Delayed

Sometimes problems don’t fit into one of the collections like dask.array or dask.dataframe. In these cases, users can parallelize custom algorithms using the simpler dask.delayed interface. This allows one to create graphs directly with a light annotation of normal python code:

>>> x = dask.delayed(inc)(1)
>>> y = dask.delayed(inc)(2)
>>> z = dask.delayed(add)(x, y)
>>> z.compute()
5
>>> z.visualize()
simple task graph created with dask.delayed

Example

Visit https://examples.dask.org/delayed.html to see and run examples using Dask Delayed.

Sometimes we face problems that are parallelizable, but don’t fit into high-level abstractions like Dask Array or Dask DataFrame. Consider the following example:

def inc(x):
    return x + 1

def double(x):
    return x * 2

def add(x, y):
    return x + y

data = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

output = []
for x in data:
    a = inc(x)
    b = double(x)
    c = add(a, b)
    output.append(c)

total = sum(output)

There is clearly parallelism in this problem (many of the inc, double, and add functions can evaluate independently), but it’s not clear how to convert this to a big array or big DataFrame computation.

As written, this code runs sequentially in a single thread. However, we see that a lot of this could be executed in parallel.

The Dask delayed function decorates your functions so that they operate lazily. Rather than executing your function immediately, it will defer execution, placing the function and its arguments into a task graph.

delayed

Wraps a function or object to produce a Delayed.

We slightly modify our code by wrapping functions in delayed. This delays the execution of the function and generates a Dask graph instead:

import dask

output = []
for x in data:
    a = dask.delayed(inc)(x)
    b = dask.delayed(double)(x)
    c = dask.delayed(add)(a, b)
    output.append(c)

total = dask.delayed(sum)(output)

We used the dask.delayed function to wrap the function calls that we want to turn into tasks. None of the inc, double, add, or sum calls have happened yet. Instead, the object total is a Delayed result that contains a task graph of the entire computation. Looking at the graph we see clear opportunities for parallel execution. The Dask schedulers will exploit this parallelism, generally improving performance (although not in this example, because these functions are already very small and fast.)

total.visualize()  # see image to the right
simple task graph created with dask.delayed

We can now compute this lazy result to execute the graph in parallel:

>>> total.compute()
45

Decorator

It is also common to see the delayed function used as a decorator. Here is a reproduction of our original problem as a parallel code:

import dask

@dask.delayed
def inc(x):
    return x + 1

@dask.delayed
def double(x):
    return x * 2

@dask.delayed
def add(x, y):
    return x + y

data = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

output = []
for x in data:
    a = inc(x)
    b = double(x)
    c = add(a, b)
    output.append(c)

total = dask.delayed(sum)(output)

Real time

Sometimes you want to create and destroy work during execution, launch tasks from other tasks, etc. For this, see the Futures interface.

Best Practices

For a list of common problems and recommendations see Delayed Best Practices.

Indirect Dependencies

Sometimes you might find yourself wanting to add a dependency to a task that does not take the result of that dependency as an input. For example when a task depends on the side-effect of another task. In these cases you can use dask.graph_manipulation.bind.

import dask
from dask.graph_manipulation import bind

DATA = []

@dask.delayed
def inc(x):
    return x + 1

@dask.delayed
def add_data(x):
    DATA.append(x)

@dask.delayed
def sum_data(x):
    return sum(DATA) + x

a = inc(1)
b = add_data(a)
c = inc(3)
d = add_data(c)
e = inc(5)
f = bind(sum_data, [b, d])(e)
f.compute()

sum_data will operate on DATA only after both the expected items have been appended to it. bind can also be used along with direct dependencies passed through the function arguments.