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, rely on the Python TensorFlow backend?

Earlier than we go into particulars and explanations, right here is an all-clear, for the involved person who fears their keras code would possibly grow to be out of date (it received’t).

Don’t panic

  • In case you are utilizing keras in customary methods, equivalent to these depicted in most code examples and tutorials seen on the internet, and issues have been working fantastic for you in latest keras releases (>=, don’t fear. Most every part ought to work with out main modifications.
  • In case you are utilizing an older launch of keras (<, syntactically issues ought to work fantastic as nicely, however it would be best to examine for modifications in habits/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 easy – what precisely is occurring?
  • Characterize the modifications led to by TF 2, from the standpoint of the R person.
  • And, maybe most apparently: Check out what’s going on, within the r-tensorflow ecosystem, round new performance associated to the arrival of TF 2.

Some background

So if all nonetheless works fantastic (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 in no way.

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

Issues had been totally different in Python land. There was authentic Python Keras, however TensorFlow had its personal layers API, and there have been quite a few 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 got an enormous change: With TF 2, Keras (as integrated within the TensorFlow codebase) is now the official high-level API for TensorFlow. To carry this throughout has been a significant level of Google’s TF 2 data marketing campaign for the reason that early levels.

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

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

In keras launch, anticipating discontinuation of authentic Keras and eager to prepare for TF 2, we switched to utilizing tf.keras because the default. Whereas to start with, the tf.keras fork and authentic Keras developed roughly in sync, the newest developments for TF 2 introduced with them greater modifications 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 examine for modifications in habits and/or efficiency.

That’s it for some background. In sum, we’re pleased most present code will run simply fantastic. However for us R customers, one thing should be altering as nicely, proper?

TF 2 in a nutshell, from an R perspective

In reality, essentially 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 confer with, and the way they’re related to R customers.

Keen Execution

In TF 1, it was all concerning 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 working it (on precise information) had been totally different steps.

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

Whereas this can be a more-than-substantial change that will need to have required numerous assets to implement, for those who use keras you received’t discover. Simply as beforehand, the standard keras workflow of create mannequin -> compile mannequin -> prepare mannequin by no means made you consider there being two distinct phases (outline and run), now once more you don’t need to do something. Regardless that the general execution mode is raring, Keras fashions are educated in graph mode, to maximise efficiency. We are going to speak about how that is performed partly 3 when introducing the tfautograph bundle.

If keras runs in graph mode, how are you going to 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 underneath the hood:

[1]   1   2   6  24 120

With TF 2’s execution mode defaulting to keen, we now mechanically 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 all the time accompanied by custom models, so let’s flip there subsequent.

Customized fashions

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

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

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

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 provides its verdict on the actual photographs 
  disc_real_output <- discriminator(batch, coaching = TRUE)
  # in addition to the faux ones
  disc_generated_output <- discriminator(generated_images, coaching = TRUE)
  # relying on the discriminator's verdict we simply acquired,
  # 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 exterior 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(list(gradients_of_generator, generator$variables)))
  purrr::transpose(list(gradients_of_discriminator, discriminator$variables)))

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

As an apart, final 12 months’s put up sequence might have created the impression that with keen execution, you have to make use of customized (GradientTape) coaching as a substitute of Keras-style match. In reality, that was the case on the time these posts had been written. At the moment, Keras-style code works simply fantastic with keen execution.

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

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 latest previous, tfdatasets pipelines have grow to be the popular means for information loading and preprocessing.
  • function columns and function specs: Specify your options recipes-style and have keras generate the sufficient layers for them.
  • Keras preprocessing layers: Keras preprocessing pipelines integrating performance equivalent to information augmentation (at the moment in planning).
  • tfhub: Use pretrained fashions as keras layers, and/or as function columns in a keras mannequin.
  • tf_function and tfautograph: Pace up coaching by working elements of your code in graph mode.

tfdatasets enter pipelines

For two years now, the tfdatasets bundle has been out there to load information for coaching Keras fashions in a streaming means.

Logically, there are three steps concerned:

  1. First, information needs to be loaded from some place. This could possibly be a csv file, a listing containing photographs, or different sources. On this latest instance from Image segmentation with U-Net, 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 = list.files(right here::here("data-raw/prepare"), full.names = TRUE),
  masks = list.files(right here::here("data-raw/train_masks"), full.names = TRUE)

information <- initial_split(information, prop = 0.8)

dataset <- coaching(information) %>%  
  1. As soon as we’ve got 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 features from the tf.image module to (1) load photographs in line with their file kind, (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$img, measurement = form(128, 128)),
    masks = tf$picture$resize(.x$masks, measurement = form(128, 128))

Word how as soon as you understand what these features do, they free you of lots of pondering (keep 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 usually wish to shuffle, and also you actually will wish to batch the information:
 if (prepare) {
    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 strategy to do function engineering.

Function columns and have specs

Feature columns
as such are a Python-TensorFlow function, whereas feature specs are an R-only idiom modeled after the favored recipes bundle.

All of it begins off with making a function spec object, utilizing system 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 wish to make use of the uncooked predictors. That is the place function columns come into play. Totally different column sorts exist, of which you’ll see just a few 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 informed TensorFlow, please take all numeric columns (moreover just a few ones listed exprès) and scale them; take column thal, deal with it as categorical and create an embedding for it; discretize age in line with 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 need to outline all these layers, proper? (Which might be fairly cumbersome, having to determine all the proper dimensions…)
Fortunately, we don’t need to. In sync with tfdatasets, keras now gives layer_dense_features to create a layer tailored to accommodate the specification.

And we don’t must create separate enter layers both, on account 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(items = 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 post on feature 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 matters 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 might have been questioning: What about information augmentation performance out there, traditionally, by keras? Like image_data_generator?

This performance doesn’t appear to suit. However a nice-looking resolution is in preparation. Within the Keras neighborhood, the latest RFC on preprocessing layers for Keras addresses this matter. The RFC remains to be underneath dialogue, however as quickly because it will get carried out 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 equivalent 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 undoubtedly trying ahead to having out there this form of workflow!

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

Tensorflow Hub and the tfhub bundle

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

As of this writing, the unique Python library remains to be underneath improvement, so full stability isn’t assured. That however, the tfhub R bundle 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, specifically, integrating a module as a keras layer and utilizing it as a function column. The tfhub README exhibits 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(items = 10, activation = "softmax")

mannequin <- keras_model(enter, output)

Whereas the tfhub feature 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, -Title
  ) %>%
  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 right this moment, not each mannequin printed will work with TF 2.

tf_function, TF autograph and the R bundle tfautograph

As defined above, the default execution mode in TF 2 is raring. For efficiency causes nevertheless, in lots of instances will probably 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 perform right into a graph, wrap it in a name to tf_function, as performed e.g. within the put up Modeling censored data with tfprobability:

run_mcmc <- perform(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 mechanically interprets Python management circulation statements into applicable graph operations.

Independently of tf.autograph, the R bundle tfautograph, developed by Tomasz Kalinowski, implements management circulation conversion immediately 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 bundle’s intensive documentation for instructive examples!


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

When you have been utilizing keras in conventional methods, how a lot modifications for you is principally as much as you: Most every part will nonetheless work, however new choices exist to jot down extra performant, extra modular, extra elegant code. Particularly, take a look at tfdatasets pipelines for environment friendly information loading.

In the event you’re a complicated person 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 bundle will help.

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

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