Energy-efficient floating-point arithmetic for digital signal processors

Syed Zohaib Gilani, Nam Sung Kim, Michael Schulte

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Emerging image and signal processing applications involve several matrix-based algorithms that are extremely sensitive to round-off error in computations. Implementing these applications on fixed-point (FxP) processors can significantly increase their design-time and may also result in reduced signal-to-noise (SNR) ratios. However, due to the high area and power overhead of floating-point (FP) hardware, low-power DSPs typically do not provide hardware support for floating-point (FP) arithmetic. Moreover, the long latency of FP operations can also reduce the performance of executing signal processing applications. In this paper, we propose a block-floating-point-based fused multiply-add (BFP-FMA) unit with reduced area and power overhead that is tailored to the needs of signal processing applications. Since dot-product instructions are commonly employed in matrix-based kernels, we employ our proposed BFPFMA unit to reduce the latency of dot-product operations by a factor of two. Our proposed FMA unit can improve the performance of executing key DSP kernels by as much as 40%, while reducing energy consumption by 28%. Exploiting BFP arithmetic also allows us to reduce the area and power of the FMA units by 33% and 41%, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConference Record of the 45th Asilomar Conference on Signals, Systems and Computers, ASILOMAR 2011
Number of pages5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event45th Asilomar Conference on Signals, Systems and Computers, ASILOMAR 2011 - Pacific Grove, CA, United States
Duration: Nov 6 2011Nov 9 2011

Publication series

NameConference Record - Asilomar Conference on Signals, Systems and Computers
ISSN (Print)1058-6393


Other45th Asilomar Conference on Signals, Systems and Computers, ASILOMAR 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPacific Grove, CA


  • energy efficiency
  • floating-point arithmetic
  • software-defined radio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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