Numba compilation#

In nearly all numerical simulation software, time is mostly spent on constructing the numerical system and solving it. The construction of the DAE in ANDES involves the evaluation of functions from models that implement the residuals and Jacobians.

Numba is a just-in-time compiler in Python that can turn numerical functions into compiled machine code. In ANDES, it can speed up simulations by as much as 30%. The speedup is most effective in medium-sized systems with multiple models. Such systems involve heavy function calls but rather moderate load for linear equation solvers. It is is less significant in large-scale systems where solving equations is the major time consumer.


Numba is supported since ANDES 1.5.0 and is automatically installed for ANDES>=1.5.3.

Enabling Numba JIT#

Numba needs to be enabled manually. In the ANDES config file: in section [System], set numba = 1, so that it looks like

   numba = 1

where the ... are other options that are omitted here.

Just-in-time compilation will compile the code upon the first execution based on the input types. This is the default mode of Numba. When compilation is triggered, ANDES may appear frozen due to the compilation lag. To reuse the compiled code and save compilation time for future runs, the compiled binary code will be automatically cached. The default cache folder is in $HOME/.andes/pydata/__pycache__ with file extensions nbc and nbi

Numba compilation needs to be distinguished from the ANDES code generation by andes prepare. The ANDES code generation is to generate Python code from symbolically defined models and is relatively fast. The Numba compilation further compiles the generated Python code to machine code. Whenever the ANDES code generation produces new Python code, the cached Numba binary code will be invalidated.

When not to compile#

when developing models, we recommend disabling numba to avoid spending time on compilation.

Ahead-of-time compilation#

Just-in-time compilation can feel laggy. When ANDES is not being developed, one can compile the generated Python code ahead of time to avoid just-in-time delays. We call it "precompilation".

Precompilation is invoked by

andes prep -c

It may take a minute for the first time. Owing to caching, future compilations will be incremental and much faster.