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Option to disable -Ofast #1433

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FilippoC opened this Issue Aug 23, 2018 · 1 comment

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@FilippoC
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FilippoC commented Aug 23, 2018

Hello,

I am currently working on VAEs & parsing [1].
One requirement in this setting is to compute the entropy of the distribution over parse trees (i.e. for the KL divergence w.r.t. a flat prior).
To prevent computational errors (underflow, overflow, etc), we have to:

  • store signed values in log domain, see [2]
  • rely on careful implementation of operations like log(1+exp(x)), see [3]

However, the makefile of dynet forces the -Ofast option, which in turn force the -ffast-math option.
Therefore, we still encounter computational errors (e.g. exp(-92) results in an error).

To bypass this problem, I manually change the configuration and replace -Ofast with -O3 here:
https://github.com/clab/dynet/blob/master/CMakeLists.txt#L85

Would you accept a pull request that:

  • either replace -Ofast with -O3? (I think that Eigen use build in math operations, so it should not impact Dynet)
  • or add an option that controls CMake so the user can manually change it, e.g. -DGCC_O=3, -DGCC_O=fast, -DGCC_O=2, etc...

Note: To be clear, when I link my C++ program to Dynet, it changes the behavior of std::exp in my own code, which is annoying. It has nothing to do with any part of the code of Dynet, I am not talking about the dynet::exp operation.

[1] https://arxiv.org/abs/1807.09875
[2] http://www.cs.jhu.edu/~zfli/pubs/semiring_translation_zhifei_emnlp09.pdf
[3] https://cran.r-project.org/package=Rmpfr/vignettes/log1mexp-note.pdf

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neubig commented Aug 23, 2018

Hi, I think that this is a something worth considering. I've previously encountered problems related to this as well.

I think we'd need to profile to make sure it wasn't causing major performance issues though.

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