Skip to content

Backends & GPU Support

opt_einsum is quite agnostic to the type of n-dimensional arrays (tensors) it uses, since finding the contraction path only relies on getting the shape attribute of each array supplied. It can perform the underlying tensor contractions with various libraries. In fact, any library that provides a numpy.tensordot and numpy.transpose implementation can perform most normal contractions. While more special functionality such as axes reduction is reliant on a numpy.einsum implementation. The following is a brief overview of libraries which have been tested with opt_einsum:

  • tensorflow: compiled tensor expressions that can run on GPU.
  • theano: compiled tensor expressions that can run on GPU.
  • cupy: numpy-like api for GPU tensors.
  • dask: larger-than-memory tensor computations, distributed scheduling, and potential reuse of intermediaries.
  • sparse: sparse tensors.
  • pytorch: numpy-like api for GPU tensors.
  • autograd: automatic derivative computation for tensor expressions
  • jax: compiled GPU tensor expressions including autograd-like functionality

opt_einsum is agnostic to the type of n-dimensional arrays (tensors) it uses, since finding the contraction path only relies on getting the shape attribute of each array supplied. It can perform the underlying tensor contractions with various libraries. In fact, any library that provides a numpy.tensordot and ~numpy.transpose implementation can perform most normal contractions. While more special functionality such as axes reduction is reliant on a numpy.einsum implementation.

Note

For a contraction to be possible without using a backend einsum, it must satisfy the following rule: in the full expression (including output indices) each index must appear twice. In other words, each dimension must be contracted with one other dimension, or left alone.

Backend agnostic contractions

The automatic backend detection will be detected based on the first supplied array (default), this can be overridden by specifying the correct backend argument for the type of arrays supplied when calling opt_einsum.contract. For example, if you had a library installed called 'foo' which provided an numpy.ndarray like object with a .shape attribute as well as foo.tensordot and foo.transpose then you could contract them with something like:

contract(einsum_str, *foo_arrays, backend='foo')

Behind the scenes opt_einsum will find the contraction path, perform pairwise contractions using e.g. foo.tensordot and finally return the canonical type those functions return.

Dask

dask is an example of a library which satisfies these requirements. For example:

import opt_einsum as oe
import dask.array as da
shapes = (3, 200), (200, 300), (300, 4)
dxs = [da.random.normal(0, 1, shp, chunks=(100, 100)) for shp in shapes]
dxs
#> [dask.array<da.random.normal, shape=(3, 200), dtype=float64, chunksize=(3, 100)>,
#>  dask.array<da.random.normal, shape=(200, 300), dtype=float64, chunksize=(100, 100)>,
#>  dask.array<da.random.normal, shape=(300, 4), dtype=float64, chunksize=(100, 4)>]


dy = oe.contract("ab,bc,cd", *dxs)  # will infer backend='dask'
dy
#> dask.array<transpose, shape=(3, 4), dtype=float64, chunksize=(3, 4)>

dy.compute()
#> array([[ 470.71404665,    2.44931372,  -28.47577265,  424.37716615],
#>        [  64.38328345, -287.40753131,  144.46515642,  324.88169821],
#>        [-142.07153553, -180.41739259,  125.0973783 , -239.16754541]])

In this case, dask arrays in = dask array out, since dask arrays have a shape attribute, and opt_einsum can find dask.array.tensordot and dask.array.transpose.

Sparse

The sparse library also fits the requirements and is supported. An example:

import sparse as sp
shapes = (3, 200), (200, 300), (300, 4)
sxs = [sp.random(shp) for shp in shapes]
sxs
#> [<COO: shape=(3, 200), dtype=float64, nnz=6, sorted=False, duplicates=True>,
#>  <COO: shape=(200, 300), dtype=float64, nnz=600, sorted=False, duplicates=True>,
#>  <COO: shape=(300, 4), dtype=float64, nnz=12, sorted=False, duplicates=True>]

oe.contract("ab,bc,cd", *sxs)
#> <COO: shape=(3, 4), dtype=float64, nnz=0, sorted=False, duplicates=False>

Autograd

The autograd library is a drop-in for numpy that can automatically compute the gradients of array expressions. opt_einsum automatically dispatches the autograd arrays correctly, enabling a simple way to compute gradients of tensor contractions:

import numpy as np
import autograd
shapes = [(2, 3), (3, 4), (4, 2)]
x, y, z = [np.random.rand(*s) for s in shapes]

# make single arg function as autograd takes derivative of first arg
def foo(xyz):
   return oe.contract('ij,jk,ki->', *xyz)

foo([x, y, z])
#> array(4.90422159)

# wrap foo with autograd to compute gradients instead
dfoo = autograd.grad(foo)
dx, dy, dz = dfoo(arrays)
dx, dy, dz
#> (array([[1.10056194, 1.25078356, 1.48211494],
#>         [1.38945961, 1.5572077 , 1.65234003]]),
#>  array([[0.41710717, 0.63202881, 0.84573502, 0.95069975],
#>         [0.42706777, 0.73630994, 0.99328938, 0.77415267],
#>         [0.40773334, 0.61693475, 0.82545726, 0.93132302]]),
#>  array([[0.78747828, 1.28979012],
#>         [1.26051133, 1.48835538],
#>         [0.46896666, 0.55003072],
#>         [1.10840828, 1.16722494]]))

Jax

jax is itself a drop-in for autograd, that additionally uses XLA to compile the expressions, particularly for the GPU. Using it with opt_einsum is very simple:

import jax
# generate a compiled version of the above function
jit_foo = jax.jit(foo)
jit_foo([x, y, z])
#> DeviceArray(4.9042215, dtype=float32)

# generate a compiled version of the gradient function
jit_dfoo = jax.jit(jax.grad(foo))
jit_dfoo([x, y, z])
#> [DeviceArray([[1.10056198, 1.25078356, 1.48211491],
#>               [1.38945973, 1.5572077, 1.65234005]], dtype=float32),
#>  DeviceArray([[0.41710716, 0.63202882, 0.84573501, 0.95069975],
#>               [0.42706776, 0.73630995, 0.99328935, 0.7741527 ],
#>               [0.40773335, 0.61693472, 0.82545722, 0.93132305]],
#>              dtype=float32),
#>  DeviceArray([[0.78747827, 1.28979015],
#>               [1.2605114 , 1.4883554 ],
#>               [0.46896666, 0.55003077],
#>               [1.10840821, 1.16722488]], dtype=float32)]

Note

jax defaults to converting all arrays to single precision. This behaviour can be changed by running from jax.config import config; config.update("jax_enable_x64", True) before it has been imported and used at all.

Special (GPU) backends for numpy arrays

A particular case is if numpy arrays are required for the input and output, however, a more performant backend is required such as performing the contraction on a GPU. Unless the specified backend works on numpy arrays, this requires converting to and from the backend array type. Currently opt_einsum can handle this automatically for:

all of which offer GPU support. Since tensorflow and theano both require compiling the expression, this functionality is encapsulated in generating a opt_einsum.ContractExpression using opt_einsum.contract_expression, which can then be called using numpy arrays whilst specifying backend='tensorflow' etc. Additionally, if arrays are marked as constant (see constants-section), then these arrays will be kept on the device for optimal performance.

Theano

If theano is installed, using it as backend is as simple as specifying backend='theano':

shapes = (3, 200), (200, 300), (300, 4)
expr = oe.contract_expression("ab,bc,cd", *shapes)
expr
#> <ContractExpression('ab,bc,cd')>

import numpy as np
# GPU advantage mainly for low precision numbers
xs = [np.random.randn(*shp).astype(np.float32) for shp in shapes]
expr(*xs, backend='theano')  # might see some fluff on first run
#> array([[ 129.28352  , -128.00702  , -164.62917  , -335.11682  ],
#>        [-462.52344  , -121.12657  ,  -67.847626 ,  624.5457   ],
#>        [   5.2838974,   36.441578 ,   81.62851  ,  703.1576   ]],
#>       dtype=float32)

Note that you can still supply theano.tensor.TensorType directly to opt_einsum (with backend='theano'), and it will return the relevant theano type.

Tensorflow

To run the expression with tensorflow, you need to register a default session:

import tensorflow as tf
sess = tf.Session()

with sess.as_default():
    out = expr(*xs, backend='tensorflow')

out
#> array([[ 129.28357  , -128.00684  , -164.62903  , -335.1167   ],
#>        [-462.52362  , -121.12659  ,  -67.84769  ,  624.5455   ],
#>        [   5.2839584,   36.44155  ,   81.62852  ,  703.15784  ]],
#>       dtype=float32)

Note that you can still supply this expression with, for example, a tensorflow.placeholder using backend='tensorflow', and then no conversion would take place, instead you'd get a tensorflow.Tensor back.

Version 1.9 of tensorflow also added support for eager execution of computations. If compilation of the contraction expression tensorflow graph is taking a substantial amount of time up then it can be advantageous to use this, especially since tensor contractions are quite compute-bound. This is achieved by running the following snippet:

import tensorflow as tf
tf.enable_eager_execution()

After which opt_einsum will automatically detect eager mode if backend='tensorflow' is supplied to a opt_einsum.ContractExpression.

Pytorch & Cupy

Both pytorch and cupy offer numpy-like, GPU-enabled arrays which execute eagerly rather than requiring any compilation. If they are installed, no steps are required to utilize them other than specifying the backend keyword:

expr(*xs, backend='torch')
#> array([[ 129.28357  , -128.00684  , -164.62903  , -335.1167   ],
#>        [-462.52362  , -121.12659  ,  -67.84769  ,  624.5455   ],
#>        [   5.2839584,   36.44155  ,   81.62852  ,  703.15784  ]],
#>       dtype=float32)

expr(*xs, backend='cupy')
#> array([[ 129.28357  , -128.00684  , -164.62903  , -335.1167   ],
#>        [-462.52362  , -121.12659  ,  -67.84769  ,  624.5455   ],
#>        [   5.2839584,   36.44155  ,   81.62852  ,  703.15784  ]],
#>       dtype=float32)

And as with the other GPU backends, if raw cupy or pytorch arrays are supplied the returned array will be of the same type, with no conversion to or from numpy arrays.

Jax

jax, as introduced above, can compile tensor functions, in doing so often achieving better performance. opt_einsum expressions can handle this behind the scenes, so again just the backend keyword needs to be supplied:

expr(*xs, backend='jax')
#> array([[ 129.28357  , -128.00684  , -164.62903  , -335.1167   ],
#>        [-462.52362  , -121.12659  ,  -67.84769  ,  624.5455   ],
#>        [   5.2839584,   36.44155  ,   81.62852  ,  703.15784  ]],
#>       dtype=float32)

Contracting arbitrary objects

There is one more explicit backend that can handle arbitrary arrays of objects, so long the objects themselves just support multiplication and addition ( __mul__ and __add__ dunder methods respectively). Use it by supplying backend='object'.

For example, imagine we want to perform a contraction of arrays made up of sympy symbols:

import opt_einsum as oe
import numpy as np
import sympy

# define the symbols
a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l = [sympy.symbols(oe.get_symbol(i)) for i in range(12)]
a * b + c * d
𝑑

# define the tensors (you might explicitly specify `dtype=object`)
X = np.array([[a, b], [c, d]])
Y = np.array([[e, f], [g, h]])
Z = np.array([[i, j], [k, l]])

# contract the tensors!
oe.contract('uv,vw,wu->u', X, Y, Z, backend='object')
# array([i*(a*e + b*g) + k*(a*f + b*h), j*(c*e + d*g) + l*(c*f + d*h)],
#       dtype=object)

There are a few things to note here:

  • The returned array is a numpy.ndarray but since it has dtype=object it can really hold any python objects
  • We had to explicitly use backend='object', since numpy.einsum would have otherwise been dispatched to, which can't handle dtype=object (though numpy.tensordot in fact can)
  • Although an optimized pairwise contraction order is used, the looping in each single contraction is performed in python so performance will be drastically lower than for numeric dtypes!