Clad: Automatic differentiation plugin for C++

Release v1.2~dev .


Clad enables automatic differentiation (AD) for C++. It is based on LLVM compiler infrastructure and is a plugin for Clang compiler. Clad is based on source code transformation. Given C++ source code of a mathematical function, it can automatically generate C++ code for computing derivatives of the function.


Add section that describes complete set of supported language features.

Clad supports a large set of C++ features including control flow statements and function calls. Please visit (add hyperlink here) to know more about the support of language features. It supports reverse-mode AD (a.k.a backpropagation) as well as forward-mode AD. It also facilitates computation of hessian matrix and jacobian matrix of any arbitrary function.

Automatic differentiation solves all the usual problems of numerical differentiation (precision loss) and symbolic differentiation (inefficient code produced). If you are just getting started with clad, then please checkout Using Clad and Tutorials.

Clad example use:

#include "clad/Differentiator/Differentiator.h"
#include <iostream>

double f(double x, double y) { return x * y; }

int main() {
  auto f_dx = clad::differentiate(f, "x");
  // computes derivative of 'f' when (x, y) = (3, 4) and prints it.
  std::cout << f_dx.execute(3, 4) << std::endl; // prints: 4
  f_dx.dump(); // prints:
  /* double f_darg0(double x, double y) {
      double _d_x = 1; double _d_y = 0;
       return _d_x * y + x * _d_y;
     } */


  • Requires little to no code modification for computing derivatives of existing codebase.

  • Features both reverse mode AD (backpropagation) and forward mode AD.

  • Computes derivatives of functions, member functions, functors and lambda expressions.

  • Supports large subset of C++ including if statements, for, while loops and so much more; it is actively being developed with the goal of supporting all of C++ syntax.

  • Provides direct functions for computation of Hessian matrix and Jacobian matrix.

  • Supports array differentiation, that is, it can differentiate either with respect to whole arrays or particular indices of the array.

  • Features numerical differentiation support, to be used as a fallback where automatic differentiation is not feasible.

The User Guide

Citing Clad