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SACoD: Sensor Algorithm Co-Design Towards Efficient CNN-Powered Intelligent PhlatCam
There has been a booming demand for integrating Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) powered functionalities into Internet-of-Thing (IoT) devices to enable ubiquitous intelligent "IoT cameras". However, more extensive applications of such IoT systems are still limited by two challenges. First, some applications, especially medicine- and wearable-related ones, impose stringent requirements on the camera form factor. Second, powerful CNNs often require considerable storage and energy cost, whereas IoT devices often suffer from limited resources. PhlatCam, with its form factor potentially reduced by orders of magnitude, has emerged as a promising solution to the first aforementioned challenge, while the second one remains a bottleneck. Existing compression techniques, which can potentially tackle the second challenge, are far from realizing the full potential in storage and energy reduction, because they mostly focus on the CNN algorithm itself. To this end, this work proposes SACoD, a Sensor Algorithm Co-Design framework to develop more efficient CNN-powered PhlatCam. In particular, the mask coded in the PhlatCam sensor and the backend CNN model are jointly optimized in terms of both model parameters and architectures via differential neural architecture search. Extensive experiments including both simulation and physical measurement on manufactured masks show that the proposed SACoD framework achieves aggressive model compression and energy savings while maintaining or even boosting the task accuracy, when benchmarking over two state-of-the-art (SOTA) designs with six datasets across four different vision tasks including classification, segmentation, image translation, and face recognition. Our codes are available at: https://github.com/RICE-EIC/SACoD.