Structuring TensorFlow Models

Danijar Hafner has an excellent tutorial on Structuring Your TensorFlow Models. I really liked it so I am posting it here so its always easy to find. He is using Python’s decorators to provide a lazy initialization for the graph components. Its a neat trick. Totally separate from TensorFlow, I am actively working on improving my Python programming and will definitely be using this approach in the future.

NetworkX Graph library for Python

I’ll admit – I still try and write Python like it was C or C++. To fix that for a while I am going to switch to writing things in Python for a while, while working on actually writing good Python.

Graph algorithms are the kidneys of computer science – there in the background filtering out all the bad things for us. In my switch over to writing in Python I needed to find a solid python graph library, and decided to try NetworkX. Here is a simple example program using it. These are mostly just notes for myself – but I am posting it here in case it is useful to anyone else.

This code is basically the NetworkX weighted graph example, with some annotations. Here is some code to create and plot a weighted graph.

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import networkx as nx

# Populate the graph...
map_graph = nx.Graph()

map_graph.add_edge('Issaquah','Bellevue', weight=0.11 )
map_graph.add_edge('Bellevue','Kirkland', weight=0.05 )
map_graph.add_edge('Bellevue','Redmond', weight=0.06 )
map_graph.add_edge('Kirkland','Redmond', weight=0.24 )
map_graph.add_edge('Bellevue','Seattle', weight=0.01 )
map_graph.add_edge('Renton','Seattle', weight=0.03 )
map_graph.add_edge('Renton','Bellevue', weight=0.48 )

# Determine the layout of points in the graph. Some other layouts that 
# would work here are spring_layout, shell_layout, and random_layout                                                                                                 
pos = nx.circular_layout( map_graph ) # Sets positions for nodes

# Put "dots" down for each node                                                     
nx.draw_networkx_nodes( map_graph, pos, node_size=700)

# Attaches Labesl to each node                                                               
nx.draw_networkx_labels( map_graph, pos, font_size=14, font_family='sans-serif')

map_edges = [(u,v) for (u, v, d) in map_graph.edges(data=True) ]

nx.draw_networkx_edges( map_graph,
                        pos,             # Spring
                        map_edges,       # List of edges                                     
                        width=5, alpha=0.5, edge_color='b', style='dashed' )


The plotted graph looks something like this.

Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 5.01.30 PM

One of the things I want from a graph library is the standard graph algorithms – like finding me the shortest path between nodes, or testing for the presence of a path at all. So for example to find the shortest path from Issaquah to Renton we could add the following code to the example above?:

# Generates the shortest path - but since there could be more than                                                   
# one of them what you get back is a "generator" from which you                                                      
# need to pluck the shortest path.                                                                                   
a_shortest_path = nx.all_shortest_paths(map_graph, source='Issaquah', target='Renton')                              

print( [p for p in a_shortest_path] )    

The added code will give the path [['Issaquah', 'Bellevue', 'Renton']], which is the shortest path by number of edges traversed. To obtain the shortest path by edge weight we can use dijkstras like so:

a_shortest_path = nx.dijkstra_path(map_graph, ‘Issaquah’, ‘Renton’)
print( a_shortest_path )

Which gives the path: ['Issaquah', 'Bellevue', 'Seattle', 'Renton']

The problem is that this implementation of dijkstra’s fails when a path is not present between the origin and destination nodes. So for example if we add a disconnected vertex with no edges like below, searches on a path to that vertex will cause the call to fail.

map_graph.add_node(‘Mercer Island’)

Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 8.15.15 PM

I think you need to use the has_path method to test for the existence of any path first, then if there is a path use dijkstras to find the minimum cost path. Something like this:

# Create a helper function for testing for a path
def shortest_weighted(from_node, to_node):
    if nx.has_path( map_graph, from_node, to_node ) == True :
	a_shortest_path = nx.dijkstra_path(map_graph, from_node, to_node)
        return( a_shortest_path )
        print("No path from",from_node,"to", to_node, "\r\n")
        return( False )

Then checking for the minimum path can look something like this:

# Test where path does not exist
shortest_weighted_path = shortest_weighted( 'Issaquah', 'Mercer Island' )
if shortest_weighted_path != False:
    print( shortest_weighted_path )

# Test where path does exist
shortest_weighted_path = shortest_weighted( 'Issaquah', 'Renton' )
if shortest_weighted_path != False:
    print( shortest_weighted_path )

Neither call will fail and checking for the existing path from Issaquah to Renton will return: ['Issaquah', 'Bellevue', 'Seattle', 'Renton']

Since the graphs are weighted – list comprehensions can be used to conditionally act based on edge weights. For example:

# Segment the nodes by weight                                                                                                  
map_red_edges  = [(u,v) for (u, v, d) in map_graph.edges(data=True) if d['weight'] >  0.1  ]
map_blue_edges = [(u,v) for (u, v, d) in map_graph.edges(data=True) if d['weight'] <= 0.1  ]

Then use the segmentation to perform multiple colorings.

nx.draw_networkx_edges( map_graph,
                        pos,             # Spring                                                                    
                        map_red_edges,   # List of edges                                                             
                        style='dashed' )

nx.draw_networkx_edges( map_graph,
                        pos,             # Spring                                                                    
                        map_blue_edges,  # List of edges                                                             
                        style='solid' )

Which will produce the following graph:

Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 9.49.43 PM

Also useful is shortest_path, which returns all the paths between all nodes, but sorted by vertex traversal path length. So the following code:

paths = nx.shortest_path(map_graph)
print( paths )

Generates the following paths.

{'Issaquah': {'Issaquah': ['Issaquah'], 'Bellevue': ['Issaquah', 'Bellevue'], 'Kirkland': ['Issaquah', 'Bellevue', 'Kirkland'], 'Redmond': ['Issaquah', 'Bellevue', 'Redmond'], 'Seattle': ['Issaquah', 'Bellevue', 'Seattle'], 'Renton': ['Issaquah', 'Bellevue', 'Renton']}, 'Bellevue': {'Bellevue': ['Bellevue'], 'Issaquah': ['Bellevue', 'Issaquah'], 'Kirkland': ['Bellevue', 'Kirkland'], 'Redmond': ['Bellevue', 'Redmond'], 'Seattle': ['Bellevue', 'Seattle'], 'Renton': ['Bellevue', 'Renton']}, 'Kirkland': {'Kirkland': ['Kirkland'], 'Bellevue': ['Kirkland', 'Bellevue'], 'Redmond': ['Kirkland', 'Redmond'], 'Issaquah': ['Kirkland', 'Bellevue', 'Issaquah'], 'Seattle': ['Kirkland', 'Bellevue', 'Seattle'], 'Renton': ['Kirkland', 'Bellevue', 'Renton']}, 'Redmond': {'Redmond': ['Redmond'], 'Bellevue': ['Redmond', 'Bellevue'], 'Kirkland': ['Redmond', 'Kirkland'], 'Issaquah': ['Redmond', 'Bellevue', 'Issaquah'], 'Seattle': ['Redmond', 'Bellevue', 'Seattle'], 'Renton': ['Redmond', 'Bellevue', 'Renton']}, 'Seattle': {'Seattle': ['Seattle'], 'Bellevue': ['Seattle', 'Bellevue'], 'Renton': ['Seattle', 'Renton'], 'Issaquah': ['Seattle', 'Bellevue', 'Issaquah'], 'Kirkland': ['Seattle', 'Bellevue', 'Kirkland'], 'Redmond': ['Seattle', 'Bellevue', 'Redmond']}, 'Renton': {'Renton': ['Renton'], 'Seattle': ['Renton', 'Seattle'], 'Bellevue': ['Renton', 'Bellevue'], 'Issaquah': ['Renton', 'Bellevue', 'Issaquah'], 'Kirkland': ['Renton', 'Bellevue', 'Kirkland'], 'Redmond': ['Renton', 'Bellevue', 'Redmond']}, 'Mercer Island': {'Mercer Island': ['Mercer Island']}}

A Cool way to do tree / graph traversal

As part of the latest skills review – I am going back over my coding and trying to get better. Being honest I have been pleasantly surprised, but embarrassed, by some of the places I have found I have room for improvement. It is worth it though – cause sometimes you catch gems like this.

When traversing trees, I tend to traverse them like they were graphs, and using queues. So for the problem of traverse a binary tree (not a BST), and return the largest value in each row I wrote the following code:

    vector largestValues(TreeNode* root) {
        vector maxrowval;
        if( root == NULL )
        queue > treesearch;
        while( !treesearch.empty()){
            TreeNode* curNode = treesearch.front().first;
            int curDepth = treesearch.front().second;
            if( maxrowval.size() <= curDepth ){
            if( maxrowval[curDepth] < curNode->val ){
                maxrowval[curDepth] = curNode->val;
            if( curNode->left != NULL ){
                treesearch.push(make_pair(curNode->left, curDepth+1));
            if( curNode->right != NULL ){
                treesearch.push(make_pair(curNode->right, curDepth+1));
        return( maxrowval );

What I just ran across was someone who wrote the following code for the same problem. He is using a list as opposed to a queue – but the logic of what we are doing is about the same. Only his double nested loop traversal of the list should be much faster. It avoids a lot of pushing and popping operations, and leaves the constructed search list intact. I am posting this here so I can come back and look at this later. This is the kind of thing I am going to want to stew on and see where else it might be a useful thing to have in the toolbox.

    vector largestValues(TreeNode* root) {
        vector result;
        list current;
        if (root != nullptr) {
        while (current.size()) {
            int max_value = INT_MIN;
            int size = current.size();
            while (size) {
                TreeNode* node = current.front();
                max_value = max(max_value, node->val);
                if (node->left != nullptr) {
                if (node->right != nullptr) {
        return result;

Correction – find missing / extra element in set of values 1..(N-1)

So I already noted this correction in the previous post – but this is what they find a repeated / missing element in a collection of values from 1…N-1 should have looked like.

Correction - find a repeated / missing element in set of values 1..(N-1)

Correction - find a repeated / missing element in set of values 1..(N-1)

Just writing this problem down is making me realize how much I have forgotten. Time to crack open the books. I mean I even forgot my notation for mapping into a set with conditions!

Algorithm to find the center of a list in O(n) time

Same technique can be used to find loops in a liked list. If you advance through the list one pointer at rate X, and another pointer through the list at rate (1/2)X then when the faster pointer is at the end of the list the slower pointer will be pointing to the center element of the list.

<pre class=code>

// findCenterElement – finds the element at the center of the list

node *findCenter(node *curList){

node *centerNode = curList;

node *curNode = curList;

if(curList == (node *)NULL)

return((node *)NULL);

if(curNode->next != (node *)NULL){

while(((curNode->next)->next) != (node *)NULL)


curNode = (curNode->next)->next;

centerNode = (centerNode->next);