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Base class for Keras optimizers.

You should not use this class directly, but instead instantiate one of its subclasses such as tf.keras.optimizers.SGD, tf.keras.optimizers.Adam, etc.


# Create an optimizer with the desired parameters.
opt = tf.keras.optimizers.SGD(learning_rate=0.1)
# `loss` is a callable that takes no argument and returns the value
# to minimize.
loss = lambda: 3 * var1 * var1 + 2 * var2 * var2
# In graph mode, returns op that minimizes the loss by updating the listed
# variables.
opt_op = opt.minimize(loss, var_list=[var1, var2])
# In eager mode, simply call minimize to update the list of variables.
opt.minimize(loss, var_list=[var1, var2])

Usage in custom training loops

In Keras models, sometimes variables are created when the model is first called, instead of construction time. Examples include 1) sequential models without input shape pre-defined, or 2) subclassed models. Pass var_list as callable in these cases.


opt = tf.keras.optimizers.SGD(learning_rate=0.1)
model = tf.keras.Sequential()
model.add(tf.keras.layers.Dense(num_hidden, activation='relu'))
model.add(tf.keras.layers.Dense(num_classes, activation='sigmoid'))
loss_fn = lambda: tf.keras.losses.mse(model(input), output)
var_list_fn = lambda: model.trainable_weights
for input, output in data:
  opt.minimize(loss_fn, var_list_fn)

Processing gradients before applying them

Calling minimize() takes care of both computing the gradients and applying them to the variables. If you want to process the gradients before applying them you can instead use the optimizer in three steps:

  1. Compute the gradients with tf.GradientTape.
  2. Process the gradients as you wish.
  3. Apply the processed gradients with apply_gradients().


# Create an optimizer.
opt = tf.keras.optimizers.SGD(learning_rate=0.1)

# Compute the gradients for a list of variables.
with tf.GradientTape() as tape:
  loss = <call_loss_function>
vars = <list_of_variables>
grads = tape.gradient(loss, vars)

# Process the gradients, for example cap them, etc.
# capped_grads = [MyCapper(g) for g in grads]
processed_grads = [process_gradient(g) for g in grads]

# Ask the optimizer to apply the processed gradients.
opt.apply_gradients(zip(processed_grads, var_list))

Use with tf.distribute.Strategy

This optimizer class is tf.distribute.Strategy aware, which means it automatically sums gradients across all replicas. To average gradients, you divide your loss by the global batch size, which is done automatically if you use tf.keras built-in training or evaluation loops. See the reduction argument of your loss which should be set to tf.keras.losses.Reduction.SUM_OVER_BATCH_SIZE for averaging or tf.keras.losses.Reduction.SUM for not.

To aggregate gradients yourself, call apply_gradients with experimental_aggregate_gradients set to False. This is useful if you need to process aggregated gradients.

If you are not using these and you want to average gradients, you should use tf.math.reduce_sum to add up your per-example losses and then divide by the global batch size. Note that when using tf.distribute.Strategy, the first component of a tensor's shape is the replica-local batch size, which is off by a factor equal to the number of replicas being used to compute a single step. As a result, using tf.math.reduce_mean will give the wrong answer, resulting in gradients that can be many times too big.

Variable Constraints

All Keras optimizers respect variable constraints. If constraint function is passed to any variable, the constraint will be applied to the variable after the gradient has been applied to the variable. Important: If gradient is sparse tensor, variable constraint is not supported.

Thread Compatibility

The entire optimizer is currently thread compatible, not thread-safe. The user needs to perform synchronization if necessary.


Many optimizer subclasses, such as Adam and Adagrad allocate and manage additional variables associated with the variables to train. These are called Slots. Slots have names and you can ask the optimizer for the names of the slots that it uses. Once you have a slot name you can ask the optimizer for the variable it created to hold the slot value.

This can be useful if you want to log debug a training algorithm, report stats about the slots, etc.


These are arguments passed to the optimizer subclass constructor (the