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Version: develop

Debugging

To aid with debugging your parallel programs, Taichi has the following mechanisms:

  1. print in the Taichi scope checks the value of a variable.
  2. Serialization of your program or a specific parallel for loop.
  3. Activated with ti.init(debug=True), debug mode detects out-of-bound array accesses.
  4. Static or non-static assert verifies an assertion condition at compile time or runtime respectively.
  5. sys.tracebacklimit produces a conciser traceback.

Runtime print in Taichi scope

One of the most naive ways to debug code is to print particular messages to check how your code runs in different states. You can call print() in the Taichi scope to debug your program:

print(*args, sep='', end='\n')

When passed into a runtime print() in the Taichi scope, args can take string literal, scalar, vector, and matrix expressions.

For example:

@ti.kernel
def inside_taichi_scope():
x = 256
print('hello', x)
#=> hello 256

print('hello', x * 2 + 200)
#=> hello 712

print('hello', x, sep='')
#=> hello256

print('hello', x, sep='', end='')
print('world', x, sep='')
#=> hello256world256

m = ti.Matrix([[2, 3, 4], [5, 6, 7]])
print('m =', m)
#=> m = [[2, 3, 4], [5, 6, 7]]

v = ti.Vector([3, 4])
print('v =', v)
#=> v = [3, 4]

ray = ti.Struct({
"ori": ti.Vector([0.0, 0.0, 0.0]),
"dir": ti.Vector([0.0, 0.0, 1.0]),
"len": 1.0
})
# print(ray)
# Print a struct directly in Taichi-scope has not been supported yet
# Instead, use:
print('ray.ori =', ray.ori, ', ray.dir =', ray.dir, ', ray.len =', ray.len)
#=> ray.ori = [0.0, 0.0, 0.0], ray.dir = [0.0, 0.0, 1.0], ray.len = 1.0

Applicable backends

print in the Taichi scope is supported on the CPU, CUDA, and Vulkan backends only.

note

To enable printing on Vulkan, please

  • make sure the validation layer is installed via vulkan sdk.
  • turn on debug mode via ti.init(debug=True).

Printing is not supported on the macOS Vulkan backend.

Comma-separated strings only

Strings passed to print in the Taichi scope must be comma-separated. Neither f-strings nor formatted strings can be recognized. For example:

import taichi as ti
ti.init(arch=ti.cpu)
a = ti.field(ti.f32, 4)


@ti.kernel
def foo():
a[0] = 1.0
print('a[0] = ', a[0]) # right
print(f'a[0] = {a[0]}') # wrong: f-strings are not supported
print("a[0] = %f" % a[0]) # wrong: formatted strings are not supported

foo()

Compile-time ti.static_print

It can be useful to print Python objects and their properties like data types or SNodes in the Taichi scope. Similar to ti.static, which makes the compiler evaluate an argument at compile time (see the Metaprogramming for more information), ti.static_print prints compile-time constants in the Taichi scope:

x = ti.field(ti.f32, (2, 3))
y = 1

@ti.kernel
def inside_taichi_scope():
ti.static_print(y)
# => 1
ti.static_print(x.shape)
# => (2, 3)
ti.static_print(x.dtype)
# => DataType.float32
for i in range(4):
ti.static_print(i.dtype)
# => DataType.int32
# Only print once

In the Taichi scope, ti.static_print acts similarly to print. But unlike print, ti.static_print outputs the expression only once at compile time, incurring no runtime penalty.

Serial execution

Because threads are processed in random order, Taichi's automated parallelization may result in non-deterministic behaviour. Serializing program execution may be advantageous for debugging purposes, such as achieving reproducible results or identifying data races. You have the option of serialising the complete Taichi program or a single for loop.

Serialize an entire Taichi program

If you choose CPU as the backend, you can set cpu_max_num_thread=1 when initializing Taichi to serialize the program. Then the program runs on a single thread and its behavior becomes deterministic. For example:

ti.init(arch=ti.cpu, cpu_max_num_threads=1)

If your program works well in serial but fails in parallel, check if there are parallelization-related issues, such as data races.

Serialize a specified parallel for loop

By default, Taichi automatically parallelizes the for loops at the outermost scope in a Taichi kernel. But some scenarios require serial execution. In this case, you can prevent automatic parallelization with ti.loop_config(serialize=True). Note that only the outermost for loop that immediately follows this line is serialized. To illustrate:

import taichi as ti

ti.init(arch=ti.cpu)
n = 1024
val = ti.field(dtype=ti.i32, shape=n)

val.fill(1)

@ti.kernel
def prefix_sum():
ti.loop_config(serialize=True) # Serializes the next for loop
for i in range(1, n):
val[i] += val[i - 1]

for i in range(1, n): # Parallel for loop
val[i] += val[i - 1]

prefix_sum()
print(val)
note
  • ti.loop_config works only for the range-for loop at the outermost scope.

Out-of-bound array access

The array index out of bounds error occurs frequently. However, Taichi disables bounds checking by default and continues without generating a warning. As a result, a program with such an issue may provide incorrect results or possibly cause segmentation faults, making debugging difficult.

Taichi detects array index out of bound errors in debug mode. You can activate this mode by setting debug=True in the ti.init() call:

import taichi as ti
ti.init(arch=ti.cpu, debug=True)
f = ti.field(dtype=ti.i32, shape=(32, 32))
@ti.kernel
def test() -> ti.i32:
return f[0, 73]

print(test())

The code snippet above raises a TaichiAssertionError because you are trying to access elements from a field of shape (32, 32) with indices [0, 73].

note

Automatic bound checks are supported on the CPU and CUDA beckends only.

Your program performance may worsen if you set debug=True.

Runtime assert in Taichi scope

You can use assert statements in the Taichi scope to verify the assertion conditions. If an assertion fails, the program throws a TaichiAssertionError.

note

assert is currently supported on the CPU, CUDA, and Metal backends.

Ensure that you activate debug mode before using assert statements in the Taichi scope:

import taichi as ti
ti.init(arch=ti.cpu, debug=True)

x = ti.field(ti.f32, 128)
x.fill(-1)

@ti.kernel
def do_sqrt_all():
for i in x:
assert x[i] >= 0, f"The {i}-th element cannot be negative"
x[i] = ti.sqrt(x[i])

do_sqrt_all()

When you are done with debugging, set debug=False. Then, the program ignores all assert statements in the Taichi scope, which can avoid additional runtime overhead.

Compile-time ti.static_assert

Besides ti.static_print, Taichi also provides a static version of assert: ti.static_assert, which may be used to create assertions on data types, dimensionality, and shapes.

ti.static_assert(cond, msg=None)

It works whether or not debug=True is used. A false ti.static_assert statement, like a false assert statement in the Python scope, causes an AssertionError, as shown below:

@ti.func
def copy(dst: ti.template(), src: ti.template()):
ti.static_assert(dst.shape == src.shape, "copy() needs src and dst fields to be same shape")
for I in ti.grouped(src):
dst[I] = src[I]

Conciser tracebacks in Taichi scope

Taichi reports the traceback of an error in the Taichi scope. For example, the code snippet below triggers an AssertionError, with a lengthy traceback message:

import taichi as ti
ti.init()

@ti.func
def func3():
ti.static_assert(1 + 1 == 3)

@ti.func
def func2():
func3()

@ti.func
def func1():
func2()

@ti.kernel
def func0():
func1()

func0()

Output:

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/ast/ast_transformer_utils.py", line 23, in __call__
return method(ctx, node)
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/ast/ast_transformer.py", line 342, in build_Call
node.ptr = node.func.ptr(*args, **keywords)
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/impl.py", line 471, in static_assert
assert cond
AssertionError

During handling of the above exception, another exception occurred:

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/ast/ast_transformer_utils.py", line 23, in __call__
return method(ctx, node)
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/ast/ast_transformer.py", line 360, in build_Call
node.ptr = node.func.ptr(*args, **keywords)
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/kernel_impl.py", line 59, in decorated
return fun.__call__(*args)
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/kernel_impl.py", line 178, in __call__
ret = transform_tree(tree, ctx)
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/ast/transform.py", line 8, in transform_tree
ASTTransformer()(ctx, tree)
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/ast/ast_transformer_utils.py", line 26, in __call__
raise e
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/ast/ast_transformer_utils.py", line 23, in __call__
return method(ctx, node)
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/ast/ast_transformer.py", line 488, in build_Module
build_stmt(ctx, stmt)
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/ast/ast_transformer_utils.py", line 26, in __call__
raise e
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/ast/ast_transformer_utils.py", line 23, in __call__
return method(ctx, node)
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/ast/ast_transformer.py", line 451, in build_FunctionDef
build_stmts(ctx, node.body)
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/ast/ast_transformer.py", line 1086, in build_stmts
build_stmt(ctx, stmt)
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/ast/ast_transformer_utils.py", line 26, in __call__
raise e
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/ast/ast_transformer_utils.py", line 23, in __call__
return method(ctx, node)
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/ast/ast_transformer.py", line 964, in build_Expr
build_stmt(ctx, node.value)
File "/Users/lanhaidong/taichi/taichi/python/taichi/lang/ast/ast_transformer_utils.py", line 32, in __call__
raise TaichiCompilationError(msg)
taichi.lang.exception.TaichiCompilationError: File "misc/demo_traceback.py", line 10:
ti.static_assert(1 + 1 == 3)
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
AssertionError:

...

It takes time to read through the message. In addition, many stack frames reveal implementation details, which are irrelevant to debugging.

Taichi allows you to access a conciser and more intuitive version of traceback messages via sys.tracebacklimit:

import taichi as ti
import sys
sys.tracebacklimit=0
...

The traceback contains the following information only:

AssertionError

During handling of the above exception, another exception occurred:

taichi.lang.exception.TaichiCompilationError: File "misc/demo_traceback.py", line 10:
ti.static_assert(1 + 1 == 3)
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
AssertionError:

...

However, always unset sys.tracebacklimit and submit the full traceback messages when filing an issue with us.

Debugging tips

The above built-in tools cannot guarantee a smooth debugging experience, though. Here, we conclude some common bugs that one may encounter in a Taichi program.

Static type system

Taichi translates Python code into a statically typed language for high performance. Therefore, code in the Taichi scope may behave differently from native Python code, especially when it comes to variable types.

In the Taichi scope, the type of a variable is determined upon initialization and never changes afterwards.

Although Taichi's static typing system delivers a better performance, it may lead to unexpected results if you fail to specify the correct types. For example, the code below leads to an unexpected result due to a misuse of Taichi's static typing system. The Taichi compiler shows a warning::

@ti.kernel
def buggy():
ret = 0 # 0 is an integer, so `ret` is typed as int32
for i in range(3):
ret += 0.1 * i # i32 += f32, the result is still stored in int32!
print(ret) # will show 0

buggy()

Output:

[W 06/27/20 21:43:51.853] [type_check.cpp:visit@66] [$19] Atomic add (float32 to int32) may lose precision.

This means that a precision loss occurs when Taichi converts a float32 result to int32. The solution is to initialize ret as a floating-point value:

@ti.kernel
def not_buggy():
ret = 0.0 # 0 is a floating point number, so `ret` is typed as float32
for i in range(3):
ret += 0.1 * i # f32 += f32. OK!
print(ret) # will show 0.6

not_buggy()

Advanced Optimization

By default, Taichi runs a number of advanced IR optimizations to maximize the performance of your Taichi kernels. However, advanced optimizations may occasionally lead to compilation errors, such as:

RuntimeError: [verify.cpp:basic_verify@40] stmt 8 cannot have operand 7.

You can use the ti.init(advanced_optimization=False) setting to turn off advanced optimizations and see if it makes a difference. If this issue persists, feel free to report it on GitHub.