I’ve been working on implementing a seq2seq model and tried to use `torch.utils.data.DataLoader`

to batch data following the **Data Loading and Processing Tutorial**. It seems DataLoader cannot handle various length of data. Or are there other ways to batch different length of data?

you could create a transformation that trims / pads each sample to a specific length and then use the pack padded sequence function

You need to customize your own dataloader.

What you need is basically pad your variable-length of input and torch.stack() them together into a single tensor. This tensor will then be used as an input to your model.

I think it’s worth to mention that using `pack_padded_sequence`

isn’t absolutely necessary. `pack_padded_sequence`

is kind of designed to work with the LSTM/GPU/RNN from cuDNN. They are optimized to run very fast.

But, if you have your own proposed method that prevents you from using standard LSTM/GPU/RNN, as mentioned here:

The easiest way to make a custom RNN compatible with variable-length sequences is to do what this repo does (masking) https://github.com/jihunchoi/recurrent-batch-normalization-pytorch

Thx sir. Do you mean getting a batch of data and padding them manually? That’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m just wondering if there’s a ‘pytorch’ proper way to do this.

I meant to create your own Dataset class and then do a transform to pad to a given length. An example of a custom dataset class below. The idea would be to add a transform to that which pads to tensors so that upon every call of **getitem**() the tensors are padded and thus the batch is all padded tensors. You could also have the **getitem**() function return a third value, which is the original length of the tensor so you can do masking.

I was wondering if there is a more efficient way of padding sequences. The easiest option is to just pad all sequences to the max length possible, currently I implemented my own Dataset object and use a Transform that pads all sequences to the same length. But is there a way to do that per batch and not globally for the whole dataset (pad the batch when DataLoader samples the batch)? Sounds like I need to create a DataLoader?

Edit:

I found a possible solution at: http://pytorch.org/docs/master/_modules/torch/utils/data/sampler.html.

Specifically, you can implement your own version of `BatchSampler`

to padd the according to the longest sequence in the batch. I will post my implementatino when done.

I think you want to use the collate_fn function in the DataLoader class.

I did one there with packed sequences. I don’t know if this is the fastest way, but it would accomplish what you want to do. Also you could use any of the pre-built samplers that you wanted.

Thanks David, `collate_fn`

was a good direction . I wrote a simple code that maybe someone here can re-use. I wanted to make something that pads a generic dim, and I don’t use an RNN of any type so PackedSequence was a bit of overkill for me. It’s simple, but it works for me.

```
def pad_tensor(vec, pad, dim):
"""
args:
vec - tensor to pad
pad - the size to pad to
dim - dimension to pad
return:
a new tensor padded to 'pad' in dimension 'dim'
"""
pad_size = list(vec.shape)
pad_size[dim] = pad - vec.size(dim)
return torch.cat([vec, torch.zeros(*pad_size)], dim=dim)
class PadCollate:
"""
a variant of callate_fn that pads according to the longest sequence in
a batch of sequences
"""
def __init__(self, dim=0):
"""
args:
dim - the dimension to be padded (dimension of time in sequences)
"""
self.dim = dim
def pad_collate(self, batch):
"""
args:
batch - list of (tensor, label)
reutrn:
xs - a tensor of all examples in 'batch' after padding
ys - a LongTensor of all labels in batch
"""
# find longest sequence
max_len = max(map(lambda x: x[0].shape[self.dim], batch))
# pad according to max_len
batch = map(lambda (x, y):
(pad_tensor(x, pad=max_len, dim=self.dim), y), batch)
# stack all
xs = torch.stack(map(lambda x: x[0], batch), dim=0)
ys = torch.LongTensor(map(lambda x: x[1], batch))
return xs, ys
def __call__(self, batch):
return self.pad_collate(batch)
```

to be used with the data loader:

`train_loader = DataLoader(ds, ..., collate_fn=PadCollate(dim=0))`

Felix, I think your code only pads correctly if dim=0. This is because in the pad vector in the pad_tensor function has *vec.size()[1:] hardcoded into it. I think you need to create a vector that is pad - vec.size(dim) in the dim dimension and not always in the zeroth dimension. However, I could be wrong. I adapted the code to work with python3 and added the ability to pad with different values, so I may have screwed something up in the process.

David, you are correct, I updated the `pad`

function to work with any `dim`

, thanks.

If you are going to pack your padded sequences later, you can also immediately sort the batches from longest sequence to shortest:

```
def sort_batch(batch, targets, lengths):
"""
Sort a minibatch by the length of the sequences with the longest sequences first
return the sorted batch targes and sequence lengths.
This way the output can be used by pack_padded_sequences(...)
"""
seq_lengths, perm_idx = lengths.sort(0, descending=True)
seq_tensor = batch[perm_idx]
target_tensor = targets[perm_idx]
return seq_tensor, target_tensor, seq_lengths
def pad_and_sort_batch(DataLoaderBatch):
"""
DataLoaderBatch should be a list of (sequence, target, length) tuples...
Returns a padded tensor of sequences sorted from longest to shortest,
"""
batch_size = len(DataLoaderBatch)
batch_split = list(zip(*DataLoaderBatch))
seqs, targs, lengths = batch_split[0], batch_split[1], batch_split[2]
max_length = max(lengths)
padded_seqs = np.zeros((batch_size, max_length))
for i, l in enumerate(lengths):
padded_seqs[i, 0:l] = seqs[i][0:l]
return sort_batch(torch.tensor(padded_seqs), torch.tensor(targs).view(-1,1), torch.tensor(lengths))
```

This assumes that your Dataset spits out something like

```
def __getitem__(self, idx):
return self.sequences[idx], torch.tensor(self.targets[idx]), self.sequence_lengths[idx]
```

And the you pass the pad_and_sort collator to the DataLoader as:

`train_gen = Data.DataLoader(train_data, batch_size=128, shuffle=True, collate_fn=pad_and_sort_batch)`

For future readers, if like me you were looking for the above (which is great) but also to batch your sequences by their length to minimize padding necessary then I wrote a Batch Sampler for this: Tensorflow-esque bucket by sequence length

To answer the original question, you can pass a (simple and short) custom collate function to the data loader that uses `pack_sequence`

.

`pack_sequence`

does not require the sequences to be padded or sorted by length, so it is simpler to use.

Here is the code that does this (based on this answer to a similar question: How to create a dataloader with variable-size input )

```
from torch.nn.utils.rnn import pack_sequence
from torch.utils.data import DataLoader
def my_collate(batch):
# batch contains a list of tuples of structure (sequence, target)
data = [item[0] for item in batch]
data = pack_sequence(data, enforce_sorted=False)
targets = [item[1] for item in batch]
return [data, targets]
# ...
# later in you code, when you define you DataLoader - use the custom collate function
loader = DataLoader(dataset,
batch_size,
shuffle,
collate_fn=my_collate, # use custom collate function here
pin_memory=True)
```

This is how I solved it:

```
def collate_fn_padd(batch):
'''
Padds batch of variable length
note: it converts things ToTensor manually here since the ToTensor transform
assume it takes in images rather than arbitrary tensors.
'''
## get sequence lengths
lengths = torch.tensor([ t.shape[0] for t in batch ]).to(device)
## padd
batch = [ torch.Tensor(t).to(device) for t in batch ]
batch = torch.nn.utils.rnn.pad_sequence(batch)
## compute mask
mask = (batch != 0).to(device)
return batch, lengths, mask
```

Related posts:

- How to create batches of a list of varying dimension tensors?
- How to create a dataloader with variable-size input
- Using variable sized input - Is padding required?
- DataLoader for various length of data
- How to do padding based on lengths?

bucketing:

Stack overflows version:

crossposted: https://www.quora.com/unanswered/How-does-Pytorch-Dataloader-handle-variable-size-data

Here’s a collator I use, it works for tensors of any dimension:

```
class ZeroPadCollator:
@staticmethod
def collate_tensors(batch: List[torch.Tensor]) -> torch.Tensor:
dims = batch[0].dim()
max_size = [max([b.size(i) for b in batch]) for i in range(dims)]
size = (len(batch),) + tuple(max_size)
canvas = batch[0].new_zeros(size=size)
for i, b in enumerate(batch):
sub_tensor = canvas[i]
for d in range(dims):
sub_tensor = sub_tensor.narrow(d, 0, b.size(d))
sub_tensor.add_(b)
return canvas
def collate(self, batch, ) -> List[torch.Tensor]:
dims = len(batch[0])
return [self.collate_tensors([b[i] for b in batch]) for i in range(dims)]
```

Then I simply use:

```
zero_pad = ZeroPadCollator()
loader = DataLoader(train, args.batch_size, collate_fn=zero_pad.collate)```
```

For the others who might have the same issue with RNN and multiple lengths sequences, here is my solution if your dataset __getitem__ method returns a pair (seq, target) :

```
from torch.nn.utils.rnn import pad_sequence
def collate_fn_pad(list_pairs_seq_target):
seqs = [seq for seq, target in list_pairs_seq_target]
targets = [target for seq, target in list_pairs_seq_target]
seqs_padded_batched = pad_sequence(seqs) # will pad at beginning of sequences
targets_batched = torch.stack(targets)
assert seqs_padded_batched.shape[1] == len(targets_batched)
return seqs_padded_batched, targets_batched
dataloader = DataLoader(dataset, batch_size=32, shuffle=True, collate_fn=collate_fn_pad)
for seq, labels in dataloader:
y_pred = rnn(seq)
```