Deep Graph Library (DGL) is still in its alpha stage, so expect some trial and error. Keep in mind that DGL is a framework atop other frameworks, e.g., PyTorch, MXNet, so it is important to figure out whether a bug is due to DGL or the backend framework. For example, DGL will usually complain and throw a DGLError if anything goes wrong. If you are pretty confident that it is a bug, feel free to raise an issue.


Graph can be very large and training on graph may cause out of memory (OOM) errors. There are several tips to check when you get an OOM error.

  • Try to avoid propagating node features to edges. Number of edges are usually much larger than number of nodes. Try to use out built-in functions whenever it is possible.

  • Look out for cyclic references due to user-defined functions. Usually we recommend using global function or module class for the user-defined functions. Pay attention to the variables in function closure. Also, it is usually better to directly provide the UDFs in the message passing APIs rather than register them:

    # define a message function
    def mfunc(edges): return edges.data['x']
    # better as the graph `mfunc` does not hold a reference to `mfunc`
    g.send(some_edges, mfunc)
    # the graph hold a reference to `mfunc` so as all the variables in its closure
  • If your scenario does not require autograd, you can use inplace=True flag in the message passing APIs. This will update features inplacely that might save memory.


Like PyTorch, we also do not guarantee completely reproducible results across multiple releases, individual commits or different platforms.

However, we guarantee determinism on both CPU and GPU for most of the operators defined in dgl.ops (and thus built-in message-passing functions) from DGL v0.5 on, this being said you will get exactly the same output/gradients in multiple runs by fixing the random seed of Python, Numpy, and backend framework. You are expected to get the same training loss/accuracy if your program only uses deterministic operators in backend framework (for PyTorch, see https://pytorch.org/docs/stable/notes/randomness.html) and deterministic DGL message-passing operators/functions.

For message-passing, we do not guarantee the determinism only in following cases:

  1. The backward phase of Min/Max reduce function (we depend on scatter_add_ operator in backend frameworks, and it’s not guaranteed to be deterministic).

  2. Message Passing on DGLGraph’s with restricted format COO (this will only happen when user specifies formats='coo' when creating the graph, normal users should not specify formats argument, which is only designed for expert users to handle extremely large graph).

Note that though operators above are not deterministic, the difference across multiple runs is quite small.