Thursday, September 28, 2023

Posit AI Weblog: TensorFlow 2.0 is right here

The wait is over – TensorFlow 2.0 (TF 2) is now formally right here! What does this imply for us, customers of R packages keras and/or tensorflow, which, as we all know, depend on the Python TensorFlow backend?

Earlier than we go into particulars and explanations, right here is an all-clear, for the involved consumer who fears their keras code may turn into out of date (it gained’t).

Don’t panic

  • In case you are utilizing keras in customary methods, similar to these depicted in most code examples and tutorials seen on the internet, and issues have been working positive for you in current keras releases (>=, don’t fear. Most all the pieces ought to work with out main adjustments.
  • In case you are utilizing an older launch of keras (<, syntactically issues ought to work positive as properly, however it would be best to verify for adjustments in conduct/efficiency.

And now for some information and background. This put up goals to do three issues:

  • Clarify the above all-clear assertion. Is it actually that straightforward – what precisely is happening?
  • Characterize the adjustments caused by TF 2, from the standpoint of the R consumer.
  • And, maybe most curiously: Check out what’s going on, within the r-tensorflow ecosystem, round new performance associated to the appearance of TF 2.

Some background

So if all nonetheless works positive (assuming customary utilization), why a lot ado about TF 2 in Python land?

The distinction is that on the R facet, for the overwhelming majority of customers, the framework you used to do deep studying was keras. tensorflow was wanted simply sometimes, or under no circumstances.

Between keras and tensorflow, there was a transparent separation of obligations: keras was the frontend, relying on TensorFlow as a low-level backend, identical to the unique Python Keras it was wrapping did. . In some instances, this result in individuals utilizing the phrases keras and tensorflow nearly synonymously: Perhaps they stated tensorflow, however the code they wrote was keras.

Issues had been totally different in Python land. There was unique Python Keras, however TensorFlow had its personal layers API, and there have been numerous third-party high-level APIs constructed on TensorFlow.
Keras, in distinction, was a separate library that simply occurred to depend on TensorFlow.

So in Python land, now we’ve an enormous change: With TF 2, Keras (as included within the TensorFlow codebase) is now the official high-level API for TensorFlow. To deliver this throughout has been a serious level of Google’s TF 2 data marketing campaign because the early levels.

As R customers, who’ve been specializing in keras on a regular basis, we’re primarily much less affected. Like we stated above, syntactically most all the pieces stays the best way it was. So why differentiate between totally different keras variations?

When keras was written, there was unique Python Keras, and that was the library we had been binding to. Nonetheless, Google began to include unique Keras code into their TensorFlow codebase as a fork, to proceed growth independently. For some time there have been two “Kerases”: Unique Keras and tf.keras. Our R keras supplied to change between implementations , the default being unique Keras.

In keras launch, anticipating discontinuation of unique Keras and desirous to prepare for TF 2, we switched to utilizing tf.keras because the default. Whereas at first, the tf.keras fork and unique Keras developed kind of in sync, the newest developments for TF 2 introduced with them larger adjustments within the tf.keras codebase, particularly as regards optimizers.
Because of this, if you’re utilizing a keras model <, upgrading to TF 2 it would be best to verify for adjustments in conduct and/or efficiency.

That’s it for some background. In sum, we’re blissful most present code will run simply positive. However for us R customers, one thing have to be altering as properly, proper?

TF 2 in a nutshell, from an R perspective

Actually, probably the most evident-on-user-level change is one thing we wrote a number of posts about, greater than a 12 months in the past . By then, keen execution was a brand-new choice that needed to be turned on explicitly; TF 2 now makes it the default. Together with it got here customized fashions (a.ok.a. subclassed fashions, in Python land) and customized coaching, making use of tf$GradientTape. Let’s speak about what these termini discuss with, and the way they’re related to R customers.

Keen Execution

In TF 1, it was all in regards to the graph you constructed when defining your mannequin. The graph, that was – and is – an Summary Syntax Tree (AST), with operations as nodes and tensors “flowing” alongside the perimeters. Defining a graph and operating it (on precise information) had been totally different steps.

In distinction, with keen execution, operations are run straight when outlined.

Whereas this can be a more-than-substantial change that should have required numerous sources to implement, in the event you use keras you gained’t discover. Simply as beforehand, the everyday keras workflow of create mannequin -> compile mannequin -> practice mannequin by no means made you concentrate on there being two distinct phases (outline and run), now once more you don’t must do something. Regardless that the general execution mode is keen, Keras fashions are skilled in graph mode, to maximise efficiency. We are going to speak about how that is carried out partially 3 when introducing the tfautograph package deal.

If keras runs in graph mode, how will you even see that keen execution is “on”? Effectively, in TF 1, once you ran a TensorFlow operation on a tensor , like so

that is what you noticed:

Tensor("Cumprod:0", form=(5,), dtype=int32)

To extract the precise values, you needed to create a TensorFlow Session and run the tensor, or alternatively, use keras::k_eval that did this below the hood:

[1]   1   2   6  24 120

With TF 2’s execution mode defaulting to keen, we now routinely see the values contained within the tensor:

tf.Tensor([  1   2   6  24 120], form=(5,), dtype=int32)

In order that’s keen execution. In our final 12 months’s Keen-category weblog posts, it was at all times accompanied by customized fashions, so let’s flip there subsequent.

Customized fashions

As a keras consumer, in all probability you’re acquainted with the sequential and purposeful kinds of constructing a mannequin. Customized fashions permit for even higher flexibility than functional-style ones. Take a look at the documentation for methods to create one.

Final 12 months’s collection on keen execution has loads of examples utilizing customized fashions, that includes not simply their flexibility, however one other vital facet as properly: the best way they permit for modular, easily-intelligible code.

Encoder-decoder situations are a pure match. When you’ve got seen, or written, “old-style” code for a Generative Adversarial Community (GAN), think about one thing like this as an alternative:

with(tf$GradientTape() %as% gen_tape, { with(tf$GradientTape() %as% disc_tape, {
  # first, it is the generator's name (yep pun meant)
  generated_images <- generator(noise)
  # now the discriminator offers its verdict on the true pictures 
  disc_real_output <- discriminator(batch, coaching = TRUE)
  # in addition to the pretend ones
  disc_generated_output <- discriminator(generated_images, coaching = TRUE)
  # relying on the discriminator's verdict we simply bought,
  # what is the generator's loss?
  gen_loss <- generator_loss(disc_generated_output)
  # and what is the loss for the discriminator?
  disc_loss <- discriminator_loss(disc_real_output, disc_generated_output)
}) })

# now outdoors the tape's context compute the respective gradients
gradients_of_generator <- gen_tape$gradient(gen_loss, generator$variables)
gradients_of_discriminator <- disc_tape$gradient(disc_loss, discriminator$variables)
# and apply them!
  purrr::transpose(listing(gradients_of_generator, generator$variables)))
  purrr::transpose(listing(gradients_of_discriminator, discriminator$variables)))

Once more, evaluate this with pre-TF 2 GAN coaching – it makes for a lot extra readable code.

As an apart, final 12 months’s put up collection might have created the impression that with keen execution, you have to make use of customized (GradientTape) coaching as an alternative of Keras-style match. Actually, that was the case on the time these posts had been written. Right this moment, Keras-style code works simply positive with keen execution.

So now with TF 2, we’re in an optimum place. We can use customized coaching once we need to, however we don’t must if declarative match is all we’d like.

That’s it for a flashlight on what TF 2 means to R customers. We now have a look round within the r-tensorflow ecosystem to see new developments – recent-past, current and future – in areas like information loading, preprocessing, and extra.

New developments within the r-tensorflow ecosystem

These are what we’ll cowl:

  • tfdatasets: Over the current previous, tfdatasets pipelines have turn into the popular means for information loading and preprocessing.
  • characteristic columns and characteristic specs: Specify your options recipes-style and have keras generate the enough layers for them.
  • Keras preprocessing layers: Keras preprocessing pipelines integrating performance similar to information augmentation (at the moment in planning).
  • tfhub: Use pretrained fashions as keras layers, and/or as characteristic columns in a keras mannequin.
  • tf_function and tfautograph: Velocity up coaching by operating elements of your code in graph mode.

tfdatasets enter pipelines

For two years now, the tfdatasets package deal has been obtainable to load information for coaching Keras fashions in a streaming means.

Logically, there are three steps concerned:

  1. First, information must be loaded from some place. This may very well be a csv file, a listing containing pictures, or different sources. On this current instance from Picture segmentation with U-Internet, details about file names was first saved into an R tibble, after which tensor_slices_dataset was used to create a dataset from it:
information <- tibble(
  img = listing.information(right here::right here("data-raw/practice"), full.names = TRUE),
  masks = listing.information(right here::right here("data-raw/train_masks"), full.names = TRUE)

information <- initial_split(information, prop = 0.8)

dataset <- coaching(information) %>%  
  1. As soon as we’ve a dataset, we carry out any required transformations, mapping over the batch dimension. Persevering with with the instance from the U-Internet put up, right here we use capabilities from the tf.picture module to (1) load pictures in response to their file sort, (2) scale them to values between 0 and 1 (changing to float32 on the identical time), and (3) resize them to the specified format:
dataset <- dataset %>%
  dataset_map(~.x %>% list_modify(
    img = tf$picture$decode_jpeg(tf$io$read_file(.x$img)),
    masks = tf$picture$decode_gif(tf$io$read_file(.x$masks))[1,,,][,,1,drop=FALSE]
  )) %>% 
  dataset_map(~.x %>% list_modify(
    img = tf$picture$convert_image_dtype(.x$img, dtype = tf$float32),
    masks = tf$picture$convert_image_dtype(.x$masks, dtype = tf$float32)
  )) %>% 
  dataset_map(~.x %>% list_modify(
    img = tf$picture$resize(.x$img, dimension = form(128, 128)),
    masks = tf$picture$resize(.x$masks, dimension = form(128, 128))

Word how as soon as you recognize what these capabilities do, they free you of a variety of pondering (bear in mind how within the “previous” Keras strategy to picture preprocessing, you had been doing issues like dividing pixel values by 255 “by hand”?)

  1. After transformation, a 3rd conceptual step pertains to merchandise association. You’ll typically need to shuffle, and also you actually will need to batch the info:
 if (practice) {
    dataset <- dataset %>% 
      dataset_shuffle(buffer_size = batch_size*128)

dataset <- dataset %>%  dataset_batch(batch_size)

Summing up, utilizing tfdatasets you construct a pipeline, from loading over transformations to batching, that may then be fed on to a Keras mannequin. From preprocessing, let’s go a step additional and have a look at a brand new, extraordinarily handy method to do characteristic engineering.

Function columns and have specs

Function columns
as such are a Python-TensorFlow characteristic, whereas characteristic specs are an R-only idiom modeled after the favored recipes package deal.

All of it begins off with making a characteristic spec object, utilizing method syntax to point what’s predictor and what’s goal:

hearts_dataset <- tensor_slices_dataset(hearts)
spec <- feature_spec(hearts_dataset, goal ~ .)

That specification is then refined by successive details about how we need to make use of the uncooked predictors. That is the place characteristic columns come into play. Totally different column sorts exist, of which you’ll be able to see a couple of within the following code snippet:

spec <- feature_spec(hearts, goal ~ .) %>% 
    all_numeric(), -cp, -restecg, -exang, -intercourse, -fbs,
    normalizer_fn = scaler_standard()
  ) %>% 
  step_categorical_column_with_vocabulary_list(thal) %>% 
  step_bucketized_column(age, boundaries = c(18, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65)) %>% 
  step_indicator_column(thal) %>% 
  step_embedding_column(thal, dimension = 2) %>% 
  step_crossed_column(c(thal, bucketized_age), hash_bucket_size = 10) %>%

spec %>% match()

What occurred right here is that we instructed TensorFlow, please take all numeric columns (in addition to a couple of ones listed exprès) and scale them; take column thal, deal with it as categorical and create an embedding for it; discretize age in response to the given ranges; and at last, create a crossed column to seize interplay between thal and that discretized age-range column.

That is good, however when creating the mannequin, we’ll nonetheless must outline all these layers, proper? (Which might be fairly cumbersome, having to determine all the appropriate dimensions…)
Fortunately, we don’t must. In sync with tfdatasets, keras now supplies layer_dense_features to create a layer tailored to accommodate the specification.

And we don’t have to create separate enter layers both, as a result of layer_input_from_dataset. Right here we see each in motion:

enter <- layer_input_from_dataset(hearts %>% choose(-goal))

output <- enter %>% 
  layer_dense_features(feature_columns = dense_features(spec)) %>% 
  layer_dense(models = 1, activation = "sigmoid")

From then on, it’s simply regular keras compile and match. See the vignette for the entire instance. There is also a put up on characteristic columns explaining extra of how this works, and illustrating the time-and-nerve-saving impact by evaluating with the pre-feature-spec means of working with heterogeneous datasets.

As a final merchandise on the subjects of preprocessing and have engineering, let’s have a look at a promising factor to return in what we hope is the close to future.

Keras preprocessing layers

Studying what we wrote above about utilizing tfdatasets for constructing a enter pipeline, and seeing how we gave a picture loading instance, you will have been questioning: What about information augmentation performance obtainable, traditionally, by means of keras? Like image_data_generator?

This performance doesn’t appear to suit. However a nice-looking answer is in preparation. Within the Keras neighborhood, the current RFC on preprocessing layers for Keras addresses this matter. The RFC remains to be below dialogue, however as quickly because it will get applied in Python we’ll comply with up on the R facet.

The thought is to offer (chainable) preprocessing layers for use for information transformation and/or augmentation in areas similar to picture classification, picture segmentation, object detection, textual content processing, and extra. The envisioned, within the RFC, pipeline of preprocessing layers ought to return a dataset, for compatibility with tf.information (our tfdatasets). We’re positively trying ahead to having obtainable this type of workflow!

Let’s transfer on to the following matter, the frequent denominator being comfort. However now comfort means not having to construct billion-parameter fashions your self!

Tensorflow Hub and the tfhub package deal

Tensorflow Hub is a library for publishing and utilizing pretrained fashions. Present fashions could be browsed on

As of this writing, the unique Python library remains to be below growth, so full stability shouldn’t be assured. That however, the tfhub R package deal already permits for some instructive experimentation.

The standard Keras thought of utilizing pretrained fashions sometimes concerned both (1) making use of a mannequin like MobileNet as a complete, together with its output layer, or (2) chaining a “customized head” to its penultimate layer . In distinction, the TF Hub thought is to make use of a pretrained mannequin as a module in a bigger setting.

There are two fundamental methods to perform this, particularly, integrating a module as a keras layer and utilizing it as a characteristic column. The tfhub README reveals the primary choice:


enter <- layer_input(form = c(32, 32, 3))

output <- enter %>%
  # we're utilizing a pre-trained MobileNet mannequin!
  layer_hub(deal with = "") %>%
  layer_dense(models = 10, activation = "softmax")

mannequin <- keras_model(enter, output)

Whereas the tfhub characteristic columns vignette illustrates the second:

spec <- dataset_train %>%
  feature_spec(AdoptionSpeed ~ .) %>%
    module_spec = ""
    ) %>%
    module_spec = ""
  ) %>%
  step_numeric_column(Age, Payment, Amount, normalizer_fn = scaler_standard()) %>%
    has_type("string"), -Description, -RescuerID, -img_path, -PetID, -Identify
  ) %>%
  step_embedding_column(Breed1:Well being, State)

Each utilization modes illustrate the excessive potential of working with Hub modules. Simply be cautioned that, as of in the present day, not each mannequin revealed will work with TF 2.

tf_function, TF autograph and the R package deal tfautograph

As defined above, the default execution mode in TF 2 is keen. For efficiency causes nevertheless, in lots of instances it will likely be fascinating to compile elements of your code right into a graph. Calls to Keras layers, for instance, are run in graph mode.

To compile a operate right into a graph, wrap it in a name to tf_function, as carried out e.g. within the put up Modeling censored information with tfprobability:

run_mcmc <- operate(kernel) {
  kernel %>% mcmc_sample_chain(
    num_results = n_steps,
    num_burnin_steps = n_burnin,
    current_state = tf$ones_like(initial_betas),
    trace_fn = trace_fn

# vital for efficiency: run HMC in graph mode
run_mcmc <- tf_function(run_mcmc)

On the Python facet, the tf.autograph module routinely interprets Python management circulate statements into acceptable graph operations.

Independently of tf.autograph, the R package deal tfautograph, developed by Tomasz Kalinowski, implements management circulate conversion straight from R to TensorFlow. This allows you to use R’s if, whereas, for, break, and subsequent when writing customized coaching flows. Take a look at the package deal’s in depth documentation for instructive examples!


With that, we finish our introduction of TF 2 and the brand new developments that encompass it.

When you’ve got been utilizing keras in conventional methods, how a lot adjustments for you is especially as much as you: Most all the pieces will nonetheless work, however new choices exist to put in writing extra performant, extra modular, extra elegant code. Specifically, try tfdatasets pipelines for environment friendly information loading.

When you’re a complicated consumer requiring non-standard setup, take a look into customized coaching and customized fashions, and seek the advice of the tfautograph documentation to see how the package deal might help.

In any case, keep tuned for upcoming posts displaying among the above-mentioned performance in motion. Thanks for studying!

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