Implementing new operators

Users are welcome to create new operators and add them to the PyLops library.

In this tutorial, we will go through the key steps in the definition of an operator, using the pylops.Diagonal as an example. This is a very simple operator that applies a diagonal matrix to the model in forward mode and to the data in adjoint mode.

Creating the operator

The first thing we need to do is to create a new file with the name of the operator we would like to implement. Note that as the operator will be a class, we need to follow the UpperCaseCamelCase convention both for the class itself and for the filename.

Once we have created the file, we will start by importing the modules that will be needed by the operator. While this varies from operator to operator, you will always need to import the pylops.LinearOperator class, which will be used as parent class for any of our operators:

from pylops import LinearOperator

This class is a child of the scipy.sparse.linalg.LinearOperator class itself which implements the same methods of its parent class as well as an additional method for quick inversion: such method can be easily accessed by using \ between the operator and the data (e.g., A \ y).

After that we define our new object:

class Diagonal(LinearOperator):

followed by a numpydoc docstring (starting with r""" and ending with """) containing the documentation of the operator. Such docstring should contain at least a short description of the operator, a Parameters section with a detailed description of the input parameters and a Notes section providing a mathematical explanation of the operator. Take a look at some of the core operators of PyLops to get a feeling of the level of details of the mathematical explanation.

Initialization (__init__)

We then need to create the __init__ where the input parameters are passed and saved as members of our class. While the input parameters change from operator to operator, it is always required to create three members, the first called shape with a tuple containing the dimensions of the operator in the data and model space, the second called dtype with the data type object (np.dtype) of the model and data, and the third called explicit with a boolean (True or False) identifying if the operator can be inverted by a direct solver or requires an iterative solver. This member is True if the operator has also a member A that contains the matrix to be inverted like for example in the pylops.MatrixMult operator, and it will be False otherwise. In this case we have another member called d which is equal to the input vector containing the diagonal elements of the matrix we want to multiply to the model and data.

def __init__(self, d, dtype=None):
    self.d = d.ravel()
    self.shape = (len(self.d), len(self.d))
    self.dtype = np.dtype(dtype)
    self.explicit = False

Alternatively, since version 2.0.0, the recommended way of initializing operators derived from the base pylops.LinearOperator class is to invoke super to assign the required attributes:

def __init__(self, d, dtype=None):
    self.d = d.ravel()
    super().__init__(dtype=np.dtype(dtype), shape=(len(self.d), len(self.d)))

In this case, there is no need to declare explicit as it already defaults to False. Since version 2.0.0, every pylops.LinearOperator class is imbued with dims, dimsd, clinear and explicit, in addition to the required dtype and shape. See the docs of pylops.LinearOperator for more information about what these attributes mean.

Forward mode (_matvec)

We can then move onto writing the forward mode in the method _matvec. In other words, we will need to write the piece of code that will implement the following operation \(\mathbf{y} = \mathbf{A}\mathbf{x}\). Such method is always composed of two inputs (the object itself self and the input model x). In our case the code to be added to the forward is very simple, we will just need to apply element-wise multiplication between the model \(\mathbf{x}\) and the elements along the diagonal contained in the array \(\mathbf{d}\). We will finally need to return the result of this operation:

def _matvec(self, x):
    return self.d * x

Adjoint mode (_rmatvec)

Finally we need to implement the adjoint mode in the method _rmatvec. In other words, we will need to write the piece of code that will implement the following operation \(\mathbf{x} = \mathbf{A}^H\mathbf{y}\). Such method is also composed of two inputs (the object itself self and the input data y). In our case the code to be added to the forward is the same as the one from the forward (but this will obviously be different from operator to operator):

def _rmatvec(self, x):
    return self.d * x

And that’s it, we have implemented our first linear operator!

Testing the operator

Being able to write an operator is not yet a guarantee of the fact that the operator is correct, or in other words that the adjoint code is actually the adjoint of the forward code. Luckily for us, a simple test can be performed to check the validity of forward and adjoint operators, the so called dot-test.

We can generate random vectors \(\mathbf{u}\) and \(\mathbf{v}\) and verify the the following equality within a numerical tolerance:

\[(\mathbf{A}*\mathbf{u})^H*\mathbf{v} = \mathbf{u}^H*(\mathbf{A}^H*\mathbf{v})\]

The method pylops.utils.dottest implements such a test for you, all you need to do is create a new test within an existing test_*.py file in the pytests folder (or in a new file).

Generally a test file will start with a number of dictionaries containing different parameters we would like to use in the testing of one or more operators. The test itself starts with a decorator that contains a list of all (or some) of dictionaries that will would like to use for our specific operator, followed by the definition of the test

@pytest.mark.parametrize("par", [(par1),(par2)])
def test_Diagonal(par):

At this point we can first of all create the operator and run the pylops.utils.dottest preceded by the assert command. Moreover, the forward and adjoint methods should tested towards expected outputs or even better, when the operator allows it (i.e., operator is invertible), a small inversion should be run and the inverted model tested towards the input model.

"""Dot-test and inversion for diagonal operator
"""
d = np.arange(par['nx']) + 1.

Dop = Diagonal(d)
assert dottest(Dop, par['nx'], par['nx'],
               complexflag=0 if par['imag'] == 1 else 3)

x = np.ones(par['nx'])
xlsqr = lsqr(Dop, Dop * x, damp=1e-20, iter_lim=300, show=0)[0]
assert_array_almost_equal(x, xlsqr, decimal=4)

Documenting the operator

Once the operator has been created, we can add it to the documentation of PyLops. To do so, simply add the name of the operator within the index.rst file in docs/source/api directory.

Moreover, in order to facilitate the user of your operator by other users, a simple example should be provided as part of the Sphinx-gallery of the documentation of the PyLops library. The directory examples contains several scripts that can be used as template.

Final checklist

Before submitting your new operator for review, use the following checklist to ensure that your code adheres to the guidelines of PyLops:

  • you have created a new file containing a single class (or a function when the new operator is a simple combination of existing operators - see pylops.Laplacian for an example of such operator) and added to a new or existing directory within the pylops package.
  • the new class contains at least __init__, _matvec and _matvec methods.
  • the new class (or function) has a numpydoc docstring documenting at least the input Parameters and with a Notes section providing a mathematical explanation of the operator
  • a new test has been added to an existing test_*.py file within the pytests folder. The test should verify that the new operator passes the pylops.utils.dottest. Moreover it is advisable to create a small toy example where the operator is applied in forward mode and the resulting data is inverted using \ from pylops.LinearOperator.
  • the new operator is used within at least one example (in examples directory) or one tutorial (in tutorials directory).