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From "Singh, Rajan" <>
Subject MXNet Protobuf dependency
Date Wed, 23 May 2018 18:05:57 GMT

Currently, MXNet has Protobuf ( version 2.5) as one of its dependency. The dependency comes
from PS-lite<>
used for distributed training.
Recently, we have added ONNX support in MXNet(1.2.0) contrib package( import ONNX support).
This module has a runtime dependency on Protobuf(version 3) , needed for ONNX.
So, if a user tries to do “import onnx”, will get a message:

“To use this module developers need to install ONNX, which requires the protobuf compiler
to be installed separately. Please follow the instructions to install ONNX and its dependencies<>.
MXNet currently supports ONNX v1.1.1. Once installed, you can go through the tutorials on
how to use this module.”

User will end up installing protobuf version 3.5.2. Since Protobuf backward compatibility
is flaky, anything dependent on version < 2.6, will probably break. In this case, distributed
training might break for the user.

IMO, To resolve this dependency conflict in MXNet, would require an update to PS-lite dependency
to  Protobuf version 3. Is there a POA to update this dependency for PS-lite?
FYI: We are also working on adding an export module support, will export MXNet models to ONNX
format, which will also have Protobuf version 3 and ONNX as its runtime dependency.

Please let me know, what should be best path moving forward.


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