Task Graphs

How it Works

TileDB Cloud allows you to build arbitrary direct acyclic graphs (DAG) of tasks to combine any number of computations into one workflow. You can combine serverless UDFs, SQL and Array UDFs along with even local execution of functions.

TileDB Cloud currently supports serverless task graphs only through Python, but support for more languages will be added soon.

The graph is currently driven by the client. The client can be in a hosted notebook, your local laptop, or even a serverless UDF itself. The client manages the graph, and dispatches the execution of severless jobs or local functions. Currently there is no node-to-node communication in a task graph, and all results are serialized and returned to the client. If a subsequent task needs the results from a previous ones the results are returned to the client then dispatched as parameters to the following tasks. Over the next months we plan to eliminate this round trip and offer serverside handling of results between tasks.


The local driver uses the python ThreadPoolExecutor by default to drive the tasks. The default number of workers is 4 * number of cores on the client machine. Python allows multiple serverless tasks to run as they use asynchronous HTTP requests. Serverless tasks will scale elastically. As you request more tasks to be run, TileDB Cloud launches more resources to accommodate the tasks.

Local functions are subject to the Python GIL (interpreter lock) if the task graphs use the ThreadPoolExecutor (default). This limits the concurrency of local functions, however serverless functionality is minimally effected. To avoid this see below how to use the ProcessPoolExecutor.


Two APIs are offered for task graphs, a high level Delayed API and a lower level API for manipulating the DAG directly.

Delayed API

The Delayed API is a high-level API involving delayed objects to allow for asynchronous execution of functions or severless SQL. Dependencies are automatically computed and managed for you.

Generic Functions

Any Python function can be wrapped in a Delayed object making the function executable as a future.

from tiledb.cloud.compute import Delayed
import numpy
# Wrap numpy median in a delayed object
x = Delayed(numpy.median)
# It can be called like a normal function to set the parameters
# Note at this point the function does not get executed since it
# is delayed type
# To force execution and get the result call `compute()`

SQL and Arrays

Besides arbitrary Python functions, serverless SQL queries and array-based UDFs can also be called with the delayed API.

from tiledb.cloud.compute import DelayedSQL, DelayedArrayUDF
import numpy
y = DelayedSQL("select AVG(`a`) FROM `tiledb://TileDB-Inc/quickstart_sparse`")
# Run query
# Array
z = DelayedArrayUDF("tiledb://TileDB-Inc/quickstart_sparse",
lambda x: numpy.average(x["a"]))([(1, 4), (1, 4)])
# Run the udf on the array

Local Functions

Lastly it is also possible to include a generic Python function as delayed, but have it run locally instead of serverlessly. This is useful for testing or for saving finalized results to your local machine, e.g., saving an image.

from tiledb.cloud.compute import Delayed
import numpy
local = Delayed(numpy.median, local=True)([1,2,3])

Task Graphs With the Delayed API

Delayed objects can be combined into a task graph. The output from one function or query can be passed into another, and dependencies are automatically determined.

import tiledb.cloud.compute
import numpy
# Build several delayed objects to define a graph
local = Delayed(lambda x: x * 2, local=True)(100)
array_apply = DelayedArrayUDF("tiledb://TileDB-Inc/quickstart_sparse",
lambda x: numpy.sum(x["a"]), name="array_apply")([(1, 4), (1, 4)])
sql = DelayedSQL("select SUM(`a`) as a from `tiledb://TileDB-Inc/quickstart_dense`"), name="sql")
# Custom function to use to average all the results we are passing in
def mean(local, array_apply, sql):
import numpy
return numpy.mean([local, array_apply, sql.iloc(0)[0]])
res = Delayed(func_exec=mean, name="node_exec")(local, array_apply, sql)


The DAG created by delayed can be visualized with a call to visualize(). The graph will be auto-updated by default. If you are inside a Jupyter notebook the graph will render as a widget. If you are not on the notebook, you can set notebook=False as a parameter to render in a normal Python window.


Manually Setting Dependencies

There are cases where you might have one function to depend on another without using its results directly. A common case is when one function manipulates data stored somewhere else (s3/database). To facilitate this an addition function is offered, depends_on.

# A few base functions:
import random
from tiledb.cloud.compute import Delayed
# Set three initial nodes
node_1 = Delayed(numpy.median, local=True, name="node_1")([1, 2, 3])
node_2 = Delayed(lambda x: x * 2, local=True, name="node_2")(node_1)
node_3 = Delayed(lambda x: x * 2, local=True, name="node_3")(node_2)
# Create a dictionary to hold the nodes so we can ranodmly pick dependencies
nodes_by_name= {'node_1': node_1, 'node_2': node_2, 'node_3': node_3}
#Function which sleeps for some time so we can see the graph in different states
def f():
import time
import random
time.sleep(random.randrange(0, 30))
return x
# Randomly add 96 other nodes to the graph. All of these will use the sleep function
for i in range(4, 100):
name = "node_{}".format(i)
node = Delayed(f, local=True, name=name)()
dep = random.randrange(1, i-1)
# Randomly set dependency on one other node
node_dep = nodes_by_name["node_{}".format(dep)]
# Force the dependency to be set
nodes_by_name[name] = node
# You can call visualize on any member node and see the whole graph
# Get the last function's results
node_99 = nodes_by_name["node_99"]


For advanced usage, the underlying DAG data structure is exposed. It is unlikely you will need to use this except for advanced usage beyond what the Delayed API offers. Below is an example using the DAG API to perform the same computations as in a the section Task Graphs With Delayed API.

import numpy
import tiledb.cloud.dag
uri_sparse = "tiledb://TileDB-Inc/quickstart_sparse"
uri_dense =
d = dag.DAG()
# To run a local function, set the function as the delayed func
local = d.add_node(
lambda x: x * 2, 100, name="local",
# Here we add a node that uses the tiledb.cloud.array.apply
# as the delayed function
array_apply = d.add_node(
lambda x: numpy.sum(x["a"]),
[(1, 4), (1, 4)],
# To add serverless sql we must set the function to tiledb.cloud.sql.exec
sql = d.add_node(
"select SUM(`a`) as a from `tiledb://TileDB-Inc/quickstart_dense`",
# Custom function to use to average all the results we are passing in
def mean(local, array_apply, sql):
import numpy
return numpy.mean([local, array_apply, sql.iloc(0)[0]])
# For a UDF we must set tiledb.cloud.udf.exec
mean_results = d.add_node(
tiledb.cloud.udf.exec, mean, local, array_apply, sql, name="mean_results",
# Compared to the Delayed API, you call compute on the DAG itself.
# This will not result results and is not blocking
# Visualize can still be called
# To get resutls you must call `result()` on one of the nodes.

Adjusting the Number of Workers

If you would like to increase the DAGs worker count, you can set the max_workers parameter.

# Set the max number of workers for the thread or process pool to 32
d = DAG(max_workers=32)


If you have a need to run many local functions in parallel, you might be interested in using the ProcessPoolExecutor. This will fork each function into its own process, serializing the function and results. For most functions and data this will not cause any problems. There are some functions which are not easily serializable, this is why the ThreadPoolExecutor is the default for the graph engine.

# Use ProcessPoolExecutor
d = DAG(use_processes=True)


Parallel Mean Example

Through serverless UDFs, TileDB-Cloud offers you a way to easily execute parallel and distributed computations on your arrays, without having to set up a distributed computing environment.

For example, suppose you wanted to compute an arithmetic mean of an attribute a on a very large array. One option would be to perform the computation locally in a block-based or out-of-core fashion. With TileDB-Cloud, you can simply write a UDF to compute the mean of a particular chunk of the array, and submit all UDFs simultaneously to be computed.

The Python module below implements a parallel_mean() function that will use TileDB-Cloud UDFs and Task Graphs to compute the arithmetic mean of a subarray. It assumes the array used is at the URI tiledb://TileDB-Inc/quickstart_dense, and assumes the attribute is named a.

import math
import os
import tiledb.cloud
from tiledb.cloud.compute import Delayed, DelayedArrayUDF
import time
import numpy as np
def generate_partitions(min_row, min_col, max_row, max_col, partition_grid):
"""Split the given domain into a grid of partitions.
:param min_row: (inclusive) min row coordinate of domain
:param min_col: (inclusive) min col coordinate of domain
:param max_row: (inclusive) max row coordinate of domain
:param max_col: (inclusive) max col coordinate of domain
:param partition_grid: Tuple of (row_parts, col_parts) that defines the
number of row and column partitions.
generate_partitions(9, 9, (1, 1)) -> [((0, 10), (0, 10))]
generate_partitions(9, 9, (1, 2)) ->
[((0, 10), (0, 5)), ((0, 10), (5, 10))]
generate_partitions(9, 9, (2, 2)) ->
[((0, 5), (0, 5)), ((0, 5), (5, 10)), ((5, 10), (0, 5)),
((5, 10), (5, 10))]
generate_partitions(9, 9, (3, 2)) ->
[((0, 4), (0, 5)),
((0, 4), (5, 10)),
((4, 8), (0, 5)),
((4, 8), (5, 10)),
((8, 10), (0, 5)),
((8, 10), (5, 10))]
nrows, ncols = max_row + 1 - min_row, max_col + 1 - min_col
sr, sc = (int(math.ceil(float(nrows) / partition_grid[0])),
int(math.ceil(float(ncols) / partition_grid[1])))
partitions = []
num_partitions = partition_grid[0] * partition_grid[1]
for r in range(0, num_partitions):
rmin = sr * (r // partition_grid[1]) + min_row
rmax = min(max_row, rmin + sr - 1)
cmin = sc * (r % partition_grid[1]) + min_col
cmax = min(max_col, cmin + sc - 1)
if rmin > rmax or cmin > cmax:
partition = ((rmin, rmax), (cmin, cmax))
return partitions
def parallel_mean(min_row, min_col, max_row, max_col, partition_grid):
"""Computes the arithmetic mean, in parallel, over a subarray.
:param max_row: (0-based, inclusive) max row coordinate of subarray
:param max_col: (0-based, inclusive) max col coordinate of subarray
:param partition_grid: Tuple of (row_parts, col_parts) that defines the
number of row and column partitions.
num_cells = (max_row - min_row + 1) * (max_col - min_col + 1)
num_partitions = partition_grid[0] * partition_grid[1]
def compute_partition(data):
"""Computes the arithmetic mean of a partition of an array."""
return np.sum(data['a']) / num_cells
# Partition domain across configured "grid"
partitions = generate_partitions(min_row, min_col, max_row, max_col, partition_grid)
# Array
array_uri = 'tiledb://TileDB-Inc/quickstart_dense'
# Submit each partition as a separate job.
results = []
for p in partitions:
results.append(DelayedArrayUDF(array_uri, compute_partition, [p[0], p[1]]))
# Return the overall mean, which is the sum of the partial results.
overall_mean = Delayed(np.sum, results)
return overall_mean

Once you've loaded the above module into your Python session, you can use it quite simply to dispatch a parallel mean computation using configurable partitioning. For example,

rowmin, colmin, rowmax, colmax = 1, 1, 4, 4
res = parallel_mean(rowmin, colmin, rowmax, colmax, (4, 2))
res = res.compute()
print('The mean of attribute "a" in subarray [{}:{}, {}:{}] is {:.3f}'.format(
rowmin, rowmax, colmin, colmax, res))

This example computes the mean of attribute a on the subarray [1:4, 1:4] using a partitioning scheme of 4, 2. This means that there are 4 partitions formed over rows, and 2 over columns, for a total of 8 partitions. One UDF task will be submitted per partition.

Because floating point arithmetic is not associative, the arithmetic mean as implemented above may give slightly different results with different partitioning. This is often acceptable, but care should be taken for your particular use case.