Using the pytorch integration

This library exposes most of its higher-level features as PyTorch primitives, in order to take advantage of the rest of the PyTorch framework and integrate analog layers and other features in the regular workflow.

The following table lists the main modules that provide integration with PyTorch:




Analog Modules (layers) and Functions


Analog Optimizers

Analog layers

An analog layer is a neural network module that stores its weights in an analog tile. The library current includes the following analog layers:

  • AnalogLinear: applies a linear transformation to the input data. It is the counterpart of PyTorch nn.Linear layer.

  • AnalogConv2d: applies a 2D convolution over an input signal composed of several input planes. It is the counterpart of PyTorch nn.Conv2d layer.

Using analog layers

The analog layers provided by the library can be used in a similar way to a standard PyTorch layer, by creating an object. For example, the following snippet would create a linear layer with 5 input features and 2 output features:

from aihwkit.nn import AnalogLinear

model = AnalogLinear(5, 3)

By default, the AnalogLinear layer would use bias, and use a FloatingPointTile tile as the underlying tile for the analog operations. These values can be modified by passing additional arguments to the constructor.

The analog layers will perform the forward and backward passes directly in the underlying tile.

Overall, the layer can be combined and used as if it was a standard torch layer. As an example, it can be mixed with existing layers:

from aihwkit.nn import AnalogLinear
from torch.nn import Linear, Sequential

model = Sequential(
    AnalogLinear(2, 3),
    Linear(3, 3),
    AnalogLinear(3, 1)


When using analog layers, please be aware that the Parameters of the layers (model.weight and model.bias) are not guaranteed to be in sync with the actual weights and biased used internally by the analog tile, as reading back the weights has a performance cost. If you need to ensure that the tensors are synced, please use the set_weights() and get_weights() methods.

Customizing the analog tile properties

The snippet from the previous section can be extended for specifying that the underlying analog tile should use a ConstantStep resistive device, with a specific value for one of its parameters (w_min):

from aihwkit.nn import AnalogLinear
from aihwkit.simulator.configs import SingleRPUConfig
from aihwkit.simulator.configs.devices import ConstantStepDevice

config = SingleRPUConfig(device=ConstantStepDevice(w_min=-0.4))
model = AnalogLinear(5, 3, bias=False, rpu_config=config)

You can read more about analog tiles in the Using analog tiles section.

Using CUDA

If your version of the library is compiled with CUDA support, you can use GPU-aware analog layers for improved performance:

model = model.cuda()

This would move the layers parameters (weights and biases tensors) to CUDA tensors, and move the analog tiles of the layers to a CUDA-enabled analog tile.


Note that if you use analog layers that are children of other modules, some of the features require manually performing them on the analog layers directly (instead of only on the parent module). Please check the rest of the document for more information about using AnalogSequential as the parent class instead of nn.Sequential, for convenience.


An analog optimizer is a representation of an algorithm that determines the training strategy taking into account the particularities of the analog layers involved. The library currently includes the following optimizers:

  • AnalogSGD: implements stochastic gradient descent for analog layers. It is the counterpart of PyTorch optim.SGD optimizer.

Using analog optimizers

The analog layers provided by the library can be used in a similar way to a standard PyTorch layer, by creating an object. For example, the following snippet would create an analog-aware stochastic gradient descent optimizer with a learning rate of 0.1, and set it up for using with the analog layers of the model:

from aihwkit.optim.analog_sgd import AnalogSGD

optimizer = AnalogSGD(model.parameters(), lr=0.1)


The regroup_param_groups() method needs to be invoked in order to set up the parameter groups, as they are used for handling the analog layers correctly.

The AnalogSGD optimizer will behave in the same way as the regular nn.SGD optimizer for non-analog layers in the model. For the analog layers, the updating of the weights is performed directly in the underlying analog tile, according to the properties set for that particular layer.

Training example

The following example combines the usage of analog layers and analog optimizer in order to perform training:

from torch import Tensor
from torch.nn.functional import mse_loss

from aihwkit.nn import AnalogLinear
from aihwkit.optim.analog_sgd import AnalogSGD

x = Tensor([[0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.3], [0.2, 0.1, 0.1, 0.3]])
y = Tensor([[1.0, 0.5], [0.7, 0.3]])

model = AnalogLinear(4, 2)
optimizer = AnalogSGD(model.parameters(), lr=0.1)

for epoch in range(10):
    pred = model(x)
    loss = mse_loss(pred, y)
    print("Loss error: " + str(loss))

Using analog layers as part of other modules

When using analog layers in other modules, you can use the usual torch mechanisms for including them as part of the model.

However, as a number of torch functions are applied only to the parameters and buffers of a regular module, in some cases they would need to be applied directly to the analog layers themselves (as opposed to applying the parent container).

In order to bypass the need of applying the functions to the analog layers, you can use the AnalogSequential as both a compatible replacement for nn.Sequential, and as the superclass in case of custom analog modules. By using this convenience module, the operations are guaranteed to be applied correctly to its children. For example:

from aihwkit.nn import AnalogLinear, AnalogSequential

model = AnalogSequential(
    AnalogLinear(10, 20)

Or in the case of custom classes:

from aihwkit.nn import AnalogConv2d, AnalogSequential

class Example(AnalogSequential):

def __init__(self):

    self.feature_extractor = AnalogConv2d(
        in_channels=1, out_channels=16, kernel_size=5, stride=1