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Version: v1.1.0

Differences between Taichi and Python Programs

Although Taichi uses Python as the frontend, it follows a different set of rules in many aspects, including:

  1. Taichi only supports return statement outside non-static if/for/while scope in the program
  2. Variables defined inside an if/for/while block cannot be accessed outside the block.
  3. Taichi does not fully support some language features of Python.

Return statement and return type annotation

  • If a Taichi kernel/function does not have a return statement, it must not have return type annotation.
  • If a Taichi kernel has a return statement, it must have return type annotation.
  • If a Taichi function has a return statement, return type annotation is recommended, and it will be mandatory in the future.
@ti.kernel
def error_kernel_no_return_annotation():
return 0 # Error: Have return statement but have no return type annotation

@ti.kernel
def error_kernel_no_return() -> ti.i32: # Error: Have return type annotation but have no return statement
pass

@ti.func
def error_func_no_return() -> ti.i32: # Error: Have return type annotation but have no return statement
pass
  • The return statement can not be in a scope of non-static if/for/while.
@ti.kernel
def error_return_inside_non_static_if(a: ti.i32) -> ti.i32:
if a:
return 1 # Error: Return statement inside if scope
  • The compiler discards code after the first return statement.
@ti.kernel
def discarded_after_first_return(a: ti.i32) -> ti.i32:
return 1
if a: # Discarded
return 1 # Discarded

discarded_after_first_return(0) # OK: returns 1
  • If there are compile-time evaluations in the code, make sure there is a return statement under all circumstances. Otherwise, error occurs when a branch is chosen which does not have return statement.
@ti.kernel
def return_inside_static_if(a: ti.template()) -> ti.i32:
if ti.static(a):
return 1
return 0

return_inside_static_if(1) # OK: Returns 1
return_inside_static_if(0) # OK: Returns 0

@ti.kernel
def return_inside_static_if_no_return_outside(a: ti.template()) -> ti.i32:
if ti.static(a):
return 1

return_inside_static_if_no_return_outside(1) # OK: Returns 1
return_inside_static_if_no_return_outside(0) # Error: No return statement

@ti.kernel
def ok_return_inside_static_for() -> ti.i32:
a = 0
for i in ti.static(range(10)): # Static for
a += i
if ti.static(i == 8): # Static if
return a # OK: Returns 36

Variable scoping

In Python, a variable defined inside an if/for/while block can be accessed outside the block. However, in Taichi, the variables can only be accessed within the block it is defined.

@ti.kernel
def error_access_var_outside_for() -> ti.i32:
for i in range(10):
a = i
return a # Error: variable "a" not found

@ti.kernel
def error_access_var_outside_if(a: ti.i32) -> ti.i32:
if a:
b = 1
else:
b = 2
return b # Error: variable "b" not found

@ti.kernel
def ok_define_var_before_if(a: ti.i32) -> ti.i32:
b = 0
if a:
b = 1
else:
b = 2
return b # OK: "b" is defined before "if"

ok_define_var_before_if(0) # Returns 2

Unsupported/partially supported Python language features

Set, list, dictionary and operator in

Currently, Taichi does not support set.

List and dictionary before assigning to a variable works as the python list and dictionary. However, after assigning to a variable, the content of the list and the values (not keys) of the dictionary are converted to Taichi variables.

Taichi does not have a runtime implementation of in currently. Therefore, operator in and not in only works in static scope (inside ti.static()).

@ti.kernel
def list_without_assign() -> ti.i32:
if ti.static(1 in [1, 2]): # [1, 2]
return 1
return 0

list_without_assign() # Returns 1

@ti.kernel
def list_assigned() -> ti.i32:
a = [1, 2] # a: [Variable(1), Variable(2)]
if ti.static(1 in a): # 1 is not in [Variable(1), Variable(2)]
return 1
return 0

list_assigned() # Returns 0

@ti.kernel
def error_non_static_in():
if i in [1, 2]: # Error: Cannot use `in` outside static scope
pass

Comprehensions

Taichi partially supports list comprehension and dictionary comprehension, but does not support set comprehension.

For list comprehensions and dictionary comprehensions, the ifs and fors in them are evaluated at compile time. The iterators and conditions are implicitly in static scope.

Operator is

Currently, Taichi does not support operator is and is not.