Writing XNMT classes

In order to write new components that can be created both from YAML config files as well as programmatically, support sharing of DyNet parameters, etc., one must adhere to the Serializable interface including a few simple conventions:


XNMT will perform automatic checks and raise an informative error in case these conventions are violated, so there is no need to worry about these too much.

Marking classes as serializable

Classes are marked as serializable by specifying xnmt.persistence.Serializable as super class. They must specify a unique yaml_tag class attribute, set to !ClassName with ClassName replaced by the class name. It follows that class names must be unique, even across different XNMT modules. (Note: Serializable should be explicitly specified even if another super class already does the same)

Specifying init arguments

The arguments accepted in the YAML config file correspond directly to the arguments of the class’s __init__() method. The __init__ is required to be decorated with @xnmt.persistence.serializable_init. Note that sub-objects are initialized before being passed to __init__, and in the order in which they are specified in __init__.

Using DyNet parameters

If the component uses DyNet parameters, the calls to dynet_model.add_parameters() etc. must take place in __init__ (or a helper called from within __init__). It is not possible to allocate parameters after __init__ has returned. The component will get assigned its own unique DyNet parameter collection, which can be requested using xnmt.param_collection.ParamManager.my_params(self). Subcollections should never be passed to sub-objects that are Serializable. Behind the scenes, components will get assigned a unique subcollection id which ensures that they can be loaded later along with their pretrained weights, and even combined with components trained from a different config file.

Using Serializable subcomponents

If a class uses helper objects that are also Serializable, this must occur in a certain way:

  • the Serializable object must be accepted as argument in __init__.

  • It can be set to None by default, in which case it must be constructed manually within __init__. This should take place using the Serializable.add_serializable_component() helper, e.g. with the following idiom:

    def __init__(self, ..., vocab_projector=None, ...):
      self.vocab_projector = \
                   lambda: xnmt.linear.Linear(input_dim=mlp_hidden_dim,