Simultaneous Coloring For Separable Problems¶
When OpenMDAO solves for total derivatives, it loops over either design variables in ‘fwd’ mode or responses in ‘rev’ mode. For each of those variables, it performs a linear solve for each member of that variable, so for a scalar variable there would be only a single linear solve, and there would be N solves for an array variable of size N.
Certain problems have a special kind of sparsity structure in the total derivative Jacobian that allows OpenMDAO to solve for multiple derivatives simultaneously. This results in far fewer linear solves and muchimproved performance. These problems are said to have separable variables. The concept of separability is explained in the Theory Manual.
Simultaneous derivative coloring in OpenMDAO can be performed either statically or dynamically.
When mode is set to ‘fwd’ or ‘rev’, a unidirectional coloring algorithm is used to group columns or rows, respectively, for simultaneous derivative calculation. The algorithm used in this case is the greedy algorithm with ordering by incidence degree found in T. F. Coleman and J. J. More, Estimation of sparse Jacobian matrices and graph coloring problems, SIAM J. Numer. Anal., 20 (1983), pp. 187–209.
When using simultaneous derivatives, setting mode=’auto’ will indicate that bidirectional coloring should be used. Bidirectional coloring can significantly decrease the number of linear solves needed to generate the total Jacobian relative to coloring only in fwd or rev mode.
For more information on the bidirectional coloring algorithm, see T. F. Coleman and A. Verma, The efficient computation of sparse Jacobian matrices using automatic differentiation, SIAM J. Sci. Comput., 19 (1998), pp. 1210–1233.
Note
Bidirectional coloring is a new feature and should be considered experimental at this point.
Dynamic Coloring¶
Dynamic coloring computes the derivative colors at runtime, shortly after the driver begins the optimization. This has the advantage of simplicity and robustness to changes in the model, but adds the cost of the coloring computation to the run time of the optimization. For a typical optimization, however, this cost will be small. Activating dynamic coloring is simple. Just set the dynamic_simul_derivs option on the driver. For example:
prob.driver.options['dynamic_simul_derivs'] = True
If you want to change the number of compute_totals calls that the coloring algorithm uses to compute the jacobian sparsity (default is 3), you can set the dynamic_derivs_repeats option. For example:
prob.driver.options['dynamic_derivs_repeats'] = 2
Whenever a dynamic coloring is computed, the coloring is written to a file called coloring.json for later inspection and/or ‘static’ use.
Static Coloring¶
To get rid of the runtime cost of computing the coloring, you can precompute it and tell the
driver what coloring to use by calling the set_simul_deriv_color
method on your
Driver.

Driver.
set_simul_deriv_color
(simul_info)[source] Set the coloring (and possibly the subjac sparsity) for simultaneous total derivatives.
Parameters:  simul_info : str or dict
# Information about simultaneous coloring for design vars and responses. If a # string, then simul_info is assumed to be the name of a file that contains the # coloring information in JSON format. If a dict, the structure looks like this: { "fwd": [ # First, a list of column index lists, each index list representing columns # having the same color, except for the very first index list, which contains # indices of all columns that are not colored. [ [i1, i2, i3, ...] # list of noncolored columns [ia, ib, ...] # list of columns in first color [ic, id, ...] # list of columns in second color ... # remaining color lists, one list of columns per color ], # Next is a list of lists, one for each column, containing the nonzero rows for # that column. If a column is not colored, then it will have a None entry # instead of a list. [ [r1, rn, ...] # list of nonzero rows for column 0 None, # column 1 is not colored [ra, rb, ...] # list of nonzero rows for column 2 ... ], ], # This example is not a bidirectional coloring, so the opposite direction, "rev" # in this case, has an empty row index list. It could also be removed entirely. "rev": [[[]], []], "sparsity": # The sparsity entry can be absent, indicating that no sparsity structure is # specified, or it can be a nested dictionary where the outer keys are response # names, the inner keys are design variable names, and the value is a tuple of # the form (row_list, col_list, shape). { resp1_name: { dv1_name: (rows, cols, shape), # for subjac d_resp1/d_dv1 dv2_name: (rows, cols, shape), ... }, resp2_name: { ... } ... } }
While this has the advantage of removing the runtime cost of computing the coloring, it should be used with care, because any changes in the model, design variables, or responses can make the existing coloring invalid. If anything about the optimization changes, it’s recommended to always regenerate the coloring before rerunning the optimization.
Consider a simple problem where we have a design variable x of size 10 and a constraint y of
size 5. Assume that each total derivative of y is affected only by 2 entries of x, let’s say
for derivative i of y, it is affected by entries 2*i and 2*i+1 of x. In that case, the
coloring we would pass to set_simul_deriv_color
would look like this:
color_info = {
"fwd": [
# first our list of columns grouped by color, with the first list containing any
# columns that are not colored (we don't have any of those in this case).
[
[], # noncolored columns
[0, 2, 4, 6, 8], # color 0
[1, 3, 5, 7, 9], # color 1
],
# next, for each column we provide either a list of nonzero row indices if the
# column is colored, or None if the column is not colored (we don't have any of those here).
[
[0],
[0],
[1],
[1],
[2],
[2],
[3],
[3],
[4],
[4],
]
],
# OpenMDAO supports bidirectional coloring, so it can solve for part of the jacobian in
# fwd mode and part in rev mode. In this case, we don't need any rev mode solves, so
# the rev mode entry has an empty row list.
# Note that we show the opposite entry ('rev' in this case) here for the purpose of
# explanation, but it's also valid to remove the opposite entry completely if it's empty.
"rev": [[[]], []],
# next we could specify our sparsity, which we need if we're using the pyOptSparseDriver
# as our Driver. If our driver doesn't need sparsity, we could just remove the
# 'sparsity' entry completely.
'sparsity': {
# dictionary for our response variable, y
'y': {
# dictionary for our design variable, x
'x': (
[0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4], # sparse row indices
[0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], # sparse column indices
[5, 10] # shape
)
}
}
}
# we would activate simultaneous derivatives by calling this on our driver
prob.driver.set_simul_deriv_color(color_info)
You can see a more complete example of setting up an optimization with simultaneous derivatives in the Simple Optimization using Simultaneous Derivatives example.
Automatic Generation of Static Coloring¶
Although you can compute the coloring manually if you know enough information about your problem, doing so can be challenging and error prone. Also, even small changes to your model, e.g., adding new constraints or changing the sparsity of a subcomponent, can change the coloring of your model. So care must be taken to keep the coloring up to date when you change your model.
To streamline the process, OpenMDAO provides an automatic coloring algorithm that uses the sparsity pattern given by the declare_partials calls from all of the components in your model. So you should specify the sparsity of the partial derivatives of your components in order to make it possible to find a more optimal automatic coloring for your model.
The color_info data structure can be generated automatically using the following command:
openmdao simul_coloring <your_script_name>
The data structure will be written to the console and can be cut and pasted into your script
file and passed into the set_simul_deriv_color
function. For example, if we were to run
it on the example shown here, the output written to the console
would look like this:
Using tolerance: 1e20
Most common number of zero entries (400 of 462) repeated 11 times out of 11 tolerances tested.
Total jacobian shape: (22, 21)
########### BEGIN COLORING DATA ################
{
"fwd": [[
[20], # uncolored columns
[18, 0, 2, 4, 6], # color 1
[17, 1, 3, 5, 8], # color 2
[16, 9, 10, 12, 14], # color 3
[15, 7, 11, 13, 19] # color 4
],
[
[1, 11, 16, 21], # column 0
[2, 16], # column 1
[3, 12, 17], # column 2
[4, 17], # column 3
[5, 13, 18], # column 4
[6, 18], # column 5
[7, 14, 19], # column 6
[8, 19], # column 7
[9, 15, 20], # column 8
[10, 20], # column 9
[1, 11, 16], # column 10
[2, 16], # column 11
[3, 12, 17], # column 12
[4, 17], # column 13
[5, 13, 18], # column 14
[6, 18], # column 15
[7, 14, 19], # column 16
[8, 19], # column 17
[9, 15, 20], # column 18
[10, 20], # column 19
None # column 20
]],
"rev": [[
[] # uncolored rows
],
[
]],
"sparsity": {
"circle.area": {
"indeps.x": [[], [], [1, 10]],
"indeps.y": [[], [], [1, 10]],
"indeps.r": [[0], [0], [1, 1]]
},
"r_con.g": {
"indeps.x": [[0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], [10, 10]],
"indeps.y": [[0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], [10, 10]],
"indeps.r": [[0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], [0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0], [10, 1]]
},
"theta_con.g": {
"indeps.x": [[0, 1, 2, 3, 4], [0, 2, 4, 6, 8], [5, 10]],
"indeps.y": [[0, 1, 2, 3, 4], [0, 2, 4, 6, 8], [5, 10]],
"indeps.r": [[], [], [5, 1]]
},
"delta_theta_con.g": {
"indeps.x": [[0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4], [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], [5, 10]],
"indeps.y": [[0, 0, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4], [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], [5, 10]],
"indeps.r": [[], [], [5, 1]]
},
"l_conx.g": {
"indeps.x": [[0], [0], [1, 10]],
"indeps.y": [[], [], [1, 10]],
"indeps.r": [[], [], [1, 1]]
}
}
}
########### END COLORING DATA ############
Colored solves in fwd mode: 5 opposite solves: 0
Total colors vs. total size: 5 vs 21 (76.2% improvement)
Note that only the section between the BEGIN COLORING DATA and END COLORING DATA lines should be cut and pasted into your script.
There is additional information printed out that can sometimes be useful. The tolerance that was actually used to determine whether an entry in the total jacobian is considered to be zero or not is displayed, along with the number of zero entries found in this case, and how many times that number of zero entries occurred when sweeping over different tolerances between + 5 orders of magnitude around the given tolerance. If no tolerance is given, the default is 1e15. If the number of occurrences is only 1 or 2, then it’s likely that there is a problem, and you should increase the number of total derivative computations that the algorithm uses to compute the sparsity pattern. You can do that with the n option. The following, for example, will perform the total derivative computation 5 times.
openmdao simul_coloring <your_script_name> n 5
Note that when multiple total jacobian computations are performed, we take the absolute values of each jacobian and add them all together, then divide by the largest value.
If repeating the total derivative computation multiple times doesn’t work, try changing the tolerance using the t option as follows:
openmdao simul_coloring <your_script_name> n 5 t 1e10
Be careful when setting the tolerance, however, because if you make it too large then you may be zeroing out Jacobian entries that should not be ignored and your optimization may not converge.
If you want to examine the sparsity structure of your total jacobian, you can use the j option as follows:
openmdao simul_coloring <your_script_name> n 5 t 1e10 j
Which, along with the other output shown above, will display a visualization of the sparsity structure with rows and columns labelled with the response and design variable names, respectively.
....................x 0 circle.area
x.........x.........x 1 r_con.g
.x.........x........x 2 r_con.g
..x.........x.......x 3 r_con.g
...x.........x......x 4 r_con.g
....x.........x.....x 5 r_con.g
.....x.........x....x 6 r_con.g
......x.........x...x 7 r_con.g
.......x.........x..x 8 r_con.g
........x.........x.x 9 r_con.g
.........x.........xx 10 r_con.g
x.........x.......... 11 theta_con.g
..x.........x........ 12 theta_con.g
....x.........x...... 13 theta_con.g
......x.........x.... 14 theta_con.g
........x.........x.. 15 theta_con.g
xx........xx......... 16 delta_theta_con.g
..xx........xx....... 17 delta_theta_con.g
....xx........xx..... 18 delta_theta_con.g
......xx........xx... 19 delta_theta_con.g
........xx........xx. 20 delta_theta_con.g
x.................... 21 l_conx.g
indeps.x
indeps.y
indeps.r
Note that the design variables are displayed along the bottom of the matrix, with a pipe symbol () that lines up with the starting column for that variable.
As total jacobians get larger, it may not be desirable to cut and paste the coloring result manually. In this case, using the o command line option will output the coloring to a file as follows:
openmdao simul_coloring <your_script_name> o my_coloring.json
The coloring will be written in json format to the given file and can be loaded using the set_simul_deriv_color function like this:
prob.driver.set_simul_deriv_color('my_coloring.json')
If you run openmdao simul_coloring and it turns out there is no simultaneous coloring available, or that you don’t gain very much by coloring, don’t be surprised. Not all total Jacobians are sparse enough to benefit signficantly from simultaneous derivatives.
Checking that it works¶
After activating simultaneous derivatives, you should check your total
derivatives using the check_totals function.
If you provided a manuallycomputed coloring, you need to be sure it was correct.
If you used the automatic coloring, the algorithm that we use still has a small chance of
computing an incorrect coloring due to the possibility that the total Jacobian being analyzed
by the algorithm contained one or more zero values that are only incidentally zero.
Using check_totals
is the way to be sure that something hasn’t
gone wrong.
If you used the automatic coloring algorithm, and you find that check_totals
is reporting incorrect total derivatives, then you should try using the n and t options
mentioned earlier until you get the correct total derivatives.