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Import TensorFlow Channel Feedback Compression Network and Deploy to GPU

This example shows how to import a pretrained TensorFlow™ channel state feedback autoencoder for generating GPU-specific C++ code. In this example, you learn how to import, test, and fine-tune the network weights to a new channel. Then you generate C++ code to target an NVIDIA® GPU using the cuDNN deep learning optimized library. Finally, you compare the prediction accuracy of the generated code from the network against the prediction accuracy in MATLAB®.

Generating optimized code for prediction using a high-performance library such as cuDNN improves latency, throughput, and memory efficiency by combining network layers and optimizing kernel selection. You can integrate the generated code into your project as source code, static or dynamic libraries, or executables that you can deploy to a variety of NVIDIA GPU platforms.

Third-Party Prerequisites


This example generates CUDA MEX and has the following third-party requirements.

  • CUDA® enabled NVIDIA GPU and compatible driver.

For details, see GPU Computing Requirements (Parallel Computing Toolbox).


For non-MEX builds that generate static, or dynamic libraries or executables, this example has the following additional requirements.

  • NVIDIA toolkit

  • NVIDIA cuDNN library

  • Environment variables for the compilers and libraries

For more information, see Installing Prerequisite Products (GPU Coder) and Setting Up the Prerequisite Products (GPU Coder) for GPU Coder™.

Import Pretrained Model

This example works with the CSINet TensorFlow models available at the GitHub repository in [2]. The repository contains eight models trained on the COST2100 channel model for indoor and outdoor environments and compression rates 1/4, 1/16, 1/32, and 1/64. This example uses an outdoor environment model with a compression rate of 1/32. To use another pretrained model from [2] with a different compression rate, download the model to the example folder and set the modelDir input argument to the downloaded model location.

Using a model with a lower compression rate, for example 1/4, achieves higher prediction accuracy at the expense of larger memory footprint, longer training, and prediction time.

Using the helperDownloadFiles function, download the pretrained model from If you do not have an internet connection, you can download the ZIP file manually on a computer that is connected to the internet, unzip it, and save it to the example folder.

Starting download pretrained model.
Downloading pretrained model. Extracting files.
Extract complete.

Use importNetworkFromTensorFlow to import the pretrained CSINet model into the MATLAB workspace as a dlnetwork (Deep Learning Toolbox) object.

modelDir = fullfile(pwd,"CSINetOutdoor64","CSINetOutdoor64");
importedCSINet = importNetworkFromTensorFlow(modelDir);
Importing the saved model...
Translating the model, this may take a few minutes...
Finished translation. Assembling network...
Import finished.

Test Imported Model

Test the imported autoencoder network, importedCSINet, in a zero-forcing (ZF) precoded OFDM MIMO link in the frequency domain over a CDL channel. Since the imported autoencoder is trained on the COST2100 channel model, it is not expected to perform well before you fine-tune its weights.

The example tests the imported model using an OFDM link over a CDL channel with the following parameters:

  • Transmit antennas: 32

  • Receive antennas: 2

  • Delay profile: CDL-B

  • RMS delay spread: 100 ns

  • Maximum delay after truncation: 32

  • Maximum Doppler: 2 Hz

  • Resource blocks: 48

  • Subcarrier spacing: 30 KHz

To test and fine tune the imported network, first download a preprocessed data set of channel estimates from If you do not have an internet connection, you can download the data set manually on a computer that is connected to the Internet, unzip it, and save it to the example folder. To generate and preprocess a data set with different channel parameters, use the helperGenerateCSINetDataSet function to set the new channel parameters and set datasetSource to generate data set.

downloadDataset = true;

if downloadDataset
Starting download data set.
Downloading data set. Extracting files.
Extract complete.

Use the helperComputeLinkErrorRateWithPrecoder function to simulate a MIMO CDL channel in the frequency domain with a zero-forcing precoder. It uses the importedCSINet object to compress and decompress the estimated OFDM channel response and creates a precoder matrix based on CSINet channel estimates. It then computes the error rate between the transmitted and received information bits. Use 16-QAM modulation to view the effect of channel feedback compression with CSINet on the received constellation after applying ZF precoding. The random number generator seed is fixed for reproducibility purposes only.

bitsPerSymbol = 4;
opt.bps = bitsPerSymbol;
opt.NumStreams = opt.NumRxAntennas;
[errorRate, rxSymbols] = helperComputeLinkErrorRateWithPrecoder(importedCSINet,channel,carrier,opt);
fprintf("Error rate on the CDL channel is %f \n",errorRate)
Error rate on the CDL channel is 0.432958 

Use a comm.ConstellationDiagram object to visualize the received symbols constellation. The constellation diagram shows that the received symbols can not be resolved with low error rate.

refConstellation = qammod((0:2^bitsPerSymbol-1)',2^bitsPerSymbol,"UnitAveragePower",true);
scope = comm.ConstellationDiagram( ...
    ShowReferenceConstellation=true, ...
    ReferenceConstellation=refConstellation, ...
    Title="Received Symbols", ...
    Name="Zero-Forcing Precoding with CSINet");


Next, you fine-tune the weights of the imported autoencoder to the CDL channel model and evaluate the link performance.

Fine-Tune Imported Model

The downloaded data set includes preprocessed training and validation data sets generated for a CDL channel with the same parameters listed in the previous section. The training and validation data sets are saved as MAT-files with the prefixes CDLChannelEst_train and CDLChannelEst_val, respectively. Read the data using a signalDatastore object and load it into memory using readall.

trainSds = signalDatastore(fullfile(pwd,"processedData","CDLChannelEst_train*"));
HTrainRealCell = readall(trainSds);
HTrainReal = cat(1,HTrainRealCell{:});
HTrainReal = permute(HTrainReal,[2,3,4,1]);

valSds = signalDatastore(fullfile(pwd,"processedData","CDLChannelEst_val*"));
HValRealCell = readall(valSds);
HValReal = cat(1,HValRealCell{:});
HValReal = permute(HValReal,[2,3,4,1]);

Transfer learning is a technique that allows you to use a pretrained network on a new dataset without the need of training it from scratch. The weights of the importedCSINet are used as an initial point from which the Adam algorithm aims to find a better set of weights to compress and decompress the CDL channel estimates.

Use the trainingOptions function to set the hyper parameters for transfer learning. Use the trainnet function with the created options object and the importedCSINet object to train the CSINet model for 8 epochs (The imported CSINet was trained for one thousand epochs). You can use trainnet with built-in loss functions or a custom loss function (see trainnet (Deep Learning Toolbox)). To help the training converge faster, use the normalizedMSEdB helper as the loss function.

Stop the training early after 8 epochs to run the example quickly. To reduce the achieved error rate, set the stopTrainingEarly flag to false and allow the network to train for 100 epochs. Training the imported network for 100 epochs on NVIDIA GPU GeForce RTX 3080 takes about 5 minutes.

stopTrainingEarly = true;

if stopTrainingEarly
    epochs = 8;
    epochs = 100;%#ok

options = trainingOptions("adam", ...
    InitialLearnRate=4e-3, ...
    MiniBatchSize=400, ...
    MaxEpochs=epochs, ...
    OutputNetwork="best-validation-loss", ...
    Shuffle="every-epoch", ...
    ValidationData={HValReal,HValReal}, ...
    LearnRateSchedule="piecewise", ...
    LearnRateDropPeriod=15, ...
    LearnRateDropFactor=0.8, ...
    ValidationPatience=10, ...
    ExecutionEnvironment="gpu", ...
    Plots="none", ...

net = trainnet(HTrainReal,HTrainReal,importedCSINet,@(x,t)normalizedMSEdB(x,t),options);
    Iteration    Epoch    TimeElapsed    LearnRate    TrainingLoss    ValidationLoss
    _________    _____    ___________    _________    ____________    ______________
            0        0       00:00:03        0.004                           -24.318
            1        1       00:00:03        0.004         -23.398                  
           50        2       00:00:14        0.004         -26.361           -26.287
          100        4       00:00:24        0.004         -29.235            -28.33
          150        6       00:00:34        0.004         -31.049           -31.032
          200        8       00:00:43        0.004         -32.376           -32.035
          208        8       00:00:46        0.004         -31.618           -31.231
Training stopped: Max epochs completed

Evaluate the performance of the model after transfer learning. The error rate drops to <0.2 after training the network on the new channel for only 8 epochs.

[errorRate, rxSymbols] = helperComputeLinkErrorRateWithPrecoder(net,channel,carrier,opt);%#ok

fprintf("Error rate after transfer learning is %f \n",errorRate)
Error rate after transfer learning is 0.162776 

Training for 100 epochs achieves error rate of approximately 0.05 with the received constellation shown below. The diagram shows that the received symbols resembles a noisy 16-QAM constellation after fine-tuning the model to compress the CDL channel feedback.

% scope(rxSymbols(:))

Analyze Trained Model for Codegen

Create a coder.gpuEnvConfig (GPU Coder) object and set the DeepCodegen property to true. Use the coder.checkGpuInstall (GPU Coder) function to verify that the compilers and libraries necessary for generating code using the NVIDIA cuDNN library are set up correctly. Set DeepLibTarget to tensorrt to use the tensorRT library instead.

envCfg = coder.gpuEnvConfig("host");
envCfg.DeepLibTarget = "cudnn";
envCfg.DeepCodegen = 1;
envCfg.Quiet = 0;
Compatible GPU           : PASSED 
CUDA Environment         : PASSED 
	Runtime   : PASSED 
	cuFFT     : PASSED 
	cuBLAS    : PASSED 
cuDNN Environment        : PASSED 
Host Compiler            : PASSED 
Deep Learning (cuDNN) Code Generation: PASSED 

Use analyzeNetworkForCodegen (GPU Coder) to check if the trained model has any incompatibilities for code generation.

codegenSupport = analyzeNetworkForCodegen(net);
                   Supported                        LayerDiagnostics                     
                   _________    _________________________________________________________

    none             "No"       "Found 1 issue(s) in 2 layer(s). View layer diagnostics."
    arm-compute      "No"       "Found 1 issue(s) in 2 layer(s). View layer diagnostics."
    mkldnn           "No"       "Found 1 issue(s) in 2 layer(s). View layer diagnostics."
    cudnn            "No"       "Found 1 issue(s) in 2 layer(s). View layer diagnostics."
    tensorrt         "No"       "Found 1 issue(s) in 2 layer(s). View layer diagnostics."

analyzeNetworkForCodegen (GPU Coder) found an issue with two layers in the autoencoder model. To fix the issue, use the codegenSupport struct to view the diagnostics message.

ans=2×3 table
     LayerName                   LayerType                                                                                         Diagnostics                                                                      
    ___________    ______________________________________    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    "reshape_1"    "CSINetOutdoor64.kReshape1Layer300021"    "Unsupported custom layer 'kReshape1Layer300021'. Code generation does not support custom layers without '%#codegen' defined in the class definition. "
    "reshape"      "CSINetOutdoor64.kReshapeLayer299964"     "Unsupported custom layer 'kReshapeLayer299964'. Code generation does not support custom layers without '%#codegen' defined in the class definition. " 

Layers reshape and reshape_1 are automatically generated custom layers translated from the imported TensorFlow model. The translated layers do not support code generation based on the diagnostics for target library cuDNN. Use helperRowMajorReshapeLayer to replace the imported reshape layers with a custom row-major reshape layer that matches the default reshape operation in TensorFlow.

rowMajorReshape = helperRowMajorReshapeLayer(2*32*32,1,1,"row-major reshape");
lgraph = replaceLayer(layerGraph(net),"reshape",rowMajorReshape);

rowMajorReshape1 = helperRowMajorReshapeLayer(2,32,32,"row-major reshape_1");
lgraph = replaceLayer(lgraph,"reshape_1", rowMajorReshape1);

CSINet = dlnetwork(lgraph);

codegenSupport = analyzeNetworkForCodegen(CSINet);

    none             "Yes"  
    arm-compute      "Yes"  
    mkldnn           "Yes"  
    cudnn            "Yes"  
    tensorrt         "Yes"  

Save the dlnetwork object, CSINet, to a MAT-File for code generation next.

save CDL_CSINet.mat CSINet

Create an entry-point function, CSINet_predict, that takes the channel estimate matrix, Hest, runs prediction on CSINet, and returns Hest_hat. CSINet_predict loads the trained model as a persistent variable once using coder.loadDeepLearningNetwork (GPU Coder) and uses it in subsequent calls.

function Hest_hat = CSINet_predict(Hest)

persistent mynet;

if isempty(mynet)   
    mynet = coder.loadDeepLearningNetwork('CDL_CSINet.mat', 'CSINet');

Hest_hat = predict(mynet,dlarray(Hest,'SSC'));

Generate C++ Code

Use the coder.gpuConfig (GPU Coder) object with build_type set to "mex" to test the generated code from MATLAB. Set the TargetLibrary to cudnn and use the codegen (MATLAB Coder) command to generate C++ code from the entry point function CSINet_predict.

cfg = coder.gpuConfig("mex");
cfg.TargetLang = "C++";
cfg.DeepLearningConfig = coder.DeepLearningConfig("TargetLibrary","cudnn");
codegen -config cfg CSINet_predict -o CSINet_predict_cudnn -args {coder.typeof(single(0),[32 32 2])} -report
Code generation successful: View report

To test the accuracy of the generated C++ code, compute the error rate using the generated MEX function, CSINet_predict_cudnn.

[errorRateMEX, rxSymbols] = helperComputeLinkErrorRateWithPrecoder(@(x) CSINet_predict_cudnn(x),channel,carrier,opt);
fprintf("Error rate using CSINet CUDA code is %f \n",errorRateMEX)
Error rate using CSINet CUDA code is 0.162807 
fprintf("Variance in error rate after codegen is %f \n",abs(errorRate-errorRateMEX))
Variance in error rate after codegen is 0.000031 

Clear the static network object that was loaded in memory.

clear mex;

Further Exploration

In this example, you imported a pretrained TensorFlow model, tested the model in a link simulation, and fine-tuned its weights to a new channel model. You generated C++ code to target the NVIDIA GPU using cuDNN library. Finally, you compared the achieved error rate by using generated CUDA code for autoencoder channel feedback model to that computed in native MATLAB simulation. The variance in error rate for the pretrained model used in this example is < 1e-4.

Try using a pretrained model with a lower compression rate from the repository in [2] and test its performance before and after transfer learning. A lower compression rate, for example, 1/4, results in a lower error rate after training for the same number of epochs. Tune the training hyper parameters for each model to find the best set of weights for the autoencoder model. Vary the QAM modulation order or replace the ZF precoder with an MMSE precoder and test the performance of the autoencoder model. Set the coder.DeepLearningConfig (GPU Coder) object to use NVIDIA TensorRT deep learning library instead of cuDNN and test the accuracy of the generated C++ code. You can configure the code generator to take advantage of the TensorRT library precision modes (fp32, fp16, or int8) for inference. Low precision accelerates inference and optimizes memory requirements at the expense of slightly lower accuracy. For details, see the coder.TensorRTConfig (GPU Coder) object.

Local Functions

function nmse = normalizedMSEdB(HTest, HhatCSINet)
% Calculate normalized MSE between test & predicted channel estimates in dB
HTestComplex= complex(HTest(:,:,1,:),HTest(:,:,2,:));
power = sum(abs(HTestComplex).^2, [1 2]);
nmse = 10.*log(mean(sum(abs(HTest - HhatCSINet).^2, [1,2,3])./power))./log(10);

function helperDownloadFiles(target)
% Download CDL Channel model data set or pretrained TensorFlow model
if strcmp(target,'dataSet')
    targetDir = 'coexecutionPrecoding/processedData';
    name  = 'data set';
elseif strcmp(target,'pretrainedModel')
    targetDir = 'importCSINetTensorFlow/tensorflowModel/CSINetOutdoor64';
    name  = 'pretrained model';

dstFolder = pwd;

function downloadAndExtractDataFile(targetDir,dstFolder,name,target)
if strcmp(target,'dataSet')
    folderName = 'processedData';
elseif strcmp(target,'pretrainedModel')
    folderName = 'CSINetOutdoor64';
if exist(folderName,"dir")
    fprintf([folderName,' folder exists. Skip download.\n\n']);
    fprintf(['Starting download ',name,'.\n'])
    fileFullPath = matlab.internal.examples.downloadSupportFile('spc/', ...
    fprintf(['Downloading ',name,'. Extracting files.\n'])
    fprintf('Extract complete.\n\n')


[1] Chao-Kai Wen, Wan-Ting Shih, and Shi Jin, "Deep learning for massive MIMO CSI feedback," IEEE Wireless Communications Letters, Vol. 7, No. 5, pp. 748–751, Oct. 2018.


[3] 3GPP TR 38.901. “Study on channel model for frequencies from 0.5 to 100 GHz.” 3rd Generation Partnership Project; Technical Specification Group Radio Access Network.

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