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Getting Started

Welcome to the Taichi Language documentation!

Installation#

To get started with the Taichi Language, simply install it with pip:

python3 -m pip install taichi
note

Currently, Taichi only supports Python 3.6/3.7/3.8 (64-bit).

There are a few of extra requirements depend on which operating system you are using:

On Ubuntu 19.04+, you need to install libtinfo5:

sudo apt install libtinfo5

Please refer to the Installation Troubleshooting section if you run into any issues when installing Taichi.

Hello, world!#

We introduce the Taichi programming language through a very basic fractal example.

Running the Taichi code below using either python3 fractal.py or ti example fractal (you can find more information about the Taichi CLI in the Command line utilities section) will give you an animation of Julia set:

image

fractal.py
import taichi as ti
ti.init(arch=ti.gpu)
n = 320pixels = ti.field(dtype=float, shape=(n * 2, n))
@ti.funcdef complex_sqr(z):    return ti.Vector([z[0]**2 - z[1]**2, z[1] * z[0] * 2])
@ti.kerneldef paint(t: float):    for i, j in pixels:  # Parallized over all pixels        c = ti.Vector([-0.8, ti.cos(t) * 0.2])        z = ti.Vector([i / n - 1, j / n - 0.5]) * 2        iterations = 0        while z.norm() < 20 and iterations < 50:            z = complex_sqr(z) + c            iterations += 1        pixels[i, j] = 1 - iterations * 0.02
gui = ti.GUI("Julia Set", res=(n * 2, n))
for i in range(1000000):    paint(i * 0.03)    gui.set_image(pixels)    gui.show()

Let's dive into this simple Taichi program.

import taichi as ti#

Taichi is a domain-specific language (DSL) embedded in Python.

To make Taichi as easy to use as a Python package, we have done heavy engineering with this goal in mind - letting every Python programmer write Taichi programs with minimal learning effort.

You can even use your favorite Python package management system, Python IDEs and other Python packages in conjunction with Taichi.

# Run on GPU, automatically detect backendti.init(arch=ti.gpu)
# Run on GPU, with the NVIDIA CUDA backendti.init(arch=ti.cuda)# Run on GPU, with the OpenGL backendti.init(arch=ti.opengl)# Run on GPU, with the Apple Metal backend, if you are on macOSti.init(arch=ti.metal)
# Run on CPU (default)ti.init(arch=ti.cpu)
info

Supported backends on different platforms:

platformCPUCUDAOpenGLMetalC source
WindowsOKOKOKN/AN/A
LinuxOKOKOKN/AOK
macOSOKN/AN/AOKN/A

(OK: supported; N/A: not available)

With arch=ti.gpu, Taichi will first try to run with CUDA. If CUDA is not supported on your machine, Taichi will fall back on Metal or OpenGL. If no GPU backend (CUDA, Metal, or OpenGL) is supported, Taichi will fall back on CPUs.

note

When used with the CUDA backend on Windows or ARM devices (e.g., NVIDIA Jetson), Taichi allocates 1 GB GPU memory for field storage by default.

You can override this behavior by initializing with ti.init(arch=ti.cuda, device_memory_GB=3.4) to allocate 3.4 GB GPU memory, or ti.init(arch=ti.cuda, device_memory_fraction=0.3) to allocate 30% of the total GPU memory.

On other platforms, Taichi will make use of its on-demand memory allocator to allocate memory adaptively.

Fields#

Taichi is a data-oriented programming language where dense or spatially-sparse fields are the first-class citizens. See Scalar fields for more details on fields.

In the code above, pixels = ti.field(dtype=float, shape=(n * 2, n)) allocates a 2D dense field named pixels of size (640, 320) and element data type float.

Functions and kernels#

Computation resides in Taichi kernels and Taichi functions.

Taichi kernels are defined with the decorator @ti.kernel. They can be called from Python to perform computation. Kernel arguments must be type-hinted (if any).

Taichi functions are defined with the decorator @ti.func. They can only be called by Taichi kernels or other Taichi functions.

See syntax for more details about Taichi kernels and functions.

The language used in Taichi kernels and functions looks exactly like Python, yet the Taichi frontend compiler converts it into a language that is compiled, statically-typed, lexically-scoped, parallel and differentiable.

info

Taichi-scopes v.s. Python-scopes:

Everything decorated with @ti.kernel and @ti.func is in Taichi-scope and hence will be compiled by the Taichi compiler.

Everything else is in Python-scope. They are simply Python native code.

caution

Taichi kernels must be called from the Python-scope. Taichi functions must be called from the Taichi-scope.

tip

For those who come from the world of CUDA, ti.func corresponds to __device__ while ti.kernel corresponds to __global__.

note

Nested kernels are not supported.

Nested functions are supported.

Recursive functions are not supported for now.

Parallel for-loops#

For loops at the outermost scope in a Taichi kernel is automatically parallelized. For loops can have two forms, i.e. range-for loops and struct-for loops.

Range-for loops are no different from Python for loops, except that they will be parallelized when used at the outermost scope. Range-for loops can be nested.

@ti.kerneldef fill():    for i in range(10): # Parallelized        x[i] += i
        s = 0        for j in range(5): # Serialized in each parallel thread            s += j
        y[i] = s
@ti.kerneldef fill_3d():    # Parallelized for all 3 <= i < 8, 1 <= j < 6, 0 <= k < 9    for i, j, k in ti.ndrange((3, 8), (1, 6), 9):        x[i, j, k] = i + j + k
note

It is the loop at the outermost scope that gets parallelized, not the outermost loop.

@ti.kerneldef foo():    for i in range(10): # Parallelized :-)        ...
@ti.kerneldef bar(k: ti.i32):    if k > 42:        for i in range(10): # Serial :-(            ...

Struct-for loops are particularly useful when iterating over (sparse) field elements. In the fractal.py above, for i, j in pixels loops over all the pixel coordinates, i.e., (0, 0), (0, 1), (0, 2), ... , (0, 319), (1, 0), ..., (639, 319).

note

Struct-for is the key to sparse computation in Taichi, as it will only loop over active elements in a sparse field. In dense fields, all elements are active.

caution

Struct-for loops must live at the outer-most scope of kernels.

It is the loop at the outermost scope that gets parallelized, not the outermost loop.

@ti.kerneldef foo():    for i in x:        ...
@ti.kerneldef bar(k: ti.i32):    # The outermost scope is a `if` statement    if k > 42:        for i in x: # Not allowed. Struct-fors must live in the outermost scope.            ...
caution

break is not supported in parallel loops:

@ti.kerneldef foo():  for i in x:      ...      break # Error!
  for i in range(10):      ...      break # Error!
@ti.kerneldef foo():  for i in x:      for j in range(10):          ...          break # OK!

Interacting with other Python packages#

Python-scope data access#

Everything outside Taichi-scopes (ti.func and ti.kernel) is simply Python code. In Python-scopes, you can access Taichi field elements using plain indexing syntax. For example, to access a single pixel of the rendered image in Python-scope, you can simply use:

import taichi as tipixels = ti.field(ti.f32, (1024, 512))
pixels[42, 11] = 0.7  # store data into pixelsprint(pixels[42, 11]) # prints 0.7

Sharing data with other packages#

Taichi provides helper functions such as from_numpy and to_numpy to transfer data between Taichi fields and NumPy arrays, so that you can also use your favorite Python packages (e.g., numpy, pytorch, matplotlib) together with Taichi as below:

import taichi as tipixels = ti.field(ti.f32, (1024, 512))
import numpy as nparr = np.random.rand(1024, 512)pixels.from_numpy(arr)   # load numpy data into taichi fields
import matplotlib.pyplot as pltarr = pixels.to_numpy()  # store taichi data into numpy arraysplt.imshow(arr)plt.show()
import matplotlib.cm as cmcmap = cm.get_cmap('magma')gui = ti.GUI('Color map')while gui.running:    render_pixels()    arr = pixels.to_numpy()    gui.set_image(cmap(arr))    gui.show()

See Interacting with external arrays for more details.

What's next?#

Now we have gone through core features of the Taichi programming language using the fractal example, feel free to dive into the language concepts in the next section, or jump to the advanced topics, such as the Metaprogramming or Differentiable programming. Remember that you can use the search bar at the top right corner to search for topics or keywords at any time!

If you are interested in joining the Taichi community, we strongly recommend you take some time to familiarize yourself with our contribution guide.

We hope you enjoy your adventure with Taichi!