# Argmax with PyTorch

How can I use argmax with PyTorch?

Meta:

• How could I have answered my own question? I searched the PyTorch docs and the PyTorch repo for “argmax” but got no results.
• Does it make sense to use argmax with a GPU?
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`torch.max` returns both the max values as well as the indices.
so you can do

``````values, indices = tensor.max(0)
values, indices = torch.max(tensor, 0)
``````
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I know that the `values` are differentiable (e.g., global max-pooling). Are the `indices` also differentiable? Thank you very much!

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(hard) `argmax` is not differentiable in general (this has nothing to do with PyTorch), i.e. one can not use gradient based methods with argmax. See e.g. https://www.reddit.com/r/MachineLearning/comments/4e2get/argmax_differentiable/ on how to train models involving argmax functions. One potential alternative suggested there is to use softmax instead.

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Thank you very much!

1 Like

Any ideas for how to use this max function in a differentiable way? A custom loss function i’m writing has to do with the indices of max values. Not sure how to redo the loss function such that it uses differentiable components.

Hi @bgenchel,

I am not sure if I understand your problem. Do you want to have gradients with respect to indices? Well, indices are integers by definition and you cannot take derivatives of a function with respect to a variable that is defined over the integers only…

what does the 0 do in the indexing?

Yeah I found the zero to be confusing too. It’s the dimension along which you want to find the max. I was getting confused because in my case, the thing I wanted to find the max of had shape (1, 49), which meant when I did `torch.max(preds, 0)`, I would just get back the whole array, and it didn’t make any sense. I needed to do `torch.max(preds, 1)`, and indeed that returned (max value, index)

1 Like

you can now do torch.argmax(preds, dim=1) in version 0.4.0

@BlakeWest dimension 0 is the batch and dimension 1 is the class probabilities (assuming you use softmax on your final output). Therefore you would want to to do an argmax along dimension 1 ie. the class with the highest probabilities

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hello. How can I manipulate the `tensor` by the `indice`, for example what should I do if I want to change the value of `tensor` elements that corresponding to the `indice`.

what about argmax from the tensor itself like:

``````import torch

x = torch.randn(3)
x.argmax(-1)
``````

meta:
- where does one find the docs for this? googling takes you to the `torch.argmax` function and not the one for tensors…ans: seems this is where it is: https://pytorch.org/docs/stable/tensors.html

probably useful:

what do negative indices do? @fmassa