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# Automatic dierentiation

H avard Berland
Department of Mathematical Sciences, NTNU

## September 14, 2006

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Abstract
Automatic dierentiation is introduced to an audience with basic mathematical prerequisites. Numerical examples show the deency of divided dierence, and dual numbers serve to introduce the algebra being one example of how to derive automatic dierentiation. An example with forward mode is given rst, and source transformation and operator overloading is illustrated. Then reverse mode is briey sketched, followed by some discussion.
(45 minute talk)

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## What is automatic dierentiation?

Automatic dierentiation (AD) is software to transform code for one function into code for the derivative of the function. Automatic dierentiation

f(x) {...};
human programmer

df(x) {...};

y = f (x )

y = f (x )

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## Why automatic dierentiation?

Scientic code often uses both functions and their derivatives, for example Newtons method for solving (nonlinear) equations; nd The Newton iteration is xn+1 = xn f (xn ) f (xn ) x such that f (x ) = 0

But how to compute f (xn ) when we only know f (x )? Symbolic dierentiation? Divided dierence? Automatic dierentiation? Yes.

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Divided dierences

## By denition, the derivative is f (x ) = lim f (x + h) f (x ) h0 h

f (x + h) approximate exact

f (x ) x

x +h

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## Accuracy for divided dierences on f (x ) = x 3

error =
f (x + h ) f (x ) h

3x 2 useless accuracy
ni te p rec isio n e ula r rro
ce nt er e d

form

ce

di e r

## Automatic dierentiation will ensure desired accuracy.

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en

Dual numbers
Extend all numbers by adding a second component, x x +x d d is just a symbol distinguishing the second component, analogous to the imaginary unit i = 1. But, let d2 = 0, as opposed to i2 = 1. Arithmetic on dual numbers: d) + (y + y d) = x + y + (x +y )d (x + x
=0

(x + x d) (y + y d) = xy + x y d + xy d+x y d2
=0

(x + x d) (y + y d) = xy + x y d + xy d+x y d2 = xy + (x y + xy )d (x + x d) = x x d, 1 1 x = 2d x +x d x x (x = 0)
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## Polynomials over dual numbers

Let P (x ) = p0 + p1 x + p2 x 2 + + pn x n and extend x to a dual number x + x d. Then, P (x + x d) = p0 + p1 (x + x d) + + pn (x + x d)n = p0 + p1 x + p2 x 2 + + pn x n +p1 x d + 2p2 x x d + + npn x n1 x d = P (x ) + P (x )x d x may be chosen arbitrarily, so choose x = 1 (currently). The second component is the derivative of P (x ) at x

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## Functions over dual numbers

Similarly, one may derive d) = sin(x ) + cos(x ) x d sin(x + x cos(x + x d) = cos(x ) sin(x ) x d
d) e (x + x = ex + ex x d x log(x + x d) = log(x ) + d x = 0 x x x +x d = x + d x = 0 2 x

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## Conclusion from dual numbers

Derived from dual numbers: A function applied on a dual number will return its derivative in the second/dual component. We can extend to functions of many variables by introducing more dual components: f (x1 , x2 ) = x1 x2 + sin(x1 ) extends to 1 d1 , x2 + x 2 d2 ) = f (x1 + x (x1 + x 1 d1 )(x2 + x 2 d2 ) + sin(x1 + x 1 d1 ) = x1 x2 + (x2 + cos(x1 ))x 1 d1 + x1 x 2 d2 where di dj = 0.
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## Decomposition of functions, the chain rule

Computer code for f (x1 , x2 ) = x1 x2 + sin(x1 ) might read
Original program w1 w2 w3 w4 w5 = x1 = x2 = w1 w2 = sin(w1 ) = w3 + w4 Dual program w 1 w 2 w 3 w 4 w 5 =0 =1 =w 1 w2 + w1 w 2 = 0 x2 + x1 1 = x1 = cos(w1 )w 1 = cos(x1 ) 0 = 0 =w 3 + w 4 = x1 + 0 = x1

and

f = x1 x2

The chain rule f f w5 w3 w2 = x2 w 5 w 3 w 2 x2 ensures that we can propagate the dual components throughout the computation.
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## Realization of automatic dierentiation

Our current procedure: 1. Decompose original code into intrinsic functions 2. Dierentiate the intrinsic functions, eectively symbolically 3. Multiply together according to the chain rule How to automatically transform the original program into the dual program? Two approaches, Source code transformation (C, Fortran 77) Operator overloading (C++, Fortran 90)

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## Source code transformation by example

function.c
double f ( double x1 , double x2 ) { double w3 , w4 , w5 ; w3 = x1 * x2 ; w4 = sin ( x1 ); w5 = w3 + w4 ;

return w5 ; }

function.c

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## Source code transformation by example

diff function.c
double* f ( double x1 , double x2 , double dx1, double dx2) { double w3 , w4 , w5, dw3, dw4, dw5, df[2]; w3 = x1 * x2 ; dw3 = dx1 * x2 + x1 * dx2; w4 = sin ( x1 ); dw4 = cos(x1) * dx1; w5 = w3 + w4 ; dw5 = dw3 + dw4; df[0] = w5; df[1] = dw5; return df; }

function.c

diff function.o

C compiler
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function.c++
Number f ( Number x1 , Number x2 ) { w3 = x1 * x2 ; w4 = sin ( x1 ); w5 = w3 + w4 ; return w5 ; }

## function.c++ C++ compiler DualNumbers.h function.o

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Source code transformation: Possible in all computer languages Can be applied to your old legacy Fortran/C code. Allows easier compile time optimizations. Source code swell More dicult to code the AD tool Operator overloading: No changes in your original code Flexible when you change your code or tool Easy to code the AD tool Only possible in selected languages Current compilers lag behind, code runs slower
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We have until now only described forward mode AD. Repetition of the procedure using the computational graph: f (x1 , x2 ) w 5 = w 3 + w 4 Forward propagation of derivative values w5 w 4 = cos(w1 )w 1 w4 sin w 1 x1 d
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+ w 3 = w 1 w2 + w1 w 2 w3 w 2 x2
seeds, w 1, w 2 {0, 1}

w 1

The chain rule works in both directions. The computational graph is now traversed from the top. f (x1 , x2 ) Backward propagation of derivative values
=w f 5 = 1 (seed)

w5
w5 w 4 = w 5 5 1 w4 = w w4 sin a =w w 1 4 cos(w1 )

+
w5 w 3 = w 5 5 1 w3 = w

w3

w3 w 2 = w 3 3 w1 w2 = w

b w 1

=w 3 w2

x1 x 1 =
a w 1

x2 x 2 = x1 2 =w
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b w 1

= cos(x1 ) + x2 d

Jacobian computation
Given F : Rn Rm and the Jacobian J = DF (x) Rmn .
f1 x1 f1 xn

J = DF (x) =
fm x1 fm xn

One sweep of forward mode can calculate one column vector of the Jacobian, J x , where x is a column vector of seeds. One sweep of reverse mode can calculate one row vector of the Jacobian, yJ , where y is a row vector of seeds. Computational cost of one sweep forward or reverse is roughly equivalent, but reverse mode requires access to intermediate variables, requiring more memory.
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## Forward or reverse mode AD?

Reverse mode AD is best suited for F : Rn R Forward mode AD is best suited for G : R Rm

Forward and reverse mode represents just two possible (extreme) ways of recursing through the chain rule. For n > 1 and m > 1 there is a golden mean, but nding the optimal way is probably an NP-hard problem.

?
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Discussion

Accuracy is guaranteed and complexity is not worse than that of the original function. AD works on iterative solvers, on functions consisting of thousands of lines of code. AD is trivially generalized to higher derivatives. Hessians are used in some optimization algorithms. Complexity is quadratic in highest derivative degree. The alternative to AD is usually symbolic dierentiation, or rather using algorithms not relying on derivatives. Divided dierences may be just as good as AD in cases where the underlying function is based on discrete or measured quantities, or being the result of stochastic simulations.

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