# Batching

BoTorch makes frequent use of "batching", both in the sense of batch acquisition functions for multiple candidates as well as in the sense of parallel or batch computation (neither of these should be confused with mini-batch training). Here we explain some of the common patterns you will see in BoTorch for exploiting parallelism, including common shapes and decorators for more conveniently handling these shapes.

## Batch Acquisition Functions

BoTorch supports batch acquisition functions that assign a joint utility to a set of $q$ design points in the parameter space. These are, for obvious reasons, referred to as q-Acquisition Functions. For instance, BoTorch ships with support for q-EI, q-UCB, and a few others.

As discussed in the design philosophy, BoTorch has adopted the convention of referring to batches in the batch-acquisition sense as "q-batches", and to batches in the torch batch-evaluation sense as "t-batches".

Internally, q-batch acquisition functions operate on input tensors of shape $b \times q \times d$, where $b$ is the number of t-batches, $q$ is the number of design points to be considered concurrently, and $d$ is the dimension of the parameter space. Their output is a one-dimensional tensor with $b$ elements, with the $i$-th element corresponding to the $i$-th t-batch. Always requiring explicit t-batch and q-batch dimensions makes it easier and less ambiguous to work with samples from the posterior in a consistent fashion.

#### Batch-Mode Decorator

In order to simplify the user-facing API for evaluating acquisition functions,

BoTorch implements the
`@t_batch_mode_transform`

decorator, which allows the use of non-batch mode inputs. If applied to an
instance method with a single `Tensor`

argument, an input tensor to that method
without a t-batch dimension (i.e. tensors of shape $q \times d$) will automatically
be converted to a t-batch of size 1 (i.e. of `batch_shape`

`torch.Size([1])`

),
This is typically used on the `forward`

method of an `AcquisitionFunction`

.
The `@t_batch_mode_transform`

decorator takes an `expected_q`

argument that, if
specified, checks that the number of q-batches in the input is equal to the
one specified in the decorator. This is typically used for acquisition functions
that can only handle the case $q=1$ (e.g. any `AnalyticAcqusitionFunction`

).

## Batching Sample Shapes

BoTorch evaluates Monte-Carlo acquisition functions using (quasi-) Monte-Carlo
sampling from the posterior at the input features $X$. Hence, on top of the
existing q-batch and t-batch dimensions, we also end up with another batch
dimension corresponding to the MC samples we draw. We use the PyTorch notions of
`sample_shape`

and `event_shape`

.

`event_shape`

is the shape of a single sample drawn from the underlying
distribution:

- Evaluating a single-output model at a $1 \times n \times d$ tensor,
representing $n$ data points in $d$ dimensions each, yields a posterior with
`event_shape`

being $1 \times n \times 1$. Evaluating the same model at a $b_1 \times \cdots \times b_k \times n \times d$ tensor (representing a t-batch-shape of $b_1 \times \cdots \times b_k$, with $n$ data points of $d$-dimensions each in every batch) yields a posterior with`event_shape`

being $b_1 \times \cdots \times b_k \times n \times 1$. In most cases, the t-batch-shape will be single-dimensional (i.e., $k=1$). - Evaluating a multi-output model with $o$ outputs at a $b_1 \times \cdots \times b_k

\times n \times d$ tensor yields a posterior with`event_shape`

equal to $b_1 \times \cdots \times b_k \times n \times o$. - Recall from the previous section that internally, with the help of the
`@t_batch_mode_transform`

decorator, all acquisition functions are evaluated using at least one t-batch dimension.

`sample_shape`

is the shape (possibly multi-dimensional) of the samples drawn
*independently* from the distribution with `event_shape`

, resulting in a tensor
of samples of shape `sample_shape`

+ `event_shape`

:

- Drawing a sample with
`sample_shape`

being $s_1 \times s_2$ from a posterior with`event_shape`

equal to $b_1 \times \cdots \times b_k \times n \times o$ results in a tensor of shape $s_1 \times s_2 \times b_1 \times \cdots \times b_k \times n \times o$, where each of the $s_1 \times s_2$ tensors of shape $b_1 \times \cdots \times b_k \times n \times o$ are independent draws.

## Batched Evaluation of Models and Acquisition Functions

The GPyTorch models implemented in BoTorch support t-batched evaluation with arbitrary t-batch shapes.

##### Non-Batched Models

In the simplest case, a model is fit to non-batched training points with shape $n \times d$. We use $\textit{batch_shape}$ to represent an arbitrary batch shape of the form $b_1 \times \cdots \times b_k$.

*Non-batched evaluation*on a set of test points with shape $m \times d$ yields a joint posterior over the $m$ points.*Batched evaluation*on a set of test points with shape $\textit{batch_shape} \times m \times d$ yields $\textit{batch_shape}$ joint posteriors over the $m$ points in each respective batch.

##### Batched Models

GPyTorch models can also be fit on batched training points with shape $\textit{batch_shape} \times n \times d$. Here, each batch is modeled independently (i.e., each batch has its own hyperparameters). For example, if the training points have shape $b_1 \times b_2 \times n \times d$ (two batch dimensions), the batched GPyTorch model is effectively $b_1 \times b_2$ independent models. More generally, suppose we fit a model to training points with shape $\textit{batch_shape} \times n \times d$. The shape of the test points must support broadcasting to the $\textit{batch_shape}$.

*Non-batched evaluation*on test points with shape $\textit{batch_shape'} \times m \times d$, where each dimension of $\textit{batch_shape'}$ either matches the corresponding dimension of $\textit{batch_shape}$ or is 1 to support broadcasting, yields $\textit{batch_shape}$ joint posteriors over the $m$ points.*Batched evaluation*on test points with shape $\textit{new_batch_shape} \times \textit{batch_shape'} \times m \times d$, where $\textit{new_batch_shape}$ is the batch shape for batched evaluation, yields $\textit{new_batch_shape} \times \textit{batch_shape'}$ joint posteriors over the $m$ points in each respective batch (broadcasting as necessary over $\textit{batch_shape}$)

#### Batched Multi-Output Models

The `BatchedMultiOutputGPyTorchModel`

class implements a fast multi-output model (assuming conditional independence of
the outputs given the input) by batching over the outputs.

##### Training Inputs/Targets

Given training inputs with shape $\textit{batch_shape} \times n \times d$
and training outputs with shape $\textit{batch_shape} \times n \times o$,
the `BatchedMultiOutputGPyTorchModel`

permutes the training outputs to make the
output $o$-dimension a batch dimension such that the augmented training inputs
have shape $o \times \textit{batch_shape} \times n$. The training inputs
(which are required to be the same for all outputs) are expanded to be
$o \times \textit{batch_shape} \times n \times d$.

##### Evaluation

When evaluating test points with shape
$\textit{new_batch_shape} \times \textit{batch_shape} \times m \times d$
via the `posterior`

method, the test points are broadcasted to the model(s) for
each output. This results in the batched posterior where the mean has shape
$\textit{new_batch_shape} \times o \times \textit{batch_shape} \times m$
which then is permuted back to the original multi-output shape
$\textit{new_batch_shape} \times \textit{batch_shape} \times m \times o$.

#### Batched Optimization of Random Restarts

BoTorch uses random restarts to optimize an acquisition function from multiple starting points. To efficiently optimize an acquisition function for a $q$-batch of candidate points using $r$ random restarts, BoTorch uses batched evaluation on a $r \times q \times d$ set of candidate points to independently evaluate and optimize each random restart in parallel. In order to optimize the $r$ acquisition functions using gradient information, the acquisition values of the $r$ random restarts are summed before back-propagating.

#### Batched Cross Validation

See the Using batch evaluation for fast cross validation tutorial for details on using batching for fast cross validation.