I am using LMFIT to fit the transfer function of a large impedance network to measured data, this involves some ~20 parameters and ~40 lines of (naively implemented) computations.

there are a lot of computations that go into computing this transfer function, and many of those do not need to be repeated if the parameters that they use have not changed.

I have noticed that LMFIT does not vary all parameters all the time, it only varies a few of the ~20 odd parameters at a time, so I would like to rewrite my model to detect which parameters have changed, and then only do the computations that are needed.

Ideally I would have liked to not have to "detect" what parameters have changed and to implement this manually, but to instead have LMFIT handle it (know what computations to re-do depending on what parameters have been changed), but I have not been able to find a way to do this with the features already implemented in LMFIT.

It currently takes ~1.5 hours to do the fit, and my model will only get more complicated with time, so I really need a solution with absolute minimal overhead!. Keep in mind that is is an attempt to greatly reduce computation time, not increase it.

At first I thought that I would have implemented this in an afternoon, because I didn't really think that if would be that complicated/hard to do, now I am here hoping that someone (perhaps with experience in doing a similar thing) can help me with suggestions as to how to go about this, as it turned out to be a lot harder than I had expected.

All my computations are currently hard-coded, I did that out of fear of overhead.

z_x = 1234.56

def model(s, r1, l1, r2, l2, c2, r3, l3, r4, l4, c4, r5, l5, c5,
          r6, l6, r7, l7, c7, r8, l8, r9, l9, c9, r10, l10, c10,
          r11, l11, r12, l12, c12, v_source):

    z1 = r1 + l1 * s
    z2 = r2 + l2 * s + 1 / (c2 * s)
    z3 = r3 + l3 * s
    z4 = r4 + l4 * s + 1 / (c4 * s)
    z5 = r5 + l5 * s + 1 / (c5 * s)
    z12 = r12 + l12 * s + 1 / (c12 * s)
    z_a = 1/(1/(z1 + 1 / (1/z2 + 1 / (z3 + 1 / (1/z4 + 1/z5)))) + 1/z12)

    z6 = r6 + l6 * s
    z7 = r7 + l7 * s + 1 / (c7 * s)
    z8 = r8 + l8 * s
    z9 = r9 + l9 * s + 1 / (c9 * s)
    z10 = r10 + l10 * s + 1 / (c10 * s)
    z11 = 1 / (1/z7 + 1/(z8 + 1 / (1/z9 + 1/z10)))
    ratio = z11 / (z6 + z11)
    z_b = z6 * ratio + r11 + l11 * s
    v_b = v_source * ratio

    z_c = z_a + z_b

    return 20*np.log10(np.abs(v_source * z_x / (z_a + z_x))),\
           20*np.log10(np.abs(v_b * z_x / (z_b + z_x))),\
           20*np.log10(np.abs(v_b * z_x / (z_c + z_x)))

What I have "tried" or "considered";

  • Somehow putting all input parameters in a np.array, compare it to the previous np.array of parameters to get an array of True/False for changed or not-changed, and then use this array as a "mask" whenever doing any computations on data in the array.

I have been working on implementing this approach, the main problem is that it makes the code so unreadable that before I make it to the end I am unable to read my own code and so fail to get it working.

  • Wrapping all the math in custom class objects called "Expr", "Add", "Sub" etc. (like sympy and mpmath does) and then have each resulting expression object be evaluated in the last moment, and have the expression objects contain their previous value and return that if nothing has changed.

This is a solution, but not one that I am satisfied with, both because I don't want to have to write and to maintain my own library of expression wrappers etc. and because I fear the impact of the overhead that this could cause if I am not careful.

  • Completely hard coded solution (If a != a_previous: ..., if b != b_previous: ...), as you may understand, this is not a solution that I am satisfied with either.

So the question is; Given the code example above, what is the most efficient method that you can come up with for only doing each of the computations whenever a value that is used in that computation has changed.

Or alternatively; If you have experience with a similar situation when using LMFIT, how did you solve it?

  • \$\begingroup\$ @Reinderien Thank you for the comment, I added "..when curve-fitting with LMFIT" to include the application, I think this generalizes well to "How to avoid repeating computations" though, so I still think that is a good title, don't you? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 29, 2020 at 18:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Reinderien Read it, that didn't make me think any less of my original title. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 29, 2020 at 18:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Much better; thanks :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Reinderien
    Jun 29, 2020 at 18:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Reinderien You're welcome, appreciate your guidance ;). \$\endgroup\$ Jun 29, 2020 at 19:00

1 Answer 1



You already use Numpy, so this should not be too difficult for you.

For a set of calculations such as

z2 = r2 + l2 * s + 1 / (c2 * s)
z4 = r4 + l4 * s + 1 / (c4 * s)
z5 = r5 + l5 * s + 1 / (c5 * s)
z7 = r7 + l7 * s + 1 / (c7 * s)
z9 = r9 + l9 * s + 1 / (c9 * s)

Put capacitances 2, 4, 5, 7, 9 all into one ndarray, and the same for the corresponding resistances and inductances. Then,

z24579 = r24579 + l24579*s + 1/c24579/s

Unless you can think of a better name than what I've shown. This will both execute more quickly and require fewer lines of code.


Since you have lines like this:

z_a = 1/(1/(z1 + 1 / (1/z2 + 1 / (z3 + 1 / (1/z4 + 1/z5)))) + 1/z12)

Consider putting all of your impedances in one vector and reciprocating it so that you get a vector of admittances. You could then unpack the vector to a1, a2, etc. for the purposes of this calculation.

Result caching

I would like to rewrite my model to detect which parameters have changed, and then only do the computations that are needed

This is what lru_cache has specifically been designed to do. It is very (very) easy to use - try prepending @lru_cache and see if that gets you somewhere.

To benefit from this, you will probably have to split up your current function into three or four functions, since it is likely that the optimizer will modify at least some variables; so you will need partial caching. Each of the subroutines would need its own @lru_cache.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Great answer, thx!. This is also the primary solution that I have been thinking about, and working on/experimenting with, and you make a good point about reciprocating all the impedances at once.. But you don't really address the primary element in the question which is; "How do I avoid repeating the computations when the parameters have not changed?". Doing it the way you suggest makes it easier to carry the change around with the calculations in a separate array and perhaps use that as a mask, I still would like a concrete suggestion as to how to do that though. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 29, 2020 at 19:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Edited. As with most things Python, there is a built-in library for this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Reinderien
    Jun 29, 2020 at 19:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Accepted. Perfect thx! Exactly what I need!. I thought that there aught to be a "common way" in python, I just didn't know how :). \$\endgroup\$ Jun 29, 2020 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ ..While it is a very useful answer, I just realized that the two suggestions; Vectorization and using lru_cache are mutually exclusive. Why? because model will almost never be called with all the same arguments. Only some of the computations inside the function should be avoided at times, never the entire function, this means that to use lru_cache I will have to split the computations into smaller functions (a LOT of smaller functions) and that makes the vectorization approach impossible. Or have I misunderstood something? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 29, 2020 at 19:45
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Read the last paragraph in my latest edit :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Reinderien
    Jun 29, 2020 at 19:46

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