Save and Load models

Inspect a TF Checkpoint

The ModelSaver callback saves the model to the directory defined by logger.get_logger_dir(), in TensorFlow checkpoint format. A TF checkpoint typically includes a .data-xxxxx file and a .index file. Both are necessary.

tf.train.NewCheckpointReader is the offical tool to parse TensorFlow checkpoint. Read TF docs for details. Tensorpack also provides a small tool to load checkpoints, see load_chkpt_vars for details.

scripts/ demos how to print all variables and their shapes in a checkpoint.

scripts/ can be used to remove unnecessary variables in a checkpoint. It takes a metagraph file (which is also saved by ModelSaver) and only saves variables that the model needs at inference time. It dumps the model to a var-name: value dict saved in npz format.

Load a Model to a Session

Model loading (in both training and inference) is through the session_init interface. Currently there are two ways a session can be restored: session_init=SaverRestore(…) which restores a TF checkpoint, or session_init=DictRestore(…) which restores a dict. To load multiple models, use ChainInit.

Many models in tensorpack model zoo are provided in the form of numpy dictionary (.npz), because it is easier to load and manipulate without requiring TensorFlow. To load such files to a session, use DictRestore(dict(np.load(filename))). You can also use get_model_loader, a small helper to create a SaverRestore or DictRestore based on the file name.

DictRestore is the most general loader because you can make arbitrary changes you need (e.g., remove variables, rename variables) to the dict. To load a TF checkpoint into a dict in order to make changes, use load_chkpt_vars.

Variable restoring is completely based on name match between variables in the current graph and variables in the session_init initializer. Variables that appear in only one side will be printed as warning.

Transfer Learning

Therefore, transfer learning is trivial. If you want to load a pre-trained model, just use the same variable names. If you want to re-train some layer, just rename either the variables in the graph or the variables in your loader.

Resume Training

“resume training” is mostly just “loading the last known checkpoint”. Therefore you should refer to the previous section on how to load a model.


A checkpoint does not resume everything!

The TensorFlow checkpoint only saves TensorFlow variables, which means other Python state that are not TensorFlow variables will not be saved and resumed. This means:

  1. Training epoch number will not be resumed. You can set it by providing a starting_epoch to your resume job.

  2. State in your callbacks will not be resumed. Certain callbacks maintain a state (e.g., current best accuracy) in Python, which cannot be saved automatically.

The AutoResumeTrainConfig is an alternative of TrainConfig which applies some heuristics to