torch 0.11.0

Torch Packages/Releases R

torch v0.11.0 is now on CRAN. This release features much-enhanced support for executing JIT operations. We also amended loading of model parameters, and added a few quality-of-life improvements, like support for temporarily modifying the default torch device, support for specifying data types as strings, and many more.

Daniel Falbel (Posit)

torch v0.11.0 is now on CRAN! This blog post highlights some of the changes included in this release. But you can always find the full changelog on the torch website.

Improved loading of state dicts

For a long time it has been possible to use torch from R to load state dicts (i.e.  model weights) trained with PyTorch using the load_state_dict() function. However, it was common to get the error:

Error in cpp_load_state_dict(path) :  isGenericDict() INTERNAL ASSERT FAILED at

This happened because when saving the state_dict from Python, it wasn’t really a dictionary, but an ordered dictionary. Weights in PyTorch are serialized as Pickle files – a Python-specific format similar to our RDS. To load them in C++, without a Python runtime, LibTorch implements a pickle reader that’s able to read only a subset of the file format, and this subset didn’t include ordered dicts.

This release adds support for reading the ordered dictionaries, so you won’t see this error any longer.

Besides that, reading theses files requires half of the peak memory usage, and in consequence also is much faster. Here are the timings for reading a 3B parameter model (StableLM-3B) with v0.10.0:

  x <- torch::load_state_dict("~/Downloads/pytorch_model-00001-of-00002.bin")
  y <- torch::load_state_dict("~/Downloads/pytorch_model-00002-of-00002.bin")
   user  system elapsed 
662.300  26.859 713.484 

and with v0.11.0

   user  system elapsed 
  0.022   3.016   4.016 

Meaning that we went from minutes to just a few seconds.

Using JIT operations

One of the most common ways of extending LibTorch/PyTorch is by implementing JIT operations. This allows developers to write custom, optimized code in C++ and use it directly in PyTorch, with full support for JIT tracing and scripting. See our ‘Torch outside the box’ blog post if you want to learn more about it.

Using JIT operators in R used to require package developers to implement C++/Rcpp for each operator if they wanted to be able to call them from R directly. This release added support for calling JIT operators without requiring authors to implement the wrappers.

The only visible change is that we now have a new symbol in the torch namespace, called jit_ops. Let’s load torchvisionlib, a torch extension that registers many different JIT operations. Just loading the package with library(torchvisionlib) will make its operators available for torch to use - this is because the mechanism that registers the operators acts when the package DLL (or shared library) is loaded.

For instance, let’s use the read_file operator that efficiently reads a file into a raw (bytes) torch tensor.

... [the output was truncated (use n=-1 to disable)]
[ CPUByteType{325862} ]

We’ve made it so autocomplete works nicely, such that you can interactively explore the available operators using jit_ops$ and pressing to trigger RStudio’s autocomplete.

Other small improvements

This release also adds many small improvements that make torch more intuitive:

Final remarks

Thank you to all contributors to the torch ecosystem. This work would not be possible without all the helpful issues opened, PRs you created, and your hard work.

If you are new to torch and want to learn more, we highly recommend the recently announced book ‘Deep Learning and Scientific Computing with R torch’.

If you want to start contributing to torch, feel free to reach out on GitHub and see our contributing guide.

The full changelog for this release can be found here.

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash


Text and figures are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 4.0. The figures that have been reused from other sources don't fall under this license and can be recognized by a note in their caption: "Figure from ...".


For attribution, please cite this work as

Falbel (2023, June 7). Posit AI Blog: torch 0.11.0. Retrieved from

BibTeX citation

  author = {Falbel, Daniel},
  title = {Posit AI Blog: torch 0.11.0},
  url = {},
  year = {2023}