Fully Embedding Fast Convolutional Networks on Pixel Processor Arrays

Laurie Bose, Jianing Chen, Stephen J. Carey, Piotr Dudek, Walterio W. Mayol-Cuevas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


We present a novel method of CNN inference for pixel processor array (PPA) vision sensors, designed to take advantage of their massive parallelism and analog compute capabilities. PPA sensors consist of an array of processing elements (PEs), with each PE capable of light capture, data storage and computation, allowing various computer vision processes to be executed directly upon the sensor device. The key idea behind our approach is storing network weights “in-pixel” within the PEs of the PPA sensor itself to allow various computations, such as multiple different image convolutions, to be carried out in parallel. Our approach can perform convolutional layers, max pooling, ReLu, and a final fully connected layer entirely upon the PPA sensor, while leaving no untapped computational resources. This is in contrast to previous works that only use a sensor-level processing to sequentially compute image convolutions, and must transfer data to an external digital processor to complete the computation. We demonstrate our approach on the SCAMP-5 vision system, performing inference in a MNIST digit classification network at over 3000 frames per second and over 93% classification accuracy. This is the first work demonstrating CNN inference conducted entirely upon a PPA vision sensor, requiring no external processing.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputer Vision – ECCV 2020 - 16th European Conference, Proceedings
EditorsAndrea Vedaldi, Horst Bischof, Thomas Brox, Jan-Michael Frahm
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9783030585259
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020
Event16th European Conference on Computer Vision, ECCV 2020 - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Aug 202028 Aug 2020

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume12374 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference16th European Conference on Computer Vision, ECCV 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • CNN
  • Edge computing
  • Low-level vision
  • PPA
  • Vision sensor


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