtering algorithm. Compared to direct convolution, Winograd’s algorithm reduces the number of arithmetic operations at the cost of complicating the memory access pattern. This study is carried out in the context of image analysis in convolutional neural networks. Our implementation combines C language code with BLAS function calls for general matrix-matrix multiplication. The code is optimized for Intel Xeon Phi processors x200 (formerly Knights Landing) with Intel Math Kernel Library (MKL) used for BLAS call to the SGEMM function. To test the performance of FALCON in the context of machine learning, we benchmarked it for a set of image and filter sizes corresponding to the VGG Net architecture. In this test, FALCON achieves 10% greater overall performance than convolution from DNN primitives in Intel MKL. However, for some layers, FALCON is faster than MKL by 1.5x, but for other layers slower by as much as 4x. This indicates a possibility of a [...]