Defining the Core ATen Opset

TL;DR

Folks from across Meta internal PyTorch Core, PyTorch Edge, and PyTorch Compiler teams collaborated to review a list of commonly used ATen operators and discussed whether each should be added to the core ATen operator set, or be decomposed by the core ATen decomposition table.

Our goal is to define a core operator set for the ATen library that fulfills the following criteria:

  1. The core ATen operator set can be used as a reference for which ATen ops should be handled by backends or compilers that consume models exported by PT2.
  2. The decompositions implied by the core ATen operator set are useful to the vast majority of use-cases
  3. The vast majority of use-cases will not want to decompose operators contained in the core ATen operator set

The purpose of having this core operator set is to help PyTorch communicate a stable set of operators that developers can expect their model to produce, therefore constraining the amount of operators that will have to be implemented in a custom runtime or be handled by a custom compiler backend to a manageable quantity. It also facilitates smoother integration with external ML frameworks, such as MLIR, XLA, and ONNX.

We invite you to review our decisions, and provide any feedback you may have!

Context: Why is a Core operator set needed?

As the PyTorch ecosystem grows, there is an increasing demand to convert PyTorch models into specialized representations that can run performantly and efficiently in specific environments. Specific examples today are TorchInductor and Executorch; both consume the same FX Graph representation of a model, but end up producing distinct programs to execute a model in their own distinct runtimes. As more backends are developed, it becomes critical for PyTorch to define a core operator set. This initiative is also a common request from neighboring ML frameworks, such as MLIR/XLA and ONNX so as to facilitate smoother integration with PyTorch.

There are over 3000 operators registered in the ATen library; this is a huge amount of operators that backend authors will have to worry about. To exacerbate the issue, many of these operators are redundant with each other, such as being a slight variant of another operator (e.g. in-place variants, out variants). However, by defining a core operator set, PyTorch is able to communicate a stable set of operators that developers can expect their model to produce, therefore constraining the amount of operators that will have to be implemented in a custom runtime or be handled by a custom compiler backend to a manageable quantity.

Defining the Core Operator Set

The core ATen operator set can be interpreted as the result of reducing the set of all operators registered to ATen through the process of decomposing operators. “Decomposing” an operator involves expressing it as a combination of other operators; such decompositions are currently defined in decomposition.py. During the export process, a default list of decompositions are used; this is known as the core ATen decomposition table. Thus, the core ATen operator set can be interpreted as a list of operators registered to ATen that are not further decomposed.

In general, we define an “operator set” as the list of operators that will be produced when performing a model export with a specific “decomposition table”. Thus, the core ATen operator set is the list of operators that a model can contain when being exported with the core ATen decomposition table.

@SherlockNoMad had previously begun work defining the core ATen opset; the list of ops he identified as belonging in the core IR can be found here: IRs — PyTorch 2.0 documentation. This list was seeded by operators that appeared in 163 open-source models used as PT2 benchmarks from across torchbench, HuggingFace, and TIMM. At this point, the general criteria for determining whether a particular ATen operator can be “easily” decomposed to other ATen operators.

The results we are presenting now is a continuation of Sherlock’s previous work. We follow the same overall process of manually inspecting ops that appear in a body of surveyed models. However, in this iteration we have taken on additional goals of:

  • Definition and Codification of the criteria used to evaluate a particular op to determine if it should be part of ATen’s core operator set
  • Develop a democratized process where a diverse set of groups across PyTorch interested in this work (i.e. Inductor, Edge, Compiler) can provide input regarding what should/shouldn’t be included in the core operator set, and the discussion and results are transparent to the broader PyTorch community
  • Describe the process for evolving this operator set over time; this involves adding new operators to the core set as well as adapting the existing core operator set to changes in function schemas and new operators that are added to ATen

Our end goal is to develop a stable core ATen operator set that fulfills the following goals:

  1. The core ATen operator set can be used as a reference for which ATen ops should be handled by backends or compilers that consume models exported by PT2.
  2. The decompositions implied by the core ATen operator set are useful to the vast majority of use-cases
  3. The vast majority of use-cases will not want to decompose operators in the core ATen operator set

The core operator set represents all ATen operators that we have made an explicit decision to not be decomposed by the Core ATen decomposition table. There are operators that are not decomposed by the core decomposition table, but are also not a part of the Core ATen operator set; this means that these operators have not yet been evaluated or a decision has not yet been made for these operators.

Note that the intention is not for users to be locked in to using the core ATen decomposition table; backends are free to add or remove decompositions as they wish. The core operator set strives to be a common denominator across different use-cases and contexts, but we encourage backends to further fine-tune the decomposition table, and therefore the resulting operator set, for their specific goals.

Results

Folks from across Meta internal PyTorch Core, PyTorch Edge, and PyTorch Compiler came together to review a list of commonly used ATen operators and discussed whether each should be added to the core ATen operator set, or be decomposed by the core ATen decomposition table.

The list of operators under consideration was obtained by extracting operators used by approximately 10,000 nn.Modules tested in pytorch-jit-paritybench, which is “A test suite to measure TorchScript parity with PyTorch on many nn.Module s crawled from popular GitHub projects.” The idea was that by looking at operators which are explicitly used in models, we can target the most high-impact ATen operators.

The results of our decisions are summarized below.

Operators Added to the Core ATen Operator Set

For the operators listed below, [core aten] Add ops to core aten set by angelayi · Pull Request #107766 · pytorch/pytorch · GitHub adds the “core” tag to each in native_functions.yaml. Since IRs — PyTorch 2.0 documentation is generated by searching through operators with the “core” tage in native_functions.yaml, these operators will be eventually reflected in the web page as well.

Operator Reason / Comment
aten::adaptive_avg_pool1d avg_pool ops are to be added to core. The adaptive version should be added as well, being a related operator. Decomposing to avg_pool2d involves calculation of kernel sizes based on the input tensor sizes, which in our view strays into the territory of operator implementation.
aten::_adaptive_avg_pool3d avg_pool ops are to be added to core. The adaptive version should be added as well, being a related operator. Decomposing to avg_pool2d involves calculation of kernel sizes based on the input tensor sizes, which in our view strays into the territory of operator implementation.
aten::_cdist_forward Decomposition is difficult/impossible; As additional supporting evidence, inductor lowers this
aten::_embedding_bag Embedding will be added to core. Embedding bag should also be added by extension; it should not be decomposed since the purpose of this op is to not instantiate intermediate embeddings.
aten::_local_scalar_dense Required since .item() lowers to this.
aten::_native_batch_norm_legit_no_training Added due to how common the op is. For performance reasons users may not want to decompose batch_norm op. As additional supporting evidence, batch_norm is also part of StableHLO. Note that other functional variants of batch normalization will be added to the core operator set as well.
aten::_pdist_forward Decomposition is difficult/impossible; As additional supporting evidence, Inductor lowers this
aten::any Decomposition is difficult/impossible
aten::any.dim This operator is a variant of any that only reduces a single dim; any and any.dim cannot be represented by each other. Unfortunately, any.dims (a variant which reduces across an arbitrary number of dimensions) does not exist so that any and any.dim can be decomposed to any.dims
aten::avg_pool1d avg_pool2d already part of core. There is no generic avg_pool operator so avg_pool1d and avg_pool3d should be added as well.
aten::avg_pool3d avg_pool2d already part of core. There is no generic avg_pool operator so avg_pool1d and avg_pool3d should be added as well.
aten::bitwise_and.Scalar The .Tensor operator variant already part of core
aten::bitwise_or.Scalar The .Tensor operator variant already part of core
aten::bitwise_xor.Scalar The .Tensor operator variant already part of core
aten::ceil This op also exists in ONNX
aten::clamp.Tensor Essentially the tensor variant of clamp, which is already in core
aten::cumsum This op also exists in ONNX
aten::embedding This op will be difficult to quantize if it is decomposed.
aten::floor Similar to ceil.
aten::fmod.Scalar The .Tensor operator variant already part of core
aten::index_put Decomposition is difficult/impossible
aten::index.Tensor Decomposition is difficult/impossible
aten::logical_xor Other logical_* ops are already part of core
aten::mean Decomposition is difficult/impossible
aten::mean.dim This operator is a variant of mean that only reduces a single dim; mean and mean.dim cannot be represented by each other. Unfortunately, mean.dims (a variant which reduces across an arbitrary number of dimensions) does not exist so that mean and mean.dim can be decomposed to any.dims
aten::pixel_shuffle Decomposition is difficult/impossible
aten::prod Reduction function similar to sum, which is already a part of core
aten::prod.dim_int Related to prod, but only reduces a single dim. Unfortunately prod.dims does not exist that can express both prod and prod.dim_int
aten::rand Cannot be decomposed; additionally, can be used in decompositions for various probability distribution generator operators
aten::randperm Decomposition is difficult/impossible
aten::reflection_pad_1d Decomposition is difficult/impossible
aten::reflection_pad_2d Decomposition is difficult/impossible
aten::reflection_pad_3d Decomposition is difficult/impossible
aten::remainder.Scalar The .Tensor operator variant already part of core
aten::roll Decomposition is difficult/impossible
aten::round Already part of ONNX.
aten::scatter.src Decomposition is difficult/impossible; Also a part of ONNX
aten::scatter.value Scalar variant of scatter.src
aten::select_scatter Reverse operation of select, which is already part of core (and part of StableHLO)
aten::sort Also exists in stableHLO; cannot be decomposed easily
aten::split_with_sizes Split is already a part of ONNX. split decomposes to this.
aten::squeeze.dims Already a part of ONNX
aten::tan Although this can be decomposed to sin(x)/cos(x), this op also exists ONNX
aten::unsqueeze Reverse operation of squeeze; it is also used in many decompositions; this is a part of ONNX as well
aten::var.correction Decomposition is difficult/impossible

Operators for which decompositions will be added to the Core ATen decomposition table

Below contains operators which we have reviewed but have decided that they should be decomposed by default by the core ATen decomposition table. For some of these operators, a decomposition is already registered in the code-base, but it has not yet been added to the core ATen decomposition table.

Operator Potential Decomp
aten::_trilinear (i1.unsqueeze(expand1)*i2.unsqueeze(expand2)*i2.unsqueeze(expand3)).sum(sumdim)
aten::_unsafe_index.Tensor index.Tensor
aten::_unsafe_view view()
aten::all.dim not(any.dim(x))
aten::arange.start Decomp Exists
aten::atan2 atan(input / other)
aten::baddbmm inductor has decomp already; make sure it is added to core list
aten::bernoulli transformation on rand()
aten::bernoulli_.float transformation on rand()
aten::clamp_max clamp(x, max=max)
aten::clamp_min clamp(x, min=min)
aten::copy _to_copy()
aten::diagonal decomp for diagonal exists
aten::div.Tensor_mode div + trunc or round
aten::elu min(alpha * exp(x) - 1, 0) + max(x, 0)
aten::empty_like empty()
aten::expm1 exp(x+1)
aten::exponential_ transformation on rand()
aten::floor_divide floor(divide(x, y))
aten::floor_divide_.Tensor floor(divide(x, y))
aten::full_like full()
aten::glu Split + sigmoid + add
aten::hann_window.periodic pow(sin(pi * x) / N - 1), 2)
aten::lift_fresh Gets decomposed to no-op in Core ATen IR
aten::log10 log(x)/log(10)
aten::log1p log1p (x) = log( 1 + x)
aten::log2 log(x)/log(2)
aten::max return aten::amax(x), aten::argmax(x)
aten::min return aten::amin(x), aten::argmin(x)
aten::mish_ x * tanh(softplus(x))
aten::normal.Tensor_float transformation on rand()
aten::normal.Tensor_Tensor transformation on rand()
aten::pow.Scalar full + pow.Tensor_Tensor
aten::rand_like rand()
aten::randint rand()
aten::randint.low rand()
aten::randn_like rand()
aten::resize view()
aten::split.Tensor Decomp exists
aten::squeeze squeeze.dims
aten::std.correction sqrt(var(x))
aten::sum sum.dim_IntList(x, )
aten::unbind Decomp exists
aten::uniform_ transformation on rand()
aten::unsafe_split.Tensor split.Tensor
aten::var var.correction
aten::var_mean.correction return mean(x), var(x)

We invite you to review these decisions and let us know if there are any operators that you think are misclassified.

The framework we have been using to decide whether an operator should be part of the Core ATen operator set, or decomposed is described below. Note that these should be interpreted more as a set of “rule of thumb”s that guide decisions rather than dictating them.

  • The core operator set can only contain functional operators; therefore, in-place and out variant operators are excluded by default

    • During the export process, in-place operators and out variant operators will be replaced by the functional equivalent due to functionalization
      • e.g. aten::gelu_ will be functionalized into aten::gelu
  • Core ATen decompositions should be fairly straightforward; a decomposition should not cross into the territory of being an outright implementation of the operator being decomposed. For example, if a decomposition for an operator introduces many additional ops into the graph or requires several computations to produce the decomposition then we should prefer to add the operator as a core operator

    • Introducing many additional ops into the graph also has performance implications such as increasing memory read/writes during computation and needing to allocate more memory for intermediate tensors; for this reason, we prefer to keep decompositions simple
    • Decompositions is not the appropriate layer for complex implementation logic for specific operators; thus if a decomposition is possible but complex, we should prefer to retain the original operator
  • Decomposition must be deterministic; if a model is exported once, the decompositions applied must be valid even if the properties of the input tensor (such as tensor sizes and data type) are varied

    • As a general rule, it is fine for decompositions to use the rank of a tensor, since during the export process the rank of a tensor must be fixed.
    • It is also fine for tensors to use the symbolic shape of the tensor for the decomposition
  • Whether an operator is included in other stable operator sets, such as ONNX or StableHLO, is also a factor in our decisions. The goal here is to maximize compatibility with external frameworks.

Following Up

Of course, even after this iteration of development, there are still many ATen operators that we have not yet looked at. There are a long tail of specialized operators registered in the ATen library, and exhaustively inspecting each one will be extremely time consuming and may not be practical. We are hoping that after this iteration, most ops that will show up in models in practice will have been accounted for. Nonetheless, it is imperative that we set up a framework for how to evolve this operator set going forward.

To consider additional operators to be added to the core operator set, this can be quite straightforward:

  • Internally, we have a workchat group to coordinate discussion around the core ATen operator set; please let me know if you would like to be added. For internal use cases, discussion can occur in these forums.
  • Externally, we can monitor open source issues for specific operators that PyTorch clients want to be considered for adding to the core operator set.

A more complex evolution case is when the function schema of existing ops changes, or when additional ops are registered that enable decompositions that were not possible before.

  • When a function schema changes, this may result in additional ATen operators being added. If the schema of a core ATen op is changed, causing a variant of that op to be produced, then the added variant may need to be added as a core ATen operator as well. If the variant can be decomposed, then we should decompose it as part of the core ATen decomp table.
    • We are working of an op schema versioning system for PT2 export, similar to the TorchScript op versioning system, which can be relevant here.
  • When an additional op is added that enables certain decompositions, this may have the implication that some existing core ATen operators can now be decomposed. In these cases, the best choice may be to add the new operator as a core operator while retaining the existing core operators for the purposes of stability. The old core operators may then be periodically deprecated with significant PyTorch version updates.
    • One similar case to consider is if someone wishes to modify an existing decomposition rule in the Core ATen decomposition table that produces a different set of operators. Even if the new set of operators that are produced are still all a part of the Core ATen operator set, models which trigger the decomposition will now use an alternative operator set. This may have implications for model deployment, where users may employ selective build to include only the minimal set of operators required to execute the model. Thus, re-exporting the model may produce a model which contains operators that are not included in their build process. In this case, the best choice may be to use a similar approach; that is, to prefer keeping existing decompositions in the core ATen decomposition stable until significant Pytorch version updates.

As for evaluating additional operators, we plan to do this on an as-needed basis going forward. If there are operators that you would like us to consider adding to the core ATen operator set, please let us know!

cc: @SherlockNoMad, @Kimishpatel, @larryliu0820, @angelayi

7 Likes

Thank you for putting this together and for making the process a bit more public!

I’ve 2 questions:
For some ops, the .Scalar overload was added to the core ops (e.g., the bitwise ops), while the .Tensor overload was already there. What’s the reasoning to add them to core? Is it because they are common and thus creating a tensor and calling the .Tensor version would be too much overhead?

Regarding functionalization, is there a guarantee that a functional graph will be always generated?
If there’s complicated aliasing (e.g., through multiple views), we’ll just ship some preconditions to Dynamo as trace guards?

Thanks!

I have a few concerns regarding the new proposed Core ATen decompositions:

aten::_unsafe_index.Tensorindex.Tensor

aten::_unsafe_index was created as a hint to inductor that the indices originate from a decomposition rather than a user and as such it should be trusted. This means we don’t need to generate a tl.device_assert call checking it’s in bounds. Decomposing it to index.Tensor would result in worse performance.

aten::atan2atan(input / other)

This is incorrect as it doesn’t select the correct branch of the atan function, e.g. atan2(-x, -y) != atan2(x, y) and atan2(-x, y) != atan2(x, -y).

aten::diagonal

Decomposing views into as_strided should be discouraged because there is far more semantic information in the aten::diagonal call which inductor uses to generate much more efficient code.

aten::div.Tensor_mode, aten::floor_divide → floor(divide(x, y))

This decomposition gives different results from python’s floor division. Currently inductor does this decomposition, but I don’t think it should be baked in for export.

aten::expm1, aten::log10, aten::log1p(x), aten::log2

These are not just convenience functions, they give more numerical precision so shouldn’t be decomposed.

aten::var_mean.correctionreturn mean(x), var(x)

Inductor implements a single pass var_mean which already computes the mean, and is currently not CSE’d with mean. So this should result in worse performance.

1 Like

@nunoplopes

For some ops, the .Scalar overload was added to the core ops (e.g., the bitwise ops), while the .Tensor overload was already there. What’s the reasoning to add them to core? Is it because they are common and thus creating a tensor and calling the .Tensor version would be too much overhead?

I believe this is more so because the .Scalar variants were initially excluded from the list of ATen operators under consideration when developing the initial list of core operators. As for the reasoning for adding them to core, this was mostly based on the precedence that both the .Tensor and .Scalar variants of some operators were already included in the core IR list (for instance aten.add.Tensor and add.Scalar are currently both listed on IRs — PyTorch 2.0 documentation.

As you mention technically .Scalaroperator variants can be decomposed by constructing a 1-element tensor from the Scalar argument and then calling the .Tensor operator variant. However my personal feeling here is that

  1. I’m not sure if constructing/allocating a Tensor during a decomposition is (or should be) allowed
  2. Constructing/Allocating a tensor during a decomposition doesn’t quite feel right to me :sweat_smile:

Regarding functionalization, is there a guarantee that a functional graph will be always generated?
If there’s complicated aliasing (e.g., through multiple views), we’ll just ship some preconditions to Dynamo as trace guards?

Unfortunately, I am not an expert on Dynamo or functionalization; so I will redirect this question to @SherlockNoMad .

1 Like

@peterbell10

Yeah, that’s a good point. The main reason we chose to decompose _unsafe_index to index is because it seems that _unsafe_index was introduced specifically for Inductor, and we aren’t sure if it would still be applicable to other use cases, such as Executorch.

At least in the case of Inductor, _unsafe_index can simply be removed from the decomposition table to preserve _unsafe_index.

As for your comments around atan2, and aten::expm1, aten::log10, aten::log1p(x), aten::log2, those make sense; we will reconsider decomposing those operators by default. Likewise with aten::diagonal.

Ah, I see what you mean. For those curious, see here. So in that case, it appears that the decomposition should be a // b = (a - remainder(a, b)) / b instead.

Thus far we have been trying to avoid leaning on “performance” to justify not decomposing an operator whenever possible, since it is often use-case dependent (cc: @Kimishpatel). In this specific case having all of var_mean, var, and mean in the core operator set also seems redundant to me.

Of course, as with _unsafe_index Inductor can avoid including the decomposition of var_mean in the export process. But as you mention computed both var and mean is usually much more efficient in a single pass. So it may be better to not decompose var_mean and instead decompose var -> return var_mean()[1] and mean -> return var_mean()[0].

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Why is aten::mean’s decomp labelled as “difficult / impossible”? Isn’t it actually trivial to do in terms of sum + div.

Also, as Peter has metnioned, it’s not clear to me that we want to decompose ops like log1p. The initial rationale that went into PrimTorch was “if it’s in the C++ STL, it’ll be a prim”.

Regarding functionalization, is there a guarantee that a functional graph will be always generated?
If there’s complicated aliasing (e.g., through multiple views), we’ll just ship some preconditions to Dynamo as trace guards?

Hey @nunoplopes - that’s right. We will always guarantee a functional graph when you ask for core ATen IR.

More specifically:

  • any “internal” mutations in the program will be functionalized away. This includes, say, if you have two tensors that are aliased and you mutate one, we’ll make sure the right thing happens.

  • “input mutation” support is a bit special, e.g. if you have a model who’s forward pass mutates buffers. We will still fully functionalize the graph, but the updated buffers will show up as extra out puts in the forward graph, and export has some metadata telling you specifically which buffers were mutated and what outputs they map to.

  • you can imagine some crazier situations, where e.g your model takes in two inputs that are aliased to each other, and your model mutates them. This is actually supported in torch.compile, but banned when trying to export an aten graph (because it requires complicated calling convention changes, and is generally not common).

Thank you!

It’s just that we sometimes see some bytecode leftovers when compiling models. I’m thinking what we can do about that. Python bytecode isn’t the nicest thing to deal with.
Anyway, I’ll come back with some concrete proposals/questions.

1 Like

@Lezcano apologies for the late reply, I just returned from a vacation.

Why is aten::mean ’s decomp labelled as “difficult / impossible”? Isn’t it actually trivial to do in terms of sum + div.

From a mathematical perspective, it’s quite simple as you’ve pointed out. The challenge is that the decomposition needs to determine the number of elements to divide the sum by, which would require capturing that value as a symbolic Int and dividing the sum by it. Generally my aim was to avoid using symbolic ints representing tensor properties in computations; I will update the reasoning to reflect this.

Also, as Peter has metnioned, it’s not clear to me that we want to decompose ops like log1p . The initial rationale that went into PrimTorch was “if it’s in the C++ STL, it’ll be a prim”.

This is a fair point. I’m leaning towards taking this stance as well.

Then you should probably change the paragraph

It is also fine for tensors to use the symbolic shape of the tensor for the decomposition

as it reads as if dividing by a symint were allowed.

1 Like

@Lezcano sounds good, I plan on going through the list and providing more technical descriptions of why specific decompositions are not allowed.