Halide (programming language)

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Paradigmfunctional, parallel
Designed byJonathan Ragan-Kelley and Andrew Adams
DeveloperMIT, (with help from Stanford, Google, and Adobe)
First appeared2012
Typing disciplinestatic
Implementation languageC++
OSMac OS, mainstream Linux distributions, Windows

Halide is a computer programming language designed for writing digital image processing code that takes advantage of memory locality, vectorized computation and multi-core CPUs and GPUs.[1] Halide is implemented as an internal domain-specific language (DSL) in C++.


The main innovation Halide brings is the separation of the algorithm being implemented from its execution schedule, i.e. code specifying the loop nesting, parallelization, loop unrolling and vector instruction. These two are usually interleaved together and experimenting with changing the schedule requires the programmer to rewrite large portions of the algorithm with every change. With Halide, changing the schedule does not require any changes to the algorithm and this allows the programmer to experiment with scheduling and finding the most efficient one.

Sample source code[edit]

The following function defines and sets the schedule for a 3×3 box filter defined as a series of two 3×1 passes:

Func blur_3x3(Func input) {
  Func blur_x, blur_y;
  Var x, y, xi, yi;

  // The algorithm - no storage or order
  blur_x(x, y) = (input(x-1, y) + input(x, y) + input(x+1, y))/3;
  blur_y(x, y) = (blur_x(x, y-1) + blur_x(x, y) + blur_x(x, y+1))/3;

  // The schedule - defines order, locality; implies storage
  blur_y.tile(x, y, xi, yi, 256, 32)
        .vectorize(xi, 8).parallel(y);
  blur_x.compute_at(blur_y, x).vectorize(x, 8);

  return blur_y;


Google used Halide and TensorFlow for its Pixel 2 Pixel Visual Core.[2] Adobe Photoshop also uses Halide.[3] Both Google and Adobe have been involved in Halide research.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Halide - New Language For Image Processing". 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Google and Intel cook AI chips, neural network exchanges – and more". The Register. Situation Publishing.
  3. ^ "Photoshop freezing at startup on Halide Bottlenecks". 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Learning to Optimize Halide with Tree Search and Random Programs" (PDF). 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2019.

External links[edit]