Training API Reference

The new version of Flux's training code was written as an independent package, Optimisers.jl. Only the function train! belongs to Flux itself.

The Optimisers package is designed to allow for immutable objects. But at present all Flux models contain parameter arrays (such as Arrays and CuArrays) which can be updated in-place. Because of this:

  • The objects returned by Optimisers.update! can be ignored.
  • Flux defines its own version of setup which checks this assumption. (Using instead Optimisers.setup will also work, they return the same thing.)

The new implementation of rules such as Adam in the Optimisers is quite different from the old one in Flux.Optimise. In Flux 0.14, Flux.Adam() returns the old one, with supertype Flux.Optimise.AbstractOptimiser, but setup will silently translate it to its new counterpart. The available rules are listed the optimisation rules page here; see the Optimisers documentation for details on how the new rules work.

opt_state = setup(rule, model)

This is a version of Optimisers.setup, and is the first step before using train!. It differs from Optimisers.setup in that it:

  • has one extra check for mutability (since Flux expects to mutate the model in-place, while Optimisers.jl is designed to return an updated model)
  • has methods which accept Flux's old optimisers, and convert them. (The old Flux.Optimise.Adam and new Optimisers.Adam are distinct types.)

This function was added in Flux 0.13.9. It was not used by the old "implicit" interface, using Flux.Optimise module and Flux.params.


julia> model = Dense(2=>1, leakyrelu; init=ones);

julia> opt_state = Flux.setup(Momentum(0.1), model)  # this encodes the optimiser and its state
(weight = Leaf(Momentum{Float64}(0.1, 0.9), [0.0 0.0]), bias = Leaf(Momentum{Float64}(0.1, 0.9), [0.0]), σ = ())

julia> x1, y1 = [0.2, -0.3], [0.4];  # use the same data for two steps:

julia> Flux.train!(model, [(x1, y1), (x1, y1)], opt_state) do m, x, y
         sum(abs.(m(x) .- y)) * 100

julia> model.bias  # was zero, mutated by Flux.train!
1-element Vector{Float64}:

julia> opt_state  # mutated by Flux.train!
(weight = Leaf(Momentum{Float64}(0.1, 0.9), [-2.018 3.027]), bias = Leaf(Momentum{Float64}(0.1, 0.9), [-10.09]), σ = ())
train!(loss, model, data, opt_state)

Uses a loss function and training data to improve the model's parameters according to a particular optimisation rule encoded in opt_state. Iterates through data once, evaluating for each d in data either loss(model, d...) if d isa Tuple, or else loss(model, d) for other d.

For example, with these definitions...

data = [(x1, y1), (x2, y2), (x3, y3)]

loss3(m, x, y) = norm(m(x) .- y)        # the model is the first argument

opt_state = Flux.setup(Adam(), model)   # explicit setup of optimiser momenta

...calling Flux.train!(loss3, model, data, opt_state) runs a loop much like this:

for d in data
    ∂L∂m = gradient(loss3, model, d...)[1]
    update!(opt_state, model, ∂L∂m)

You can also write this loop yourself, if you need more flexibility. For this reason train! is not highly extensible. It adds only a few features to the loop above:

  • Stop with a DomainError if the loss is infinite or NaN at any point.

  • Show a progress bar using @withprogress.


This method was added in Flux 0.13.9. It has significant changes from the one used by Flux ≤ 0.13:

  • It now takes the model itself, not the result of Flux.params. (This is to move away from Zygote's "implicit" parameter handling, with Grads.)
  • Instead of loss being a function which accepts only the data, now it must also accept the model itself, as the first argument.
  • opt_state should be the result of Flux.setup. Using an optimiser such as Adam() without this step should give you a warning.
  • Callback functions are not supported. (But any code can be included in the above for loop.)
Optimisers.update!(tree, model, gradient) -> (tree, model)

Uses the optimiser and the gradient to change the trainable parameters in the model. Returns the improved model, and the optimiser states needed for the next update. The initial tree of states comes from setup.

This is used in exactly the same manner as update, but because it may mutate arrays within the old model (and the old state), it will be faster for models of ordinary Arrays or CuArrays. However, you should not rely on the old model being fully updated but rather use the returned model. (The original state tree is always mutated, as each Leaf is mutable.)


julia> using StaticArrays, Zygote, Optimisers

julia> m = (x = [1f0, 2f0], y = SA[4f0, 5f0]);  # partly mutable model

julia> t = Optimisers.setup(Momentum(1/30, 0.9), m)  # tree of states
(x = Leaf(Momentum(0.0333333, 0.9), Float32[0.0, 0.0]), y = Leaf(Momentum(0.0333333, 0.9), Float32[0.0, 0.0]))

julia> g = gradient(m -> sum(abs2.(m.x .+ m.y)), m)[1]  # structural gradient
(x = Float32[10.0, 14.0], y = Float32[10.0, 14.0])

julia> t2, m2 = Optimisers.update!(t, m, g);

julia> m2  # after update or update!, this is the new model
(x = Float32[0.6666666, 1.5333333], y = Float32[3.6666667, 4.5333333])

julia> m2.x === m.x  # update! has re-used this array, for efficiency

julia> m  # original should be discarded, may be mutated but no guarantee
(x = Float32[0.6666666, 1.5333333], y = Float32[4.0, 5.0])

julia> t == t2  # original state tree is guaranteed to be mutated

train! uses @progress which should show a progress bar in VSCode automatically. To see one in a terminal, you will need to install TerminalLoggers.jl and follow its setup instructions.

Optimisation Modifiers

The state returned by setup can be modified to temporarily prevent training of some parts of the model, or to change the learning rate or other hyperparameter. The functions for doing so may be accessed as Flux.freeze!, Flux.thaw!, and Flux.adjust!. All mutate the state (or part of it) and return nothing.

Optimisers.adjust!(tree, η)

Alters the state tree = setup(rule, model) to change the parameters of the optimisation rule, without destroying its stored state. Typically used mid-way through training.

Can be applied to part of a model, by acting only on the corresponding part of the state tree.

To change just the learning rate, provide a number η::Real.


julia> m = (vec = rand(Float32, 2), fun = sin);

julia> st = Optimisers.setup(Nesterov(), m)  # stored momentum is initialised to zero
(vec = Leaf(Nesterov(0.001, 0.9), Float32[0.0, 0.0]), fun = ())

julia> st, m = Optimisers.update(st, m, (vec = [16, 88], fun = nothing));  # with fake gradient

julia> st
(vec = Leaf(Nesterov(0.001, 0.9), Float32[-0.016, -0.088]), fun = ())

julia> Optimisers.adjust!(st, 0.123)  # change learning rate, stored momentum untouched

julia> st
(vec = Leaf(Nesterov(0.123, 0.9), Float32[-0.016, -0.088]), fun = ())

To change other parameters, adjust! also accepts keyword arguments matching the field names of the optimisation rule's type.

julia> fieldnames(Adam)
(:eta, :beta, :epsilon)

julia> st2 = Optimisers.setup(OptimiserChain(ClipGrad(), Adam()), m)
(vec = Leaf(OptimiserChain(ClipGrad(10.0), Adam(0.001, (0.9, 0.999), 1.0e-8)), (nothing, (Float32[0.0, 0.0], Float32[0.0, 0.0], (0.9, 0.999)))), fun = ())

julia> Optimisers.adjust(st2; beta = (0.777, 0.909), delta = 11.1)  # delta acts on ClipGrad
(vec = Leaf(OptimiserChain(ClipGrad(11.1), Adam(0.001, (0.777, 0.909), 1.0e-8)), (nothing, (Float32[0.0, 0.0], Float32[0.0, 0.0], (0.9, 0.999)))), fun = ())

julia> Optimisers.adjust(st; beta = "no such field")  # silently ignored!
(vec = Leaf(Nesterov(0.123, 0.9), Float32[-0.016, -0.088]), fun = ())

Temporarily alters the state tree = setup(rule, model) so that parameters will not be updated. Un-done by thaw!.

Can be applied to the state corresponding to only part of a model, for instance with model::Chain, to freeze model.layers[1] you should call freeze!(tree.layers[1]).


julia> m = (x = ([1.0], 2.0), y = [3.0]);

julia> s = Optimisers.setup(Momentum(), m);

julia> Optimisers.freeze!(s.x)

julia> Optimisers.update!(s, m, (x = ([pi], 10pi), y = [100pi]));  # with fake gradient

julia> m
(x = ([1.0], 2.0), y = [-0.14159265358979312])

julia> s
(x = (Leaf(Momentum(0.01, 0.9), [0.0], frozen = true), ()), y = Leaf(Momentum(0.01, 0.9), [3.14159]))

julia> Optimisers.thaw!(s)

julia> s.x
(Leaf(Momentum(0.01, 0.9), [0.0]), ())

The reverse of freeze!. Applies to all parameters, mutating every Leaf(rule, state, frozen = true) to Leaf(rule, state, frozen = false).

Implicit style (Flux ≤ 0.14)

Flux used to handle gradients, training, and optimisation rules quite differently. The new style described above is called "explicit" by Zygote, and the old style "implicit". Flux 0.13 and 0.14 are the transitional versions which support both; Flux 0.15 will remove the old.

How to upgrade

The blue-green boxes in the training section describe the changes needed to upgrade old code.

For full details on the interface for implicit-style optimisers, see the Flux 0.13.6 manual.

Flux ≤ 0.12

Earlier versions of Flux exported params, thus allowing unqualified params(model) after using Flux. This conflicted with too many other packages, and was removed in Flux 0.13. If you get an error UndefVarError: params not defined, this probably means that you are following code for Flux 0.12 or earlier on a more recent version.


Given a model or specific layers from a model, create a Params object pointing to its trainable parameters.

This can be used with the gradient function, see the training section of the manual, or as input to the Flux.train! function.

The behaviour of params on custom types can be customized using Functors.@functor or Flux.trainable.


julia> using Flux: params

julia> params(Chain(Dense(ones(2,3)), softmax))  # unpacks Flux models
Params([[1.0 1.0 1.0; 1.0 1.0 1.0], [0.0, 0.0]])

julia> bn = BatchNorm(2, relu)
BatchNorm(2, relu)  # 4 parameters, plus 4 non-trainable

julia> params(bn)  # only the trainable parameters
Params([Float32[0.0, 0.0], Float32[1.0, 1.0]])

julia> params([1, 2, 3], [4])  # one or more arrays of numbers
Params([[1, 2, 3], [4]])

julia> params([[1, 2, 3], [4]])  # unpacks array of arrays
Params([[1, 2, 3], [4]])

julia> params(1, [2 2], (alpha=[3,3,3], beta=Ref(4), gamma=sin))  # ignores scalars, unpacks NamedTuples
Params([[2 2], [3, 3, 3]])
update!(opt, p, g)
update!(opt, ps::Params, gs)

Perform an update step of the parameters ps (or the single parameter p) according to optimiser opt::AbstractOptimiser and the gradients gs (the gradient g).

As a result, the parameters are mutated and the optimiser's internal state may change. The gradient could be mutated as well.


This method for implicit Params (and AbstractOptimiser) will be removed from Flux 0.15. The explicit method update!(opt, model, grad) from Optimisers.jl will remain.

train!(loss, pars::Params, data, opt::AbstractOptimiser; [cb])

Uses a loss function and training data to improve the model's parameters according to a particular optimisation rule opt.


This method with implicit Params will be removed from Flux 0.15. It should be replaced with the explicit method train!(loss, model, data, opt).

For each d in data, first the gradient of the loss is computed like this:

    gradient(() -> loss(d...), pars)  # if d isa Tuple
    gradient(() -> loss(d), pars)     # otherwise

Here pars is produced by calling Flux.params on your model. (Or just on the layers you want to train, like train!(loss, params(model[1:end-2]), data, opt).) This is the "implicit" style of parameter handling.

This gradient is then used by optimiser opt to update the parameters:

    update!(opt, pars, grads)

The optimiser should be from the Flux.Optimise module (see Optimisers). Different optimisers can be combined using Flux.Optimise.Optimiser.

This training loop iterates through data once. It will stop with a DomainError if the loss is NaN or infinite.

You can use use train! inside a for loop to do this several times, or use for instance Itertools.ncycle to make a longer data iterator.


Callbacks are given with the keyword argument cb. For example, this will print "training" every 10 seconds (using Flux.throttle):

    train!(loss, params, data, opt, cb = throttle(() -> println("training"), 10))

Multiple callbacks can be passed to cb as array.



Implicit train! takes an additional argument, cb, that's used for callbacks so that you can observe the training process. For example:

train!(objective, ps, data, opt, cb = () -> println("training"))

Callbacks are called for every batch of training data. You can slow this down using Flux.throttle(f, timeout) which prevents f from being called more than once every timeout seconds.

A more typical callback might look like this:

test_x, test_y = # ... create single batch of test data ...
evalcb() = @show(loss(test_x, test_y))
throttled_cb = throttle(evalcb, 5)
for epoch in 1:20
  @info "Epoch $epoch"
  Flux.train!(objective, ps, data, opt, cb = throttled_cb)

See the page about callback helpers for more.