Source (GitHub)

5.2. Poplar Tutorial 2: Using PopLibs

To complement this tutorial, do not hesitate to read through our Poplar and PopLibs User Guide.


In order to run this tutorial on the IPU you will need to have a Poplar SDK environment enabled (see the Getting Started Guide for your IPU system).

You will also need a C++ toolchain compatible with the C++11 standard, build commands in this tutorial use GCC.

Using PopLibs

Using tut2_operations/start_here as your working directory, open tut2.cpp in an editor. This file contains a basic Poplar program structure similar to that seen in tutorial 1. It creates a graph with a couple of variables and initialises them. However, this time it includes some extra headers from the popops library:

#include <popops/codelets.hpp>
#include <popops/ElementWise.hpp>

This gives us access to library functions for data manipulation, which have been highly optimised for IPU devices.

  • To use this, you need to add the device-side library code to the graph, so that it is loaded when the code is run:


A similar addCodelets call is required for each of the PopLibs libraries you use in your program.

  • Compile and run the code (remember to link in the popops and poputil libraries):

    $ g++ --std=c++11 tut2.cpp -lpoplar -lpopops -lpoputil -o tut2
    $ ./tut2

The code doesn’t do anything at the moment so let’s add an operation to the graph.

  • Add the following, before the engine creation, to extend the program sequence with an add operation:

    // Extend program with elementwise add (this will add to the sequence)
    Tensor v3 = popops::add(graph, v1, v2, prog, "Add");
    prog.add(PrintTensor("v3", v3));

The popops::add function extends the sequence prog with extra steps to perform an elementwise add. We’ve also created a new variable, v3, in the graph for the returned result. So, after the add operation, v3 holds the result of adding the elements of v1 to v2.

  • Re-compile and re-run the program. You should see the results of the addition:

    v3: [
      [5.0000000 4.5000000]
      [4.0000000 3.5000000]
  • Add code to add v2 to the result tensor v3 and print the result.

That is all that is required to use the PopLibs library functions. You can see the capability of these libraries by browsing the PopLibs API documentation or the header files in the include directories of the Poplar installation.

Reshaping and transposing data

When calling libraries to perform operations, there are many ways to arrange how data is passed to the operation. These are in the Tensor.hpp header file and documented in the Poplar API Reference.

In tutorial 1 we used slicing, but there are also functions for reshaping and transposing data.

  • Add the following code to add v1 to the transpose of the 2x2 matrix v2:

    // Example element wise addition using a transposed view of the data
    Tensor v5 = popops::add(graph, v1, v2.transpose(), prog, "Add");
    prog.add(PrintTensor("v5", v5));
  • Re-compile and re-run the program to see the result.

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