Synchronous Inference Request

InferRequest class functionality:

  • Allocate input and output blobs needed for a backend-dependent network inference.
  • Define functions for inference process stages (for example, preprocess, upload, infer, download, postprocess). These functions can later be used to define an execution pipeline during Asynchronous Inference Request implementation.
  • Call inference stages one by one synchronously.

InferRequest Class

Inference Engine Plugin API provides the helper InferenceEngine::InferRequestInternal class recommended to use as a base class for a synchronous inference request implementation. Based of that, a declaration of a synchronous request class can look as follows:

class TemplateInferRequest : public InferenceEngine::InferRequestInternal {
typedef std::shared_ptr<TemplateInferRequest> Ptr;
TemplateInferRequest(const InferenceEngine::InputsDataMap& networkInputs,
const InferenceEngine::OutputsDataMap& networkOutputs,
const std::shared_ptr<ExecutableNetwork>& executableNetwork);
~TemplateInferRequest() override;
void InferImpl() override;
std::map<std::string, InferenceEngine::InferenceEngineProfileInfo> GetPerformanceCounts() const override;
// pipeline methods-stages which are used in async infer request implementation and assigned to particular executor
void inferPreprocess();
void startPipeline();
void waitPipeline();
void inferPostprocess();
void allocateDeviceBuffers();
void allocateBlobs();
enum {
std::shared_ptr<ExecutableNetwork> _executableNetwork;
std::array<openvino::itt::handle_t, numOfStages> _profilingTask;
// for performance counters
std::array<std::chrono::duration<float, std::micro>, numOfStages> _durations;
InferenceEngine::BlobMap _networkOutputBlobs;
ngraph::ParameterVector _parameters;
ngraph::ResultVector _results;
std::vector<std::shared_ptr<ngraph::runtime::Tensor>> _inputTensors;
std::vector<std::shared_ptr<ngraph::runtime::Tensor>> _outputTensors;
std::shared_ptr<ngraph::runtime::Executable> _executable;
virtual std::map< std::string, InferenceEngineProfileInfo > GetPerformanceCounts() const =0
Queries performance measures per layer to get feedback of what is the most time consuming layer....
An optimal implementation of IInferRequestInternal interface to avoid duplication in all plugins This...
Definition: ie_infer_request_internal.hpp:32
std::shared_ptr< InferRequestInternal > Ptr
A shared pointer to a InferRequestInternal implementation.
Definition: ie_infer_request_internal.hpp:37
virtual void InferImpl()=0
The minimal infer function to be implemented by plugins. It infers specified input(s) in synchronous ...
std::map< std::string, InputInfo::Ptr > InputsDataMap
std::map< std::string, DataPtr > OutputsDataMap
std::map< std::string, Blob::Ptr > BlobMap

Class Fields

The example class has several fields:

  • _executableNetwork - reference to an executable network instance. From this reference, an inference request instance can take a task executor, use counter for a number of created inference requests, and so on.
  • _profilingTask - array of the std::array<InferenceEngine::ProfilingTask, numOfStages> type. Defines names for pipeline stages. Used to profile an inference pipeline execution with the Intel® instrumentation and tracing technology (ITT).
  • _durations - array of durations of each pipeline stage.
  • _networkInputBlobs - input blob map.
  • _networkOutputBlobs - output blob map.
  • _parameters - ngraph::Function parameter operations.
  • _results - ngraph::Function result operations.
  • backend specific fields:
    • _inputTensors - inputs tensors which wrap _networkInputBlobs blobs. They are used as inputs to backend _executable computational graph.
    • _outputTensors - output tensors which wrap _networkOutputBlobs blobs. They are used as outputs from backend _executable computational graph.
    • _executable - an executable object / backend computational graph.

InferRequest Constructor

The constructor initializes helper fields and calls methods which allocate blobs:

TemplateInferRequest::TemplateInferRequest(const InferenceEngine::InputsDataMap& networkInputs,
const InferenceEngine::OutputsDataMap& networkOutputs,
const std::shared_ptr<TemplatePlugin::ExecutableNetwork>& executableNetwork) :
InferRequestInternal(networkInputs, networkOutputs),
_executableNetwork(executableNetwork) {
// TODO: allocate infer request device and host buffers if needed, fill actual list of profiling tasks
auto requestID = std::to_string(_executableNetwork->_requestId.fetch_add(1));
std::string name = _executableNetwork->_function->get_friendly_name() + "_Req" + requestID;
_profilingTask = {
openvino::itt::handle("Template" + std::to_string(_executableNetwork->_cfg.deviceId) + "_" + name + "_Preprocess"),
openvino::itt::handle("Template" + std::to_string(_executableNetwork->_cfg.deviceId) + "_" + name + "_Postprocess"),
openvino::itt::handle("Template" + std::to_string(_executableNetwork->_cfg.deviceId) + "_" + name + "_StartPipline"),
openvino::itt::handle("Template" + std::to_string(_executableNetwork->_cfg.deviceId) + "_" + name + "_WaitPipline"),
_executable = _executableNetwork->_plugin->_backend->compile(_executableNetwork->_function);
_parameters = _executableNetwork->_function->get_parameters();
_results = _executableNetwork->_function->get_results();
handle_t handle(char const *name)
Create annotation handle with a given name.
Definition: itt.hpp:77

NOTE: Call InferenceEngine::CNNNetwork::getInputsInfo and InferenceEngine::CNNNetwork::getOutputsInfo to specify both layout and precision of blobs, which you can set with InferenceEngine::InferRequest::SetBlob and get with InferenceEngine::InferRequest::GetBlob. A plugin uses these hints to determine its internal layouts and precisions for input and output blobs if needed.

~InferRequest Destructor

Decrements a number of created inference requests:

TemplateInferRequest::~TemplateInferRequest() {


Implementation details: Base InferRequestInternal class implements the public InferenceEngine::InferRequestInternal::Infer method as following:

  • Checks blobs set by users
  • Calls the InferImpl method defined in a derived class to call actual pipeline stages synchronously
void TemplateInferRequest::InferImpl() {
// TODO: fill with actual list of pipeline stages, which are executed synchronously for sync infer requests
waitPipeline(); // does nothing in current implementation

1. inferPreprocess

Below is the code of the the inferPreprocess method to demonstrate Inference Engine common preprocessing step handling:

void TemplateInferRequest::inferPreprocess() {
OV_ITT_SCOPED_TASK(itt::domains::TemplatePlugin, _profilingTask[Preprocess]);
auto start = Time::now();
// NOTE: After InferRequestInternal::execDataPreprocessing call
// input can points to other memory region than it was allocated in constructor.
for (auto&& networkInput : _deviceInputs) {
auto index = _executableNetwork->_inputIndex[networkInput.first];
const auto& parameter = _parameters[index];
const auto& parameterShape = parameter->get_shape();
const auto& parameterType = parameter->get_element_type();
_inputTensors[index] = _executableNetwork->_plugin->_backend->create_tensor(parameterType, parameterShape,
for (auto&& output : _outputs) {
auto outputBlob = output.second;
auto networkOutput = _networkOutputBlobs[output.first];
auto index = _executableNetwork->_outputIndex[output.first];
if (outputBlob->getTensorDesc().getPrecision() == networkOutput->getTensorDesc().getPrecision()) {
networkOutput = outputBlob;
const auto& result = _results[index];
const auto& resultShape = result->get_shape();
const auto& resultType = result->get_element_type();
_outputTensors[index] = _executableNetwork->_plugin->_backend->create_tensor(resultType, resultShape,
_durations[Preprocess] = Time::now() - start;


  • InferImpl must call the InferenceEngine::InferRequestInternal::execDataPreprocessing function, which executes common Inference Engine preprocessing step (for example, applies resize or color conversion operations) if it is set by the user. The output dimensions, layout and precision matches the input information set via InferenceEngine::CNNNetwork::getInputsInfo.
  • If inputBlob passed by user differs in terms of precisions from precision expected by plugin, blobCopy is performed which does actual precision conversion.

2. startPipeline

Executes a pipeline synchronously using _executable object:

void TemplateInferRequest::startPipeline() {
OV_ITT_SCOPED_TASK(itt::domains::TemplatePlugin, _profilingTask[StartPipeline])
auto start = Time::now();
_executable->call(_outputTensors, _inputTensors);
_durations[StartPipeline] = Time::now() - start;

3. inferPostprocess

Converts output blobs if precisions of backend output blobs and blobs passed by user are different:

void TemplateInferRequest::inferPostprocess() {
OV_ITT_SCOPED_TASK(itt::domains::TemplatePlugin, _profilingTask[Postprocess]);
auto start = Time::now();
for (auto&& output : _outputs) {
auto outputBlob = output.second;
auto networkOutput = _networkOutputBlobs[output.first];
// perform precision conversion of network output's precision and computational
// graph output's precision are different
if (outputBlob->getTensorDesc().getPrecision() != networkOutput->getTensorDesc().getPrecision()) {
blobCopy(networkOutput, outputBlob);
_durations[Postprocess] = Time::now() - start;


The method sets performance counters which were measured during pipeline stages execution:

std::map<std::string, InferenceEngineProfileInfo> TemplateInferRequest::GetPerformanceCounts() const {
std::map<std::string, InferenceEngineProfileInfo> perfMap;
InferenceEngineProfileInfo info;
info.execution_index = 0;
info.status = InferenceEngineProfileInfo::EXECUTED;
info.cpu_uSec = info.realTime_uSec = _durations[Preprocess].count();
perfMap["1. input preprocessing"] = info;
info.cpu_uSec = info.realTime_uSec = 0;
perfMap["2. input transfer to a device"] = info;
info.cpu_uSec = info.realTime_uSec = _durations[StartPipeline].count();
perfMap["3. execution time"] = info;
info.cpu_uSec = info.realTime_uSec = 0;
perfMap["4. output transfer from a device"] = info;
info.cpu_uSec = info.realTime_uSec = _durations[Postprocess].count();
perfMap["5. output postprocessing"] = info;
return perfMap;

The next step in the plugin library implementation is the Asynchronous Inference Request class.