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Luis Ceze, University of Washington,

Imperfection is Beautiful and Efficient: Approximate Computing from Language to Hardware, and Beyond


A significant proportion of computer system resources are devoted to applications that can inherently tolerate inaccuracies in their data, execution and communication. Hence, “approximate computing” is promising for performance and energy efficiency. However, taking advantage of approximate computing needs: language support to specify where and how to apply approximation; analysis and mechanisms that ensure good output quality; and hardware/system support that take advantage of approximation.

In this talk I will describe our effort on co-designing language, hardware and system support to take advantage of approximate computing across the system stack (compute, storage and communication) in a safe and efficient way. I will end with some thoughts on how effective approximate computing techniques can not only improve computer systems in the short and medium term but can also enable the use of new substrates and applications.


Luis Ceze is the Torode Family Associate Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Washington. His research focuses on computer architecture, programming languages and OS to improve the programmability, reliability and energy efficiency of computer systems. He is a recipient of an NSF CAREER Award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship and the 2013 IEEE TCCA Young Computer Architect Award. He was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where it drizzles all the time; he now (mostly) lives in the similarly drizzly Seattle. When he is not working he is found either eating or cooking.