tf.distribute.experimental.CentralStorageStrategy

A one-machine strategy that puts all variables on a single device.

Inherits From: Strategy

Used in the notebooks

Used in the guide

Variables are assigned to local CPU or the only GPU. If there is more than one GPU, compute operations (other than variable update operations) will be replicated across all GPUs.

For Example:

strategy = tf.distribute.experimental.CentralStorageStrategy()
# Create a dataset
ds = tf.data.Dataset.range(5).batch(2)
# Distribute that dataset
dist_dataset = strategy.experimental_distribute_dataset(ds)

with strategy.scope():
  @tf.function
  def train_step(val):
    return val + 1

  # Iterate over the distributed dataset
  for x in dist_dataset:
    # process dataset elements
    strategy.run(train_step, args=(x,))

cluster_resolver Returns the cluster resolver associated with this strategy.

In general, when using a multi-worker tf.distribute strategy such as tf.distribute.experimental.MultiWorkerMirroredStrategy or tf.distribute.TPUStrategy(), there is a tf.distribute.cluster_resolver.ClusterResolver associated with the strategy used, and such an instance is returned by this property.

Strategies that intend to have an associated tf.distribute.cluster_resolver.ClusterResolver must set the relevant attribute, or override this property; otherwise, None is returned by default. Those strategies should also provide information regarding what is returned by this property.

Single-worker strategies usually do not have a tf.distribute.cluster_resolver.ClusterResolver, and in those cases this property will return None.

The tf.distribute.cluster_resolver.ClusterResolver may be useful when the user needs to access information such as the cluster spec, task type or task id. For example,


os.environ['TF_CONFIG'] = json.dumps({
'cluster': {
'worker': ["localhost:12345", "localhost:23456"],
'ps': ["localhost:34567"]
},
'task': {'type': 'worker', 'index': 0}
})

# This implicitly uses TF_CONFIG for the cluster and current task info.
strategy = tf.distribute.experimental.MultiWorkerMirroredStrategy()

...

if strategy.cluster_resolver.task_type == 'worker':
# Perform something that's only applicable on workers. Since we set this
# as a worker above, this block will run on this particular instance.
elif strategy.cluster_resolver.task_type == 'ps':
# Perform something that's only applicable on parameter servers. Since we
# set this as a worker above, this block will not run on this particular
# instance.

For more information, please see tf.distribute.cluster_resolver.ClusterResolver's API docstring.

extended tf.distribute.StrategyExtended with additional methods.
num_replicas_in_sync Returns number of replicas over which gradients are aggregated.

Methods

distribute_datasets_from_function

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Distributes tf.data.Dataset instances created by calls to dataset_fn.

The argument dataset_fn that users pass in is an input function that has a tf.distribute.InputContext argument and returns a tf.data.Dataset instance. It is expected that the returned dataset from dataset_fn is already batched by per-replica batch size (i.e. global batch size divided by the number of replicas in sync) and sharded. tf.distribute.Strategy.distribute_datasets_from_function does not batch or shard the tf.data.Dataset instance returned from the input function. dataset_fn will be called on the CPU device of each of the workers and each generates a dataset where every replica on that worker will dequeue one batch of inputs (i.e. if a worker has two replicas, two batches will be dequeued from the Dataset every step).

This method can be used for several purposes. First, it allows you to specify your own batching and sharding logic. (In contrast, tf.distribute.experimental_distribute_dataset does batching and sharding for you.) For example, where experimental_distribute_dataset is unable to shard the input files, this method might be used to manually shard the dataset (avoiding the slow fallback behavior in experimental_distribute_dataset). In cases where the dataset is infinite, this sharding can be done by creating dataset replicas that differ only in their random seed.

The dataset_fn should take an tf.distribute.InputContext instance where information about batching and input replication can be accessed.

You can use element_spec property of the tf.distribute.DistributedDataset returned by this API to query the tf.TypeSpec of the elements returned by the iterator. This can be used to set the input_signature property of a tf.function. Follow tf.distribute.DistributedDataset.element_spec to see an example.

For a tutorial on more usage and properties of this method, refer to the tutorial on distributed input). If you are interested in last partial batch handling, read this section.

Args
dataset_fn A function taking a tf.distribute.InputContext instance and returning a tf.data.Dataset.
options tf.distribute.InputOptions used to control options on how this dataset is distributed.

Returns
A tf.distribute.DistributedDataset.

experimental_distribute_dataset

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Distributes a tf.data.Dataset instance provided via dataset.

The returned dataset is a wrapped strategy dataset which creates a multidevice iterator under the hood. It prefetches the input data to the specified devices on the worker. The returned distributed dataset can be iterated over similar to how regular datasets can.

For Example:

strategy = tf.distribute.CentralStorageStrategy()  # with 1 CPU and 1 GPU
dataset = tf.data.Dataset.range(10).batch(2)
dist_dataset = strategy.experimental_distribute_dataset(dataset)
for x in dist_dataset:
  print(x)  # Prints PerReplica values [0, 1], [2, 3],...

Args: dataset: tf.data.Dataset to be prefetched to device. options: tf.distribute.InputOptions used to control options on how this dataset is distributed.

Returns
A "distributed Dataset" that the caller can iterate over.

experimental_distribute_values_from_function

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Generates tf.distribute.DistributedValues from value_fn.

This function is to generate tf.distribute.DistributedValues to pass into run, reduce, or other methods that take distributed values when not using datasets.

Args
value_fn The function to run to generate values. It is called for each replica with tf.distribute.ValueContext as the sole argument. It must return a Tensor or a type that can be converted to a Tensor.

Returns
A tf.distribute.DistributedValues containing a value for each replica.

Example usage:

  1. Return constant value per replica:
strategy = tf.distribute.MirroredStrategy(["GPU:0", "GPU:1"])
def value_fn(ctx):
  return tf.constant(1.)
distributed_values = (
     strategy.experimental_distribute_values_from_function(
       value_fn))
local_result = strategy.experimental_local_results(distributed_values)
local_result
(<tf.Tensor: shape=(), dtype=float32, numpy=1.0>,
 <tf.Tensor: shape=(), dtype=float32, numpy=1.0>)
  1. Distribute values in array based on replica_id:
strategy = tf.distribute.MirroredStrategy(["GPU:0", "GPU:1"])
array_value = np.array([3., 2., 1.])
def value_fn(ctx):
  return array_value[ctx.replica_id_in_sync_group]
distributed_values = (
     strategy.experimental_distribute_values_from_function(
       value_fn))
local_result = strategy.experimental_local_results(distributed_values)
local_result
(3.0, 2.0)
  1. Specify values using num_replicas_in_sync:
strategy = tf.distribute.MirroredStrategy(["GPU:0", "GPU:1"])
def value_fn(ctx):
  return ctx.num_replicas_in_sync
distributed_values = (
     strategy.experimental_distribute_values_from_function(
       value_fn))
local_result = strategy.experimental_local_results(distributed_values)
local_result
(2, 2)
  1. Place values on devices and distribute:
strategy = tf.distribute.TPUStrategy()
worker_devices = strategy.extended.worker_devices
multiple_values = []
for i in range(strategy.num_replicas_in_sync):
  with tf.device(worker_devices[i]):
    multiple_values.append(tf.constant(1.0))

def value_fn(ctx):
  return multiple_values[ctx.replica_id_in_sync_group]

distributed_values = strategy.
  experimental_distribute_values_from_function(
  value_fn)

experimental_local_results

View source

Returns the list of all local per-replica values contained in value.

In CentralStorageStrategy there is a single worker so the value returned will be all the values on that worker.

Args
value A value returned by run(), extended.call_for_each_replica(), or a variable created in scope.

Returns
A tuple of values contained in value. If value represents a single value, this returns (value,).

gather

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Gather value across replicas along axis to the current device.

Given a tf.distribute.DistributedValues or tf.Tensor-like object value, this API gathers and concatenates value across replicas along the axis-th dimension. The result is copied to the "current" device

  • which would typically be the CPU of the worker on which the program is running. For tf.distribute.TPUStrategy, it is the first TPU host. For multi-client MultiWorkerMirroredStrategy, this is CPU of each worker.

This API can only be called in the cross-replica context. For a counterpart in the replica context, see tf.distribute.ReplicaContext.all_gather.

strategy = tf.distribute.MirroredStrategy(["GPU:0", "GPU:1"])
# A DistributedValues with component tensor of shape (2, 1) on each replica
distributed_values = strategy.experimental_distribute_values_from_function(lambda _: tf.identity(tf.constant([[1], [2]])))
@tf.function
def run():
  return strategy.gather(distributed_values, axis=0)
run()
<tf.Tensor: shape=(4, 1), dtype=int32, numpy=
array([[1],
       [2],
       [1],
       [2]], dtype=int32)>

Consider the following example for more combinations:

strategy = tf.distribute.MirroredStrategy(["GPU:0", "GPU:1", "GPU:2", "GPU:3"])
single_tensor = tf.reshape(tf.range(6), shape=(1,2,3))
distributed_values = strategy.experimental_distribute_values_from_function(lambda _: tf.identity(single_tensor))
@tf.function
def run(axis):
  return strategy.gather(distributed_values, axis=axis)
axis=0
run(axis)
<tf.Tensor: shape=(4, 2, 3), dtype=int32, numpy=
array([[[0, 1, 2],
        [3, 4, 5]],
       [[0, 1, 2],
        [3, 4, 5]],
       [[0, 1, 2],
        [3, 4, 5]],
       [[0, 1, 2],
        [3, 4, 5]]], dtype=int32)>
axis=1
run(axis)
<tf.Tensor: shape=(1, 8, 3), dtype=int32, numpy=
array([[[0, 1, 2],
        [3, 4, 5],
        [0, 1, 2],
        [3, 4, 5],
        [0, 1, 2],
        [3, 4, 5],
        [0, 1, 2],
        [3, 4, 5]]], dtype=int32)>
axis=2
run(axis)
<tf.Tensor: shape=(1, 2, 12), dtype=int32, numpy=
array([[[0, 1, 2, 0, 1, 2, 0, 1, 2, 0, 1, 2],
        [3, 4, 5, 3, 4, 5, 3, 4, 5, 3, 4, 5]]], dtype=int32)>

Args
value a tf.distribute.DistributedValues instance, e.g. returned by Strategy.run, to be combined into a single tensor. It can also be a regular tensor when used with tf.distribute.OneDeviceStrategy or the default strategy. The tensors that constitute the DistributedValues can only be dense tensors with non-zero rank, NOT a tf.IndexedSlices.
axis 0-D int32 Tensor. Dimension along which to gather. Must be in the range [0, rank(value)).

Returns
A Tensor that's the concatenation of value across replicas along axis dimension.

reduce

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Reduce value across replicas.

Given a per-replica value returned by run, say a per-example loss, the batch will be divided across all the replicas. This function allows you to aggregate across replicas and optionally also across batch elements. For example, if you have a global batch size of 8 and 2 replicas, values for examples [0, 1, 2, 3] will be on replica 0 and [4, 5, 6, 7] will be on replica 1. By default, reduce will just aggregate across replicas, returning [0+4, 1+5, 2+6, 3+7]. This is useful when each replica is computing a scalar or some other value that doesn't have a "batch" dimension (like a gradient). More often you will want to aggregate across the global batch, which you can get by specifying the batch dimension as the axis, typically axis=0. In this case it would return a scalar 0+1+2+3+4+5+6+7.

If there is a last partial batch, you will need to specify an axis so that the resulting shape is consistent across replicas. So if the last batch has size 6 and it is divided into [0, 1, 2, 3] and [4, 5], you would get a shape mismatch unless you specify axis=0. If you specify tf.distribute.ReduceOp.MEAN, using axis=0 will use the correct denominator of 6. Contrast this with computing reduce_mean to get a scalar value on each replica and this function to average those means, which will weigh some values 1/8 and others 1/4.

For Example:

strategy = tf.distribute.experimental.CentralStorageStrategy(
    compute_devices=['CPU:0', 'GPU:0'], parameter_device='CPU:0')
ds = tf.data.Dataset.range(10)
# Distribute that dataset
dist_dataset = strategy.experimental_distribute_dataset(ds)

with strategy.scope():
  @tf.function
  def train_step(val):
    # pass through
    return val

  # Iterate over the distributed dataset
  for x in dist_dataset:
    result = strategy.run(train_step, args=(x,))

result = strategy.reduce(tf.distribute.ReduceOp.SUM, result,
                         axis=None).numpy()
# result: array([ 4,  6,  8, 10])

result = strategy.reduce(tf.distribute.ReduceOp.SUM, result, axis=0).numpy()
# result: 28

Args
reduce_op A tf.distribute.ReduceOp value specifying how values should be combined.
value A "per replica" value, e.g. returned by run to be combined into a single tensor.
axis Specifies the dimension to reduce along within each replica's tensor. Should typically be set to the batch dimension, or None to only reduce across replicas (e.g. if the tensor has no batch dimension).

Returns
A Tensor.

run

View source

Run fn on each replica, with the given arguments.

In CentralStorageStrategy, fn is called on each of the compute replicas, with the provided "per replica" arguments specific to that device.

Args
fn The function to run. The output must be a tf.nest of Tensors.
args (Optional) Positional arguments to fn.
kwargs (Optional) Keyword arguments to fn.
options (Optional) An instance of tf.distribute.RunOptions specifying the options to run fn.

Returns
Return value from running fn.

scope

View source

Context manager to make the strategy current and distribute variables.

This method returns a context manager, and is used as follows:

strategy = tf.distribute.MirroredStrategy(["GPU:0", "GPU:1"])
# Variable created inside scope:
with strategy.scope():
  mirrored_variable = tf.Variable(1.)
mirrored_variable
MirroredVariable:{
  0: <tf.Variable 'Variable:0' shape=() dtype=float32, numpy=1.0>,
  1: <tf.Variable 'Variable/replica_1:0' shape=() dtype=float32, numpy=1.0>
}
# Variable created outside scope:
regular_variable = tf.Variable(1.)
regular_variable
<tf.Variable 'Variable:0' shape=() dtype=float32, numpy=1.0>

What happens when Strategy.scope is entered?

  • strategy is installed in the global context as the "current" strategy. Inside this scope, tf.distribute.get_strategy() will now return this strategy. Outside this scope, it returns the default no-op strategy.
  • Entering the scope also enters the "cross-replica context". See tf.distribute.StrategyExtended for an explanation on cross-replica and replica contexts.
  • Variable creation inside scope is intercepted by the strategy. Each strategy defines how it wants to affect the variable creation. Sync strategies like MirroredStrategy, TPUStrategy and MultiWorkerMiroredStrategy create variables replicated on each replica, whereas ParameterServerStrategy creates variables on the parameter servers. This is done using a custom tf.variable_creator_scope.
  • In some strategies, a default device scope may also be entered: in MultiWorkerMiroredStrategy, a default device scope of "/CPU:0" is entered on each worker.

What should be in scope and what should be outside?

There are a number of requirements on what needs to happen inside the scope. However, in places where we have information about which strategy is in use, we often enter the scope for the user, so they don't have to do it explicitly (i.e. calling those either inside or outside the scope is OK).

  • Anything that creates variables that should be distributed variables must be in strategy.scope. This can be either by directly putting it in scope, or relying on another API like strategy.run or model.fit to enter it for you. Any variable that is created outside scope will not be distributed and may have performance implications. Common things that create variables in TF: models, optimizers, metrics. These should always be created inside the scope. Another source of variable creation can be a checkpoint restore - when variables are created lazily. Note that any variable created inside a strategy captures the strategy information. So reading and writing to these variables outside the strategy.scope can also work seamlessly, without the user having to enter the scope.
  • Some strategy APIs (such as strategy.run and strategy.reduce) which require to be in a strategy's scope, enter the scope for you automatically, which means when using those APIs you don't need to enter the scope yourself.
  • When a tf.keras.Model is created inside a strategy.scope, we capture this information. When high level training frameworks methods such as model.compile, model.fit etc are then called on this model, we automatically enter the scope, as well as use this strategy to distribute the training etc. See detailed example in distributed keras tutorial. Note that simply calling the model(..) is not impacted - only high level training framework APIs are. model.compile, model.fit, model.evaluate, model.predict and model.save can all be called inside or outside the scope.
  • The following can be either inside or outside the scope:
    • Creating the input datasets
    • Defining tf.functions that represent your training step
    • Saving APIs such as tf.saved_model.save. Loading creates variables, so that should go inside the scope if you want to train the model in a distributed way.
    • Checkpoint saving. As mentioned above - checkpoint.restore may sometimes need to be inside scope if it creates variables.

Returns
A context manager.