Feature changes with ML Runtimes compared to legacy engines

This section describes some of the changes you will notice when you switch from the Legacy Engine to Runtimes.

To migrate from Legacy Engine to Runtimes, you'll need to modify your project settings. See Modifying Project Settings for more information.

Jupyter

Our Python Runtimes support JupyterLab, a general purpose IDE from the Jupyter project. The engine supports Jupyter Notebook, a simpler UI focused on Notebooks. If you prefer the simpler Notebook UI, choose Classic Notebook from the JupyterLab Help menu. To further customize the JupyterLab experience on CML see Using Editors for ML Runtimes.

Build dependencies

Runtimes generally include fewer UNIX tools than the Legacy Engine. This means you are more likely to find that you cannot install a Python or R package because the Runtime is missing a build dependency such as a library. This should not happen often with Python. Most Python packages are distributed as precompiled “wheels”, so there are no build dependencies. It is more likely to happen with R packages because precompiled packages are not available for our architecture. We have tried to cover most common use cases, but if you find you cannot build something, then please contact customer support.

Using pip to install libraries in Python

To install a Python library from within Workbench or JupyterLab we recommend you use %pip (for example, %pip install sklearn. %pip is a “magic” command that is guaranteed to point to the right version of pip. This is a good habit to get into, as it will work outside CML. Note you do not need to add “3” to install a Python 3 library.

If you prefer to use the pip executable directly, both pip and pip3 work. This is because Runtimes do not include Python 2. Like any shell command, precede it with “!” to run it from within Workbench or JupyterLab (for example, !pip install sklearn. In the Legacy Engine you must use pip3 to install Python 3 packages and the %pip magic command is not supported.

Python paths

Python Runtimes include preinstalled Python packages at /usr/local/lib/python/<version>/site-packages. The pre-installed packages and versions are documented in Pre-Installed Packages in ML Runtimes.

When you use pip, you install packages into the current project (not a runtime image) at /home/cdsw/.local/lib/python/<version>/site-packages. This means you need to reinstall packages if you change Python versions.

In most cases, you can install a newer version of a package preinstalled in /usr/local into your project. For example, we preinstall numpy and you can install a newer version. But there are some exceptions to this: if you install matplotlib, ipykernel, or its dependencies (ipython, traitlets, jupyter_client, and tornado) then you may break your ability to launch sessions.

If you accidentally install these packages (or you see unexpected behavior when you switch a project from Legacy Engine to Runtimes), the simplest solution is to delete /home/cdsw/.local/lib/python and reinstall your project’s dependencies from the project overview page.

R paths

R Runtimes include preinstalled R packages at /usr/local/lib/R/library/. The pre-installed packages and versions are documented in Pre-Installed Packages in ML Runtimes.

When you use install.packages(), you install packages into the current project (not a runtime image) at /home/cdsw/.local/lib/R/<version>/library (for example, $R_LIBS_USER). This means you need to reinstall packages if you change R versions.

Note the R project package path in Legacy Engines. If you use engines, you install packages to /home/cdsw/R. The change to /home/cdsw/.local/lib/R/<version>/library was made to support multiple versions of R.

In most cases, you can install a newer version of a package preinstalled /usr/local into your project. For example, we preinstall ggplot2 and you can install a newer version. But there are two exceptions to this. If you install Cairo or RServe they may break your ability to launch sessions.

If you accidentally install these packages (or you see unexpected behavior when you switch a project from Legacy Engine to Runtimes), the simplest solution is to delete /home/cdsw/.local/lib/python and reinstall your project’s dependencies from the project overview page.