Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Digital video is becoming extremely important nowadays and its importance has greatly increased in the last two decades. Due to the rapid development of information and communication technologies, the demand for Ultra-High Definition (UHD) video applications is becoming stronger. However, the most prevalent video compression standard H.264/AVC released in 2003 is inefficient when it comes to UHD videos. The increasing desire for superior compression efficiency to H.264/AVC leads to the standardization of High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC). Compared with the H.264/AVC standard, HEVC offers a double compression ratio at the same level of video quality or substantial improvement of video quality at the same video bitrate. Yet, HE-VC/H.265 possesses superior compression efficiency, its complexity is several times more than H.264/AVC, impeding its high throughput implementation. Currently, most of the researchers have focused merely on algorithm level adaptations of HEVC/H.265 standard to reduce computational intensity without considering the hardware feasibility. What’s more, the exploration of efficient hardware architecture design is not exhaustive. Only a few research works have been conducted to explore efficient hardware architectures of HEVC/H.265 standard. In this dissertation, we investigate efficient algorithm adaptations and hardware architecture design of HEVC intra encoders. We also explore the deep learning approach in mode prediction. From the algorithm point of view, we propose three efficient hardware-oriented algorithm adaptations, including mode reduction, fast coding unit (CU) cost estimation, and group-based CABAC (context-adaptive binary arithmetic coding) rate estimation. Mode reduction aims to reduce mode candidates of each prediction unit (PU) in the rate-distortion optimization (RDO) process, which is both computation-intensive and time-consuming. Fast CU cost estimation is applied to reduce the complexity in rate-distortion (RD) calculation of each CU. Group-based CABAC rate estimation is proposed to parallelize syntax elements processing to greatly improve rate estimation throughput. From the hardware design perspective, a fully parallel hardware architecture of HEVC intra encoder is developed to sustain UHD video compression at 4K@30fps. The fully parallel architecture introduces four prediction engines (PE) and each PE performs the full cycle of mode prediction, transform, quantization, inverse quantization, inverse transform, reconstruction, rate-distortion estimation independently. PU blocks with different PU sizes will be processed by the different prediction engines (PE) simultaneously. Also, an efficient hardware implementation of a group-based CABAC rate estimator is incorporated into the proposed HEVC intra encoder for accurate and high-throughput rate estimation. To take advantage of the deep learning approach, we also propose a fully connected layer based neural network (FCLNN) mode preselection scheme to reduce the number of RDO modes of luma prediction blocks. All angular prediction modes are classified into 7 prediction groups. Each group contains 3-5 prediction modes that exhibit a similar prediction angle. A rough angle detection algorithm is designed to determine the prediction direction of the current block, then a small scale FCLNN is exploited to refine the mode prediction.
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