[Numpy-discussion] PR added: frozen dimensions in gufunc signatures

Oscar Villellas oscar.villellas at continuum.io
Tue Jun 23 05:33:56 EDT 2015

On Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 10:55 AM, Jaime Fernández del Río <
jaime.frio at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 5:40 PM, Nathaniel Smith <njs at pobox.com> wrote:
>> Some thoughts:
>> But, for your computed dimension idea I'm wondering if what we should
>> do instead is just let a gufunc provide a C callback that looks at the
>> input array dimensions and explicitly says somehow which dimensions it
>> wants to treat as the core dimensions and what its output shapes will
>> be. There's no rule that we have to extend the signature mini-language
>> to be Turing complete, we can just use C :-).
>> It would be good to have a better motivation for computed gufunc
>> dimensions, though. Your "all pairwise cross products" example would
>> be *much* better handled by implementing the .outer method for binary
>> gufuncs: pairwise_cross(a) == cross.outer(a, a). This would make
>> gufuncs more consistent with ufuncs, plus let you do
>> all-pairwise-cross-products between two different sets of cross
>> products, plus give us all-pairwise-matrix-products for free, etc.
> The outer for binary gufuncs sounds like a good idea. A reduce for binary
> gufuncs that allow it (like square matrix multiplication) would also be
> nice. But going back to the original question, the pairwise whatevers were
> just an example: one could come up with several others, e.g.:
>     (m),(n)->($p),($q) with $p = m - n and $q = n - 1, could be (I think)
> the signature of a polynomial division gufunc
>     (m),(n)->($p), with $p = m - n + 1, could be the signature of a
> convolution or correlation gufunc
>     (m)->($n), with $n = m / 2, could be some form of downsampling gufunc
An example where a computed output dimension would be useful is with
linalg.svd, as some resulting dimensions for a matrix (m, n) are based on
min(m, n). This, coupled with the required keyword support makes it
necessary to have 6 gufuncs to support the functionality.

I do think that the C callback solution would be enough, and just allow the
signature to have unbound variables that can be resolved by that
callback... no need to change the syntax:


When registering such a gufunc, a callback function that resolves the
missing dimensions would be required.

Extra niceties that could be built on top of that:
- pass keyword arguments to that function so that stuff like full_matrices
could be resolved inside the gufunc. Maybe even allowing to modify the
number of results (harder) that would be needed to support stuff like
"compute_uv" in svd as well.

- allow context to be created in that resolution that gets passed into the
ufunc kernel itself (note that this might be *necessary*). If context is
created another function would be needed to dispose that context.

In my experience when implementing the linalg gufunc, a very common pattern
was needing some buffers for the actual LAPACK calls (as those functions
are inplace, a tmp buffer was always needed). Some setup and buffer
allocation was performed before looping. Every iteration in the inner loop
will reuse that data and at the end of the loop the buffers will be
released. That means the initialization/allocation/release is done once per
inner loop call. If the hooks to allocate/dispose the context existed, that
initialization/allocation/release could be done once per ufunc call. AFAIK,
a ufunc call can involve several inner loop calls depending on outer
dimensions and layout of the operands.

> While you're messing around with the gufunc dimension matching logic,
>> any chance we can tempt you to implement the "optional dimensions"
>> needed to handle '@', solve, etc. elegantly? The rule would be that
>> you can write something like
>>    (n?,k),(k,m?)->(n?,m?)
>> and the ? dimensions are allowed to take on an additional value
>> "nothing at all". If there's no dimension available in the input, then
>> we act like it was reshaped to add a dimension with shape 1, and then
>> in the output we squeeze this dimension out again. I guess the rules
>> would be that (1) in the input, you can have ? dimensions at the
>> beginning or the end of your shape, but not both at the same time, (2)
>> any dimension that has a ? in one place must have it in all places,
>> (3) when checking argument conformity, "nothing at all" only matches
>> against "nothing at all", not against 1; this is because if we allowed
>> (n?,m),(n?,m)->(n?,m) to be applied to two arrays with shapes (5,) and
>> (1, 5), then it would be ambiguous whether the output should have
>> shape (5,) or (1, 5).
> I definitely do not mind taking a look into it. I need to think a little
> more about the rules to convince myself that there is a consistent set of
> them that we can use. I also thought there may be a performance concern,
> that you may want to have different implementations when dimensions are
> missing, not automatically add a 1 and then remove it. It doesn't seem to
> be the case with neither `np.dot` nor `np.solve`, so maybe I am being
> overly cautious.
> Thanks for your comments and ideas. I have a feeling there are some nice
> features hidden in here, but I can't seem to figure out what should they be
> on my own.
> Jaime
> --
> (\__/)
> ( O.o)
> ( > <) Este es Conejo. Copia a Conejo en tu firma y ayúdale en sus planes
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