ArchGym: An Open-Source Gymnasium for Machine Learning Assisted Architecture Design

Srivatsan Krishnan, Amir Yazdanbaksh,Shvetank Prakash, Jason Jabbour, Ikechukwu Uchendu,Susobhan Ghosh, Behzad Boroujerdian, Daniel Richins,Devashree Tripathy,Aleksandra Faust,Vijay Janapa Reddi


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Machine learning (ML) has become a prevalent approach to tame the complexity of design space exploration for domain-specific architectures. While appealing, using ML for design space exploration poses several challenges. First, it is not straightforward to identify the most suitable algorithm from an ever-increasing pool of ML methods. Second, assessing the trade-offs between performance and sample efficiency across these methods is inconclusive. Finally, the lack of a holistic framework for fair, reproducible, and objective comparison across these methods hinders the progress of adopting ML-aided architecture design space exploration and impedes creating repeatable artifacts. To mitigate these challenges, we introduce ArchGym, an open-source gymnasium and easy-to-extend framework that connects a diverse range of search algorithms to architecture simulators. To demonstrate its utility, we evaluate ArchGym across multiple vanilla and domain-specific search algorithms in the design of a custom memory controller, deep neural network accelerators, and a custom SoC for AR/VR workloads, collectively encompassing over 21K experiments. The results suggest that with an unlimited number of samples, ML algorithms are equally favorable to meet the user-defined target specification if its hyperparameters are tuned thoroughly; no one solution is necessarily better than another (e.g., reinforcement learning vs. Bayesian methods). We coin the term "hyperparameter lottery" to describe the relatively probable chance for a search algorithm to find an optimal design provided meticulously selected hyperparameters. Additionally, the ease of data collection and aggregation in ArchGym facilitates research in ML-aided architecture design space exploration. As a case study, we show this advantage by developing a proxy cost model with an RMSE of 0.61% that offers a 2,000-fold reduction in simulation time. Code and data for ArchGym is available at
Machine learning,Machine Learning for Computer Architecture,Machine Learning for System,Reinforcement Learning,Bayesian Optimization,Open Source,Baselines,Reproducibility
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