Monthly Downloads: 5
Programming language: Haskell
License: GNU General Public License v3.0 only
Tags: Machine Learning    
Latest version: v0.1.0.0

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Both HTVM and TVM are under development. While TVM is somewhat stable, we don't recommend to use HTVM in applications currently. GitHub repository may contain newer version of HTVM.

HTVM is a library which provides Haskell runtime and experimental frontend for TVM the Machine Learning framework.

TVM in a nutshell

TVM framework extends Halide principles to Machine Learning domain. It offers (a) EDSLs for defining and hand-optimizing ML models (b) export/import facilities for translating models from other frameworks such as TensorFlow and (c) compiler to binary code for a variety of supported platforms, including LLVM (x86, arm), CUDA, OpenCL, Vulcan, ROCm, FPGAs and even WebAssembly (note: level of support may vary). DSLs for C++ and Python are best supported and also there are some support for Java, Go and Rust languages.

Watch Halide introduction video

Read more on TVM site

Originally, TVM aimed at increasing speed of model's inference by providing a rich set of optimizing primitives called 'schedules'). At the same time it had little support for training models. Recently, training-related proposals were added.

TVM aims at compiling ML models in highly optimized binary code.

Important parts of TVM are:

  • tvm is a core library providing compute interface.
  • topi is a tensor operations collection. Most of the middle-layer primitives such as matmul, conv2d and softmax are defined there.
  • relay is a high-level library written in Python, providing functional-style interface and its own typechecker. Currently, relay is under active development and beyond the scope of HTVM.
  • nnvm is another high-level wrapper in Python, now deprecated in favor of relay.

Features and goals

In HTVM we are going to provide:

  1. C Runtime, which makes it possible to run TVM models from Haskell.
  2. Experimental EDSL for building TVM programs in Haskell.

Combined TVM/HTVM-stack features are:


  • Not many dependencies: TVM is much easier to build than other frameworks (hi TensorFlow). Models are compiled to binary code, no interpreters required.
  • Performance: HTVM uses TVM, which is designed with performace in mind.
  • Simplicity of code.


  • Experimental status
  • Simplicity again. Pure ADT-based design.
  • Not much type-safety yet. Expect errors in runtime. Typechecker may be implemented in future.


Installing dependencies

  • Make sure you have g++ and llvm installed.

  • Build tvm from development repository located at https://github.com/grwlf/tvm, branch autodiff

     $ git clone https://github.com/grwlf/tvm
     $ cd tvm
     $ git branch autodiff origin/autodiff
     $ git checkout autodiff
     $ git submodule update --init --recursive
     ... follow up with the tvm build procedure

Compiling the package

We use development environment specified in Nix language. In order to open it, please install the Nix package manager. Having Nix manager and NIX_PATH set, enter the environment, by running Nix development shell from the project's root folder:

$ nix-shell

It should get all the Haskell dependencies upon the first run. Alternatively, it should be possible to run Haskell distributions like Haskell Platform.

After nix-shell or Haskell distibution is ready, run cabal to build the project.

$ cabal configure --enable-tests
$ cabal build

To run tests, execute the test suite. At this point you will need g++, clang and tvm of the correct version (see above).

$ cabal test

To enter the interactive shell, type

$ cabal repl htvm
*HTVM.EDSL.Types> :lo Demo

Usage examples may be found in [Tests](./test/Main.hs) and (possibly outdated) [Demo](./src/Demo.hs).

TODO: Update demo, write more examples

Design notes


FFI for TVM C Runtime library is a Haskell package, linked to libtvm_runtime.so. This library contains functionality, required to load and run ML code produced by TVM.

  1. The module provide wrappers to c_runtime_api.h functions.
  2. TVMArray is the main type describing Tensors in TVM. It is represented as ForeignPtr to internal representation and a set of accessor functions.
  3. Currently, HTVM can marshal data from Haskell lists. Support for Data.Array is planned.
  4. No backends besides LLVM are tested. Adding them should not be hard and is on the TODO list.


EDSL has a proof-of-concept status. It may be used to declare ML models in Haskell, convert them to TVM IR and finally compile. Later, compiled model may be loaded and run with Haskell FFI or with any other runtime supported by TVM.

Contrary to usual practices, we don't manipulate TVM IR by calling TVM functions internally. Instead, we build AST in Haskell and print it to C++ program. After that we compile the program with common instruments. This approach has its pros and cons, which are described below.

  1. HTVM.EDSL.Types module defines AST types which loosely corresponds to Stmt and Expr class hierarchies of TVM.
  2. HTVM.EDSL.Monad provides monadic interface to AST builders. We favored simplicity over type-safety. The interface relies on simple ADTs whenever possible.
  3. HTVM.EDSL.Print contain functions which print AST to C++ program (a) of Model Generator (b) which may be executed to obtain TVM module assembly.
  4. HTVM.EDSL.Build provides instruments to compile and run the model generator by executing g++ and clang compilers:
    • The Model Generator program builds TVM IR and produces x86 assembly (c)
    • We execute clang to compile x86 assembly into x86 '.so' library (d).
    • Resulting library may be loaded and executed using Rumtime functions

The whole data transformation pipeline goes as follows:

Monadic    --> AST --> C++ --> Model --> X86 --> Model --> Runtime FFI
Interface   .       .       .  Gen    .  asm  .  Library
            .       .       .  (b)    .  (c)  .  (d)
            .     Print     .       Print     .
           Run    C++      g++              clang

Known disadvantages of C++ printing approach are:

  • Compilation speed is limited by the speed of g++, which is slow. Gcc is used to compile C++ to binary which may take as long as 5 seconds. Little may be done about that without changing approaches. One possible way to overcome this limitation would be to provide direct FFI to TVM IR like Halide-hs does for Halide. Unfortunately, this approach has its own downsides:
    • Low-level IR API is not as stable as its high-level counterpart
    • TVM is in its early stages and sometimes crashes. FFI to IR would provide no isolation from this.
  • Calling construction-time procedures of TVM is non-trivial. This is a consequence of previous limitation. For example, TVM may calculate Tensor shape in runtime and use it immediately to define new Tensors. In order to that in Haskell we would need to compile and run C++ program which is possible by slow. We try to avoid calling construction-time procedures.
  • User may face weird C++ errors. TVM is quite a low-level library which offers little type-checking, so user may write bad programs easily. Other high level TVM wrappers like Relay in Python, does provide their own typecheckers to catch errors earlier. HTVM offers no typechecker currently but it is certainly possible to write one. Contributions are welcome!

The pros of this approach are:

  • C++ printer is implemented in less than 300 lines of code. Easy to maintain.
  • Easy to port to another TVM dialect such as Relay.
  • Isolation from TVM crashes. Memory problems of TVM IR will be translated to error messages in Haskell.

Future plans

  • We aim at supporting basic import tvm and import topi functionality.
  • Support for Scheduling is minimal, but should be enhanced in future.
  • Support for TOPI is minimal, but should be enhanced in future.
  • No targets besides LLVM are supported. Adding them should be as simple as adding them to C++ DSL.
  • We plan to support Tensor-Level AD
  • Adding support for Relay is also possible but may require some efforts like writing Python printer.