JET is a different approach to make numeric python substantially faster
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JET - compiling NumPy

The JET library offers a simple way to make Python, and especially NumPy code run faster. This is achieved by transparently converting Python/NumPy operations to performant C++.


The design of JET is inspired by TensorFlow and Theano, two machine learning libraries that work on a computation graph. JET internally also creates a computation graph and converts that to C++. This works by leveraging Pythons operator overloading, instead of calculating something, adding the specific operation to the computation graph.

The computation graph is represented as a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG). Nodes of the graph represent a specific operation and edges are the data that flows between the nodes.

Use Case

Significant speed-up is achieved for non-parallelizable functions such as physical models. For parallelizable functions please consider using TensorFlow.

Instead of calling a huge, math-heavy Python/NumPy simulation model on every iteration JET packs the whole model in a single performant C++ function which results in an enormous speed-up (up to 60-fold speed up was observed in a simulation of a math-heavy quadcopter-model).

from jet.jit import jit

import scipy.integrate
from simulation_model import state_derivatives, init_state, time_vec

jet_state_derivatives = jit(state_derivatives)

states = scipy.integrate.odeint(


Run the post-install script using the JET-cli:

sudo jet --install-dependencies

Note: Is currently only tested on Ubuntu (known to be broken on macOS).

Tutorial Style Introduction

JET gives you a few operators to use, modelled after TensorFlow.

The jet.placeholder is a operator that will later be an input to the generated function. A jet.variable is a state that is attached to the JetClass you are instantiating. It can be modified like a class member of a Python class. And the last special variable is the jet.constant. A constant is, once compiled, not modifiable anymore.

The following example will guide you through the main principles of JET.

import jet as jt

ph  = jt.placeholder(name='holder', shape=(3, 3))
var   = jt.variable(name='variable', value=np.zeros((2, 1)))
const = jt.constant(name='constant', value=1.5)

op = ph[1, 1] + ph[0:2, 0:2] * var + const
out0 = jt.concatenate((var, op), axis=1)
out1 = jt.linalg.norm(var)
ph[0:2, 0:1] = var

from jet.burn import draw

This will create the following computation graph:

The dotted grey edges ensure that their head is executed after their tail.

from jet.compressor import JetBuilder
jb = JetBuilder(out=[out0, out1], fun_name='test', file_name='test_jet')

Starting at the out-nodes, JetBuilder traverses the graph backwards and collects all nodes necessary to compute the output-values.

test_source = jb.to_cpp()
print(test_source)  # this is the real C++ that got generated

This will output the following auto-generated C++ code:

#include <cmath>
#include <tuple>
#include <vector>
#include <string>
#include <armadillo>
#include <iostream>

#include <pybind11/pybind11.h>
#include <pybind11/stl.h>
#include "armadillo.h"
#include "supportlib.h"

using namespace arma;
using namespace std;

// constants
constexpr double constant = 1.5;

class TestClass {
  // member variables
  mat::fixed<2, 1> variable = {0.0, 0.0};

  tuple<mat::fixed<2, 3>, double>
  test(mat::fixed<3, 3> holder) {

    mat::fixed<2, 2> View = holder(span(0, 1), span(0, 1)).eval();
    double Norm = norm(variable);
    mat::fixed<2, 2> Add_0 =
        ((holder.eval()(1, 1)) + (View.eval().each_col() % variable))
        + constant;
    mat::fixed<2, 3> Concatenate = join_rows(variable, Add_0);

    return make_tuple(Concatenate, Norm);

namespace py = pybind11;
void pyexport(py::module &m) { // Python glue
  py::class_<TestClass>(m, "TestClass")
      .def(py::init<>()) // initialisation
      .def("test", &TestClass::test) // Access to function
      .def("args", [](TestClass &) {
          return std::vector<std::string>{"holder"}; }) // String-vector containing the ordered argument names
      .def_readwrite("variable", &TestClass::variable); // Access to variable

We can compile the source code using build which returns the compiled and imported Python module:

test_module =
test_class = test_module.TestClass()

# adjustable class member 'variable':
test_class.variable = np.array([1, 2])

# calling our function
print test_class.test(np.ones((3,3)))

This prints the following output-tuple:

(array([[ 1. ,  3.5,  3.5],
        [ 2. ,  4.5,  4.5]]), 2.23606797749979)

Comparing with NumPy:

import numpy as np # numpy to compare

ph = np.ones((3,3))
var = np.array([[1], [2]])
const = 1.5

op = ph[1, 1] + ph[0:2, 0:2] * var + const
out0 = np.concatenate((var, op), axis=1)
out1 = np.linalg.norm(var)
ph[0:2, 0:1] = var

print out0, out1

gives us the following output:

[[ 1.   3.5  3.5]
 [ 2.   4.5  4.5]] 2.2360679775


The quickest way to speed up a function with JET is by using the JIT (Just-In-Time compiler) decorator:

from jet import jit
import numpy as np

@jit((2,), ()) # or @jit, @jit()
def calc(a, b):
    c = a + b
    return c

print(calc(np.array([1, 2]), 2))

The @jit decorator takes the function argument shapes as tuple parameters. JET will detect the shapes by evaluating the input arguments if no shapes are passed to the decorator.

Supported shapes:

  • scalar: ()
  • vector: (n,)
  • matrix: (n, m)

Migrating from a NumPy-project

When migrating from a NumPy project there are minor steps which must be taken:

  • Replace NumPy operations with JET operations. Usually replacing import numpy as np with import jet as np is sufficient. You don't have to replace constants such as np.array([1, 2]) with JET-arrays.
  • Decorate all top-level functions with the JIT-decorator (or manually pass placeholders like in the tutorial above).


import numpy as np

def sub_func(a):
    return a * 2

def func(a, b):
    c = sub_func(a) + b
    return, c)

print(func(np.array([1, 2]), 2))


import jet as np
from jet.jit import jit

def sub_func(a):
    return a * 2

def func(a, b):
    c = sub_func(a) + b
    return, c)

import numpy
print(func(numpy.array([1, 2]), 2))

Supported operations

Note: The biggest problem is that some control-flow operations are not supported. For example, it is not possible to use if - else or while and for statements. As workaround for if - else the NumPy command where is currently provided.

jet.array: Base array class which emulates NumPy arrays. Variables, Constants and Placeholders are derived from this class.

Member attributes of array class: Unique name of the array.

array.dtype: Data type of the array.

array.shape: Shape of the array.

array.ndim: Number of dimensions of the array (equivalent to len(array.shape)).

array.producer: Returns a JET-specific operation-object which produced the array.

Member functions of array class:

array.transpose() or array.T: Transpose the array.

array.copy(): Create a copy of the array.

array.ravel(): Convert array to one dimensional representation.

array.reshape(): Reshape array.

+, -, *, /, **, +=,-=, *=, /=, **=, ==, !=, <, <=, >, >=: Overloaded Python operators.

array views and slices:

Elements of an array can be set using the usual NumPy assignment operations, such as:

a = jt.array([[1,2,3], [4,5,6]])
a[0, 0] = 100 # call of __setitem__
a[:, 1] = np.array([10, 20])

In the same spirit, the array can be sliced for operations:

b = np.array([1,2,3])
c = b + a[0, :] # call of __getitem__

However, one important distinction is that array slicing does not create views as flexible as NumPys. The following will not change a as it would in Python.

v = a[0, :]
v[0] = 100

Also, slices with steps or negative values are currently not supported (e.g. 1:3:-2).

Built-in functions:

abs(array): Elementwise absolute value operation.

len(array): Returns the length of the first dimension (equivalent to array.shape[0])

JET constans:

All NumPy constants such as pi and inf are supported.

JET functions:

add, subtract, multiply, divide, power(x, y): Elementary binary operations.

negative, reciprocal(x): Elementary unary operations.

fabs, sqrt, square, exp, log(x): Elementwise unary operations.

sin, cos, tan, arcsin, arccos, arctan(x): Elementwise trigonometry operations.

mod, atan2(x, y): Elementwise binary operations.

maximum, minimum(x, y): Extract maximum/minimum (does not work elementwise currently).

sign(x): Extract sign of x (does not work elementwise currently).

matmul, dot, cross(x, y): Vector and matrix operations.

eye(n): Creation of a nxn identity matrix.

zeros, ones(size): Creation of matrices with specified fill value (size can be a shape-tuple or vector-length-integer).

clip(val, min, max): Clip value elementwise between min and max.

where(cond, x, y): Return x or y depending on the evaluation of cond. If True, return x, otherwise y.

concatenate((x1, x2, ...), axis=0): Concatenate values along axis.

vstack((x1, x2, ...)): Identical to concatenate(tup, axis=0).

hstack((x1, x2, ...)): Identical to concatenate(tup, axis=1).

logical_and, logical_or, logical_xor(x, y): Logical operator functions.

logical_not(x): Logical not function.

linalg class:

linalg.solve(lhs, rhs): Solve linear System lhs * x = rhs for x.

linalg.norm(x, order=2): Return norm of vector x. Only vector and 2nd order norm supported currently.

random class:

random.normal(mean=0, sd=1): Draw random samples from a normal (Gaussian) distribution. mean and sd can be vectors.

Set JET Options

We can specify with which mode JET is flying when running a script which imports JET using the set_options function:


jet_mode: Fly Mach 2 with JET. If this flag is not set JET will run using NumPy instead.

debug: Print what JET is doing. Every variable from the auto- generated C++ code is printed in the console along with an identifier from the auto-generated C++ code.

no_merge If not set, JET will merge some operations such as addition and multiplication into one execution statement in the auto-generated C++ code.

draw_graph: Draw the JET-graph. A dot graph of the JET-function is stored in the 'jet-graph' folder.

draw_graph_raw: Draw the raw jet-graph. A dot graph of the JET- function is stored in the 'jet-graph' folder without cleaning out the unused nodes.

group_class: Group nodes from the same class in graph-drawing.

group_func: Group nodes from the same function in the graph- drawing.

DTYPE: Basic float type such as numpy.float32 or numpy.float64.


usage: jet [-h] [-c] [--install-dependencies] [-v]

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -c, --clean           delete all files generated by JET
                        install JET dependencies
  -v, --version         show version number


Dependency Description
Armadillo Currently, Armadillo is used as library for matrix operations. It gets automatically installed when building the package with Catkin
CMake Tool required to build Armadillo
BLAS and LAPACK Linear algebra libraries required by Armadillo
PyGraphviz Graph visualization tool is used to create a .dot-file representation of JET's computation graph
Graphviz Required by PyGraphviz
NetworkX JET's computation graph is stored using NetworkX.
ClangFormat Used to auto-format the C++ code


When you compile a graph, the first thing that happens is that all nodes that lead to the specified outputs are collected. Then they are topologically sorted, which makes sure that all operations appear in the correct order. One simple optimization happens, which merges specific operations together to make use of Armadillos lazy evaluation strategy.

Internally, pybind11 and cppimport are used to generate the C++ to Python glue.