In Intel® Nervana™ graph (ngraph), we aim to provide utilities that enable frontend interoperability with other frameworks such as TensorFlow. The TensorFlow* importer allows users to define a limited set models in TensorFlow and then execute computations using Intel Nervana graph transformers.

Minimal example

Here’s a minimal example for the TensorFlow importer:

from __future__ import print_function
from ngraph.frontends.TensorFlow.tf_importer.importer import TFImporter
import ngraph.transformers as ngt
import TensorFlow as tf
import ngraph as ng

# TensorFlow ops
x = tf.constant(1.)
y = tf.constant(2.)
f = x + y

# import
importer = TFImporter()

# get handle
f_ng = importer.get_op_handle(f)

# execute
transformer = ngt.make_transformer()
f_result = transformer.computation(f_ng)()

Walkthrough of MNIST MLP example

Here’s a walkthrough of the MNIST MLP example. For the full source code of the example, refer to the examples directory.

  1. Define the MNIST MLP model in TensorFlow as shown below:

    x = tf.placeholder(tf.float32, [args.batch_size, 784])
    t = tf.placeholder(tf.float32, [args.batch_size, 10])
    w = tf.Variable(tf.zeros([784, 10]))
    b = tf.Variable(tf.zeros([10]))
    y = tf.matmul(x, w) + b
    cost = tf.reduce_mean(-tf.reduce_sum(
        t * tf.log(tf.nn.softmax(y)), reduction_indices=[1]))
    init = tf.initialize_all_variables()

In this example, we need to explicitly set init to tf.initialize_all_variables() since we need to use the handle of the init op for Intel Nervana graph to execute the correct initialization.

  1. Import TensorFlow GraphDef:

    importer = TFImporter()
  • We use the TFImporter.import_graph_def() function to import from TensorFlow sessions’s graph_def.
  • The importer also supports importing from a graph_def protobuf file using TFImporter.import_protobuf(). For example, a graph_def file can be dumped by tf.train.SummaryWriter().
  1. Get the handles of the corresponding Intel Nervana graph ops:

    x_ng, t_ng, cost_ng, init_op_ng = importer.get_op_handle([x, t, cost, init])

TensorFlow nodes are converted to Intel Nervana graph ops. To evaluate a TensorFlow node, we need to get its corresponding Intel Nervana graph node using TFImporter.get_op_handle().

  1. Perform autodiff and define computations:

    updates = SGDOptimizer(args.lrate).minimize(cost_ng)
    transformer = ngt.make_transformer()
    train_comp = transformer.computation([cost_ng, updates], x_ng, t_ng)
    init_comp = transformer.computation(init_op_ng)

As we only import the forward graph from TensorFlow, we should use Intel Nervana graph’s autodiff to compute gradients and get optimizers.

  1. Training using Intel Nervana graph:

    mnist = input_data.read_data_sets(args.data_dir, one_hot=True)
    for idx in range(args.max_iter):
        batch_xs, batch_ys = mnist.train.next_batch(args.batch_size)
        cost_val, _ = train_comp(batch_xs, batch_ys)
        print("[Iter %s] Cost = %s" % (idx, cost_val))

Now we can train the model in ngraph as if it were a native Intel Nervana graph model. All Intel Nervana graph functionalities and syntax can be applied after the graph is imported.

  1. Training using TensorFlow as comparison:

    with tf.Session() as sess:
        # train in tensorflow
        train_step = tf.train.GradientDescentOptimizer(args.lrate).minimize(cost)
        mnist = input_data.read_data_sets(args.data_dir, one_hot=True)
        for idx in range(args.max_iter):
            batch_xs, batch_ys = mnist.train.next_batch(args.batch_size)
            cost_val, _ = sess.run([cost, train_step],
                                   feed_dict={x: batch_xs, t: batch_ys})
            print("[Iter %s] Cost = %s" % (idx, cost_val))

Finally, we train the model using standard TensorFlow. The Intel Nervana graph results above match TensorFlow’s results.

Current limitations

  1. Only a subset of operations are supported.
  • Currently we only support a subset of operations from TensorFlow that are related to neural networks. We are working on getting more ops supported in the importer.
  • A util function TFImporter._get_unimplemented_ops() is provided for getting a list of unimplemented ops from a particular model.
  1. The importer should be used to import the forward graph.
  • User should use the importer to import the forward pass of the TensorFlow graph, and then perform autodiff and training updates in Intel Nervana graph.
  • TensorFlow ops related to gradient computation are not supported.
  • In the future, bidirectional weight exchange between TensorFlow and Intel Nervana graph will also be supported.
  1. Staticness
  • In Intel Nervana graph, the transformer can alter the computation graph during the transformation phase, thus we need to declare all computations before executing any of them. Altering the imported graph after transformer initialization is not supported.
  • TensorFlow allows dynamic parameters to its ops. For example, the kernel size of a Conv2d can be the result of another computation. Since Intel Nervana graph needs to know dimension information prior to execution to allocating memory, dynamic parameters are not supported in importer.