liquidSVM: Documentation for R

knitr::opts_chunk$set(collapse = TRUE, comment = "#>", eval=T)


myOwnCache <- function(name, envir=parent.frame(),vignette_dir="."){
  filename <- paste0(vignette_dir,'/demo_cache/',name,".R")
  if(exists(name, envir=envir)){
    dput(get(name, envir=envir), file=filename)
  }else if(file.exists(filename)){
    warning(paste0("Did not have or load ",name))

To see a demonstration of the capabilities of liquidSVM from an R viewpoint, please look at the demo.

Disclaimer: liquidSVM and the R-bindings are in general quite stable and well tested by several people. However, use in production is at your own risk.

If you run into problems please check first the documentation for more details, or report the bug to the maintainer.


There are several options to install the package.

Download and Install using R

The most convenient way is to use the standard install to get it from CRAN:


You can also use our repository:

install.packages("liquidSVM", repos="")

Remark that in R a package can be installed either as source or binary

Source (default on Linux Systems): : Allows for optimization to the system and liquidSVM can benefit a lot from these optimizations. The drawback is that this needs a C++ compiler. This is usually okay on Linux-systems, but on Windows one has to install Rtools, and on MacOS X Xcode in MacApp Store (Xcode also for older MacOS versions.)

Binary (default on Windows and MacOS X): : compiled versions are provided, so you do not need compilers. However, these are optimized for generic processors (e.g. they do not use AVX), and hence you might do much better on your machine if you compile it yourself.

You can change the default behaviour of install.packages(...) under Windows/MacOS by using the parameter type="source".

The binaries in our repository are only compiled using R version 3.*. If you use another version, they might not work and you have to try source installation (type="source").

Note: on MacOS X there can be an issue with binary package installation. If you get the error tar: Failed to set default locale then consult

Install a downloaded package

Download the source or binary package from On the command line use:

R CMD INSTALL path-to-package/liquidSVM_1.0.1.tar.gz
# Windows
Rcmd INSTALL path-to-package/
# MacOS X using Termninal
R CMD INSTALL path-to-package/liquidSVM_1.0.1.tgz

or in a running R session:

# Windows binary
# MacOS X binary

You can use also the means of any R-IDE. E.g. in RStudio go to the menu

Tools > Install packages...

Then set install from to package archive file (.tar.gz or .tgz) and choose your package and install the package.

Advanced Configuration Options with Source Install

liquidSVM can be configured for different uses of available hardware. We provide the following configurations:

native : compiles for the current system, e.g. uses AVX or even AVX2 if available. This uses g++/clang++ -march=native -O3.

generic : compiles for a wide range of currently deployed CPUs (uses SSE). This uses g++/clang++ -mtune=generic -O3. Our binary packages are compiled with this configuration.

default : compiles using the default values provided by R.

debug : compiles with debugging enabled.

empty : gives no default compile arguments.

Additional compiler flags can be provided as well. On the command line, here are some examples:

R CMD INSTALL --configure-args=native path-to-package/liquidSVM_1.0.1.tar.gz
R CMD INSTALL --configure-args=generic path-to-package/liquidSVM_1.0.1.tar.gz
R CMD INSTALL --configure-args="empty -march=core2 -O3" path-to-package/liquidSVM_1.0.1.tar.gz

or in a running R session:

install.packages("liquidSVM",configure.args="empty -march=core2 -O3")

Under MacOS you have to add the paramter type="source" in order to trigger compilation.

Hint: to see whether liquidSVM got compiled with SSE and/or AVX use: ```r compilationInfo()

### Windows configuration

On **Windows** unfortunately neither `--configure-args` nor `configure.args` have any effect.
We enable compilation configuration by reading the environment variable `LIQUIDSVM_CONFIGURE_ARGS`
and using it in the same way as the configure args on the other platforms (see above).
So on the Windows command line use

set LIQUIDSVM_CONFIGURE_ARGS=native R CMD INSTALL path-to-package/liquidSVM_1.0.1.tar.gz

set LIQUIDSVM_CONFIGURE_ARGS=empty -march=core2 -O3 R CMD INSTALL path-to-package/liquidSVM_1.0.1.tar.gz

Remark that no quotation has to be used.
It is not tested whether paths with spaces will work in this setting.

If you wish to install from within R you can specify the environment variable as well:

Sys.setenv(LIQUIDSVM_CONFIGURE_ARGS="empty -march=core2 -O3")

If you have Rtools installed then you should definitely try to use native, because on Windows we use generic as the default configuration even for source installs.

Common Problems

For GCC it can help to use g++ -Q --help=target -march=native ... to figure out which options trigger what optimizations. For both GCC and clang you can also print the compilation headers by g++ -march=native ... -dM -E - < /dev/null | egrep "SSE|AVX".


liquidSVM also is able to calculate the kernel on a GPU if it is compiled with CUDA-support. Since there is a big overhead in moving the kernel matrix from the GPU memory, this is most useful for problems with many feature-dimensions (see demo)

To activate CUDA support you have to specify its location (usually /usr/local/cuda) as a parameter to the configure arguments:

R CMD INSTALL --configure-args="native /my/path/to/cuda" path-to-package/liquidSVM_1.0.1.tar.gz

or again in R

install.packages('liquidSVM',configure.args="native /my/path/to/cuda")

Note that due to lack of testing machines this is known to work only on some Linux machines. The above instructions will probably not work on Windows!

If you have compiled with CUDA-support, you can activate it for a computation by using svm(..., GPUs=1):

Configuration parameters

The uses of svm(...), lsSVM(...), mcSVM(...), etc. can be configured using the following parameters.

Known Issues / Common Problems

Using external parallelization

liquidSVM does its own threading - hence do not parallelize on top of that, unless you know what you are doing. Hence just give the parameter threads=n or let the default use all of your physical cores.

If you really want to do it yourself you have to serialze the solutions. Furthermore you have to be carefule to assign disjoint cores else they will fight for the same core:

## how big should the cluster be
workers <- 2
cl <- makeCluster(workers)
## how many threads should each worker use
threads <- 2

sml <- liquidData('reg-1d')
clusterExport(cl, c("sml","threads","workers"))
obj <- parLapply(cl, 1:workers, function(i) {
  ## to make it interesting use disjoint parts of sml$train
  data <- sml$train[ seq(i,nrow(sml$train),workers) , ]
  ## the second argument to threads sets the offset of cores
  model <- lsSVM(Y~., data, threads=c(threads,threads*(i-1)) )
  ## finally return the serialized solution
for(i in 1:workers){
  ## get the solution in the master session
  model <- unserialize.liquidSVM(obj[[i]])
#> val_error
#>   0.00542
#>  val_error
#>   0.00583

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liquidSVM documentation built on Sept. 15, 2019, 1:02 a.m.