Comprehensive processor audio benchmarking called AudioMark from EEMBC

Date: 02/05/2023
EEMBC released audio processing benchmark called AudioMark. It is the first end to end performance benchmarking for audio processing.

EEMBC claims the AudioMark is more accurate, portable and relevant compared to existing benchmarks such as speech recognition. It incorporates state-of-the-art beamforming and direction-of-arrival algorithms written by world's top Digital signal processing experts.

EEMBC developed this audio benchmarking in close collaboration with embedded processing leaders Arm, Renesas, Infineon, Synopsys, onsemi, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Intel.

"As digital signal processing and machine learning capabilities in modern microcontrollers advance, system designers need a benchmark that can help evaluate the AI and DSP performance of these devices," said Reinhard Keil, senior director of embedded technology, Arm. "EEMBC AudioMark is the result of close ecosystem collaboration, and addresses these requirements to provide system designers with realistic application scenarios, such as voice command control and smart speakers, as they develop innovative new products and solutions."

The key features of this benchmark includes:

1. Takes both MCU and DSP processing into account considering increased reliance on DSP accelerators when designing for audio applications.
2. Uses a smaller 8-bit neural net, designed by Arm, which is ideal for memory- and power-constrained IoT edge applications. Reference code is provided right out of the box, but the key to AudioMark's flexibility is the distinct porting layer that makes it easy to adapt the benchmark to a wide variety of platform hardware.

3. Measures end-to-end performance on a variety of audio processing tasks, rather than focusing on a single function.

4. Reports number of function calls per second relative to the processor clock speed.

5. By providing what is called as critical metric of "AudioMarks per Megahertz" score means that every embedded processor undergoing the AudioMark benchmark can be evaluated on both audio processing speed and processing efficiency, particularly for low-power, battery-operated devices.

"Audio processing performance depends on more than just the individual steps in the pipeline," says EEMBC President Peter Torelli. "It was clearly necessary to develop an end-to-end benchmark for this critical task." It is designed with several flexible parameters, to encompass variations such as single versus multiple Keyword Spotting (KWS), single versus multiple audio streams, and fixed- or floating-point computations.

As with all EEMBC benchmarks, involvement from members was key to making AudioMark relevant and useful. "EEMBC members are the world leaders in embedded processing," says Torelli, "and their expertise and input has made AudioMark what it is: the new gold standard in benchmarking for audio processing."