Nodes

In this section we introduce the concept of a node, for which the relevant API documentation is kedro.pipeline.node.

Nodes are the building blocks of pipelines and represent tasks. Pipelines are used to combine nodes to build workflows, which range from simple machine learning workflows to end-to-end production workflows.

Note: This documentation is based on Kedro 0.17.0, if you spot anything that is incorrect then please create an issue or pull request.

You will first need to import libraries from Kedro and other standard tools to run the code snippets demonstrated below.

from kedro.pipeline import *
from kedro.io import *
from kedro.runner import *

import pickle
import os

How to create a node

A node is created by specifying a function, input variable names and output variable names. Let’s consider a simple function that adds two numbers:

def add(x, y):
    return x + y

The function has two inputs (x and y) and a single output (the sum of the inputs).

Here is how a node is created with this function:

adder_node = node(func=add, inputs=["a", "b"], outputs="sum")
adder_node

Here is the output:

Out[1]: Node(add, ['a', 'b'], 'sum', None)

You can also add labels to nodes which will be used to describe them in logs:

adder_node = node(func=add, inputs=["a", "b"], outputs="sum")
print(str(adder_node))

adder_node = node(func=add, inputs=["a", "b"], outputs="sum", name="adding_a_and_b")
print(str(adder_node))

Gives the following output:

add([a,b]) -> [sum]
adding_a_and_b: add([a,b]) -> [sum]

Let’s break down the node definition:

  • add is the Python function that will execute when the node runs
  • ['a', 'b'] specify the input variable names
  • sum specifies the return variable name. The value returned by add will be bound in this variable
  • name is an optional label for the node, which can be used to provide description of the business logic it provides

Node definition syntax

There is a syntax to describe function inputs and outputs. This allows different Python functions to be reused in nodes and supports dependency resolution in pipelines.

Syntax for input variables

Input syntax Meaning Example function parameters How function is called when node runs
None No input def f() f()
'a' Single input def f(arg1) f(a)
['a', 'b'] Multiple inputs def f(arg1, arg2) f(a, b)
dict(arg1='x', arg2='y') Keyword inputs def f(arg1, arg2) f(arg1=x, arg2=y)

Syntax for output variables

Output syntax Meaning Example return statement
None No output Does not return
'a' Single output return a
['a', 'b'] List output return [a, b]
dict(key1='a', key2='b') Dictionary output return dict(key1=a, key2=b)

Any combinations of the above are possible, except nodes of the form node(f, None, None) (at least a single input or output needs to be provided).

How to tag a node

Tags may be useful to run part of a pipeline without changing the code. For instance, kedro run --tag=ds will only run nodes that have a ds tag attached.

To tag a node, you can simply specify the tags argument, as follows:

node(func=add, inputs=["a", "b"], outputs="sum", name="adding_a_and_b", tags="node_tag")

Moreover, you can tag all nodes in a Pipeline. If the pipeline definition contains the tags= argument, Kedro will attach the corresponding tag to every node within that pipeline.

To run a pipeline using a tag:

kedro run --tag=pipeline_tag

This will run only the nodes found within the pipeline tagged with pipeline_tag

How to run a node

To run a node, you need to instantiate its inputs. In this case, the node expects two inputs:

adder_node.run(dict(a=2, b=3))

The output is as follows:

Out[2]: {'sum': 5}
Note: It is also possible to call a node as a regular Python function: adder_node(dict(a=2, b=3)). This will call adder_node.run(dict(a=2, b=3)) behind the scenes.