Using the PyTorch JIT Compiler with Pyro

This tutorial shows how to use the PyTorch jit compiler in Pyro models.


  • You can use compiled functions in Pyro models.

  • You cannot use pyro primitives inside compiled functions.

  • If your model has static structure, you can use a Jit* version of an ELBO algorithm, e.g.

    - Trace_ELBO()
    + JitTrace_ELBO()
  • The HMC and NUTS classes accept jit_compile=True kwarg.

  • Models should input all tensors as *args and all non-tensors as **kwargs.

  • Each different value of **kwargs triggers a separate compilation.

  • Use **kwargs to specify all variation in structure (e.g. time series length).

  • To ignore jit warnings in safe code blocks, use with pyro.util.ignore_jit_warnings():.

  • To ignore all jit warnings in HMC or NUTS, pass ignore_jit_warnings=True.

Table of contents

import os
import torch
import pyro
import pyro.distributions as dist
from torch.distributions import constraints
from pyro import poutine
from pyro.distributions.util import broadcast_shape
from pyro.infer import Trace_ELBO, JitTrace_ELBO, TraceEnum_ELBO, JitTraceEnum_ELBO, SVI
from pyro.infer.mcmc import MCMC, NUTS
from pyro.infer.autoguide import AutoDiagonalNormal
from pyro.optim import Adam

smoke_test = ('CI' in os.environ)
assert pyro.__version__.startswith('1.9.1')


PyTorch 1.0 includes a jit compiler to speed up models. You can think of compilation as a “static mode”, whereas PyTorch usually operates in “eager mode”.

Pyro supports the jit compiler in two ways. First you can use compiled functions inside Pyro models (but those functions cannot contain Pyro primitives). Second, you can use Pyro’s jit inference algorithms to compile entire inference steps; in static models this can reduce the Python overhead of Pyro models and speed up inference.

The rest of this tutorial focuses on Pyro’s jitted inference algorithms: JitTrace_ELBO, JitTraceGraph_ELBO, JitTraceEnum_ELBO, JitMeanField_ELBO, HMC(jit_compile=True), and NUTS(jit_compile=True). For further reading, see the examples/ directory, where most examples include a --jit option to run in compiled mode.

A simple model

Let’s start with a simple Gaussian model and an autoguide.

def model(data):
    loc = pyro.sample("loc", dist.Normal(0., 10.))
    scale = pyro.sample("scale", dist.LogNormal(0., 3.))
    with pyro.plate("data", data.size(0)):
        pyro.sample("obs", dist.Normal(loc, scale), obs=data)

guide = AutoDiagonalNormal(model)

data = dist.Normal(0.5, 2.).sample((100,))

First let’s run as usual with an SVI object and Trace_ELBO.

elbo = Trace_ELBO()
svi = SVI(model, guide, Adam({'lr': 0.01}), elbo)
for i in range(2 if smoke_test else 1000):
CPU times: user 2.71 s, sys: 31.4 ms, total: 2.74 s
Wall time: 2.76 s

Next to run with a jit compiled inference, we simply replace

- elbo = Trace_ELBO()
+ elbo = JitTrace_ELBO()

Also note that the AutoDiagonalNormal guide behaves a little differently on its first invocation (it runs the model to produce a prototype trace), and we don’t want to record this warmup behavior when compiling. Thus we call the guide(data) once to initialize, then run the compiled SVI,


guide(data)  # Do any lazy initialization before compiling.

elbo = JitTrace_ELBO()
svi = SVI(model, guide, Adam({'lr': 0.01}), elbo)
for i in range(2 if smoke_test else 1000):
CPU times: user 1.1 s, sys: 30.4 ms, total: 1.13 s
Wall time: 1.16 s

Notice that we have a more than 2x speedup for this small model.

Let us now use the same model, but we will instead use MCMC to generate samples from the model’s posterior. We will use the No-U-Turn(NUTS) sampler.

nuts_kernel = NUTS(model)
mcmc_run = MCMC(nuts_kernel, num_samples=100).run(data)

CPU times: user 4.61 s, sys: 101 ms, total: 4.71 s
Wall time: 4.7 s

We can compile the potential energy computation in NUTS using the jit_compile=True argument to the NUTS kernel. We also silence JIT warnings due to the presence of tensor constants in the model by using ignore_jit_warnings=True.

nuts_kernel = NUTS(model, jit_compile=True, ignore_jit_warnings=True)
mcmc_run = MCMC(nuts_kernel, num_samples=100).run(data)

CPU times: user 2.04 s, sys: 74.1 ms, total: 2.11 s
Wall time: 2.09 s

We notice a significant increase in sampling throughput when JIT compilation is enabled.

Varying structure

Time series models often run on datasets of multiple time series with different lengths. To accomodate varying structure like this, Pyro requires models to separate all model inputs into tensors and non-tensors.\(^\dagger\)

  • Non-tensor inputs should be passed as **kwargs to the model and guide. These can determine model structure, so that a model is compiled for each value of the passed **kwargs.

  • Tensor inputs should be passed as *args. These must not determine model structure. However len(args) may determine model structure (as is used e.g. in semisupervised models).

To illustrate this with a time series model, we will pass in a sequence of observations as a tensor arg and the sequence length as a non-tensor kwarg:

def model(sequence, num_sequences, length, state_dim=16):
    # This is a Gaussian HMM model.
    with pyro.plate("states", state_dim):
        trans = pyro.sample("trans", dist.Dirichlet(0.5 * torch.ones(state_dim)))
        emit_loc = pyro.sample("emit_loc", dist.Normal(0., 10.))
    emit_scale = pyro.sample("emit_scale", dist.LogNormal(0., 3.))

    # We're doing manual data subsampling, so we need to scale to actual data size.
    with poutine.scale(scale=num_sequences):
        # We'll use enumeration inference over the hidden x.
        x = 0
        for t in pyro.markov(range(length)):
            x = pyro.sample("x_{}".format(t), dist.Categorical(trans[x]),
                            infer={"enumerate": "parallel"})
            pyro.sample("y_{}".format(t), dist.Normal(emit_loc[x], emit_scale),

guide = AutoDiagonalNormal(poutine.block(model, expose=["trans", "emit_scale", "emit_loc"]))

# This is fake data of different lengths.
lengths = [24] * 50 + [48] * 20 + [72] * 5
sequences = [torch.randn(length) for length in lengths]

Now lets’ run SVI as usual.

elbo = TraceEnum_ELBO(max_plate_nesting=1)
svi = SVI(model, guide, Adam({'lr': 0.01}), elbo)
for i in range(1 if smoke_test else 10):
    for sequence in sequences:
        svi.step(sequence,                                            # tensor args
                 num_sequences=len(sequences), length=len(sequence))  # non-tensor args
CPU times: user 52.4 s, sys: 270 ms, total: 52.7 s
Wall time: 52.8 s

Again we’ll simply swap in a Jit* implementation

- elbo = TraceEnum_ELBO(max_plate_nesting=1)
+ elbo = JitTraceEnum_ELBO(max_plate_nesting=1)

Note that we are manually specifying the max_plate_nesting arg. Usually Pyro can figure this out automatically by running the model once on the first invocation; however to avoid this extra work when we run the compiler on the first step, we pass this in manually.


# Do any lazy initialization before compiling.
guide(sequences[0], num_sequences=len(sequences), length=len(sequences[0]))

elbo = JitTraceEnum_ELBO(max_plate_nesting=1)
svi = SVI(model, guide, Adam({'lr': 0.01}), elbo)
for i in range(1 if smoke_test else 10):
    for sequence in sequences:
        svi.step(sequence,                                            # tensor args
                 num_sequences=len(sequences), length=len(sequence))  # non-tensor args
CPU times: user 21.9 s, sys: 201 ms, total: 22.1 s
Wall time: 22.2 s

Again we see more than 2x speedup. Note that since there were three different sequence lengths, compilation was triggered three times.

\(^\dagger\) Note this section is only valid for SVI, and HMC/NUTS assume fixed model arguments.