High-performance face detection with CPU-FPGA acceleration

Abinash Mohanty, Naveen Suda, Minkyu Kim, Sarma Vrudhula, Jae-sun Seo, Yu Cao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Scopus citations


Face detection is a critical function in many embedded applications, such as computer vision and security. Although face detection has been well studied, detecting a large number of faces with different scales and excessive variations (pose, expression, or illumination) usually involves computationally expensive classification algorithms. These algorithms may divide an image into sub-windows at different scales, evaluate a large set of features for each sub-window, and determine the presence and location of a face. Even with state-of-the-art CPUs, it is still challenging to perform real-time face detection with sufficiently high energy efficiency and accuracy. In this paper, we propose a suite of acceleration techniques to enable such a capability on the CPU-FPGA platform, based on a state-of-the-art face detection algorithm that employs a large number of simple classifiers. We first map the algorithm using the integrated OpenCL environment for FPGA. Matching the structure of the algorithm, a nested architecture is proposed to speed up both memory access and the computing iterations. This multi-layer architecture distributes parallel computing cores with the memory. The physical aspects of the nested architecture, such as the core size and the number of cores, are further optimized to achieve real-time face detection, under realistic hardware constraints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationISCAS 2016 - IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781479953400
StatePublished - Jul 29 2016
Event2016 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems, ISCAS 2016 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: May 22 2016May 25 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems
ISSN (Print)0271-4310


Other2016 IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems, ISCAS 2016


  • FPGA
  • Face detection
  • OpenCL
  • hardware acceleration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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