FA3C: FPGA-Accelerated Deep Reinforcement Learning

Hyungmin Cho, Pyeongseok Oh, Jiyoung Park, Wookeun Jung,  Jaejin Lee

ASPLOS 2019


Deep Reinforcement Learning (Deep RL) is applied to many areas where an agent learns how to interact with the environment to achieve a certain goal, such as video game plays and robot controls. Deep RL exploits a DNN to eliminate the need for handcrafted feature engineering that requires prior domain knowledge. The Asynchronous Advantage Actor-Critic (A3C) is one of the state-of-the-art Deep RL methods. In this paper, we present an FPGA-based A3C Deep RL platform, called FA3C. Traditionally, FPGA-based DNN accelerators have mainly focused on inference only by exploiting fixed-point arithmetic. Our platform targets both inference and training using single-precision floating-point arithmetic. We demonstrate the performance and energy efficiency of FA3C using multiple A3C agents that learn the control policies of six Atari 2600 games. Its performance is better than a high-end GPU-based platform (NVIDIA Tesla P100). FA3C achieves 27.9% better performance than that of a state-of-the-art GPU-based implementation. Moreover, the energy efficiency of FA3C is 1.62x better than that of the GPU-based implementation.


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