The TensorFlow Lite for Microcontrollers C++ library is part of the TensorFlow repository. It is designed to be readable, easy to modify, well-tested, easy to integrate, and compatible with regular TensorFlow Lite.
The following document outlines the basic structure of the C++ library and provides information about creating your own project.
root directory has a relatively simple structure. However, since it is located
inside of the extensive TensorFlow repository, we have created scripts and
pre-generated project files that provide the relevant source files in isolation
within various embedded development environments.
The most important files for using the TensorFlow Lite for Microcontrollers interpreter are located in the root of the project, accompanied by tests:
can be used to provide the operations used by the interpreter to run the
micro_error_reporter.houtputs debug information.
micro_interpreter.hcontains code to handle and run models.
See Get started with microcontrollers for a walkthrough of typical usage.
The build system provides for platform-specific implementations of certain
files. These are located in a directory with the platform name, for example
Several other directories exist, including:
kernel, which contains operation implementations and the associated code.
tools, which contains build tools and their output.
examples, which contains sample code.
Start a new project
We recommend using the Hello World example as a template for new projects. You can obtain a version of it for your platform of choice by following the instructions in this section.
Use the Arduino library
If you are using Arduino, the Hello World example is included in the
Arduino_TensorFlowLite Arduino library, which you can manually install in the
Arduino IDE and in Arduino Create.
Once the library has been added, go to
File -> Examples. You should see an
example near the bottom of the list named
it and click
hello_world to load the example. You can then save a copy of the
example and use it as the basis of your own project.
Generate projects for other platforms
TensorFlow Lite for Microcontrollers is able to generate standalone projects
that contain all of the necessary source files, using a
Makefile. The current
supported environments are Keil, Make, and Mbed.
To generate these projects with Make, clone the TensorFlow/tflite-micro repository and run the following command:
make -f tensorflow/lite/micro/tools/make/Makefile generate_projects
This will take a few minutes, since it has to download some large toolchains for
the dependencies. Once it has finished, you should see some folders created
inside a path like
exact path depends on your host operating system). These folders contain the
generated project and source files.
After running the command, you'll be able to find the Hello World projects in
hello_world/keil will contain the Keil project.
Run the tests
To build the library and run all of its unit tests, use the following command:
make -f tensorflow/lite/micro/tools/make/Makefile test
To run an individual test, use the following command, replacing
with the name of the test:
make -f tensorflow/lite/micro/tools/make/Makefile test_<test_name>
You can find the test names in the project's Makefiles. For example,
examples/hello_world/Makefile.inc specifies the test names for the Hello
To build a runnable binary for a given project (such as an example application),
use the following command, replacing
<project_name> with the project you wish
make -f tensorflow/lite/micro/tools/make/Makefile <project_name>_bin
For example, the following command will build a binary for the Hello World application:
make -f tensorflow/lite/micro/tools/make/Makefile hello_world_bin
By default, the project will be compiled for the host operating system. To
specify a different target architecture, use
following example shows how to build the Hello World example for a generic
make -f tensorflow/lite/micro/tools/make/Makefile TARGET=cortex_m_generic TARGET_ARCH=cortex-m0 hello_world_bin
When a target is specified, any available target-specific source files will be
used in place of the original code. For example, the subdirectory
examples/hello_world/cortex_m_generic contains SparkFun Edge implementations
of the files
output_handler.cc, which will be used when the
cortex_m_generic is specified.
You can find the project names in the project's Makefiles. For example,
examples/hello_world/Makefile.inc specifies the binary names for the Hello
The reference kernels in the root of
implemented in pure C/C++, and do not include platform-specific hardware
Optimized versions of kernels are provided in subdirectories. For example,
kernels/cmsis-nn contains several optimized kernels that make use of Arm's
To generate projects using optimized kernels, use the following command,
<subdirectory_name> with the name of the subdirectory containing the
make -f tensorflow/lite/micro/tools/make/Makefile TAGS=<subdirectory_name> generate_projects
You can add your own optimizations by creating a new subfolder for them. We encourage pull requests for new optimized implementations.
Generate the Arduino library
If you need to generate a new build of the library, you can run the following script from the TensorFlow repository:
The resulting library can be found in
Port to new devices
Guidance on porting TensorFlow Lite for Microcontrollers to new platforms and
devices can be found in