Inconsistent behavior for running backward twice without retain_graph=True


Pytorch tutorial indicates retain_graph has to be True when run backward twice or more:

if you even want to do the backward on some part of the graph twice, you need to pass in retain_graph = True during the first pass.

However, I found in some situations it may not be so, as shown in following snippet (use pyTorch1.0)

a = torch.rand(1,4, requires_grad=True)
b = a + 2
b.backward(torch.ones(1,4)) #Note there is no retain_graph=True
b.backward(torch.ones(1,4)) #there should be error!
print a.grad #tensor([[2., 2., 2., 2.]])

Strangely, if I change b = a + 2 in above codes to b = a**2, then the second b.backward would cause the expected RuntimeError

RuntimeError: Trying to backward through the graph a second time, but the buffers have already been freed. Specify retain_graph=True when calling backward the first time.

Could any one explain? Thanks!