Python UDF API

The information below includes all the information one needs to know to begin writing Python UDFs using the Python UDF API. For more information on running Python UDFs, see Running Python UDFs.


To begin writing Python UDFs, access to the Kinetica Python UDF API is required. Instructions for accessing the API can be found under UDF API Installation.

The Python UDF API consists of one file, This needs to be included in the UDF source code and added to the PYTHONPATH, as directed in UDF API Installation. There are no external dependencies beyond the Python standard library.

To take advantage of GPU processing within a UDF, the CUDA Toolkit must be downloaded & installed from the NVIDIA Developer Zone.

Also, any Python packages the UDF may need to use should be installed on the development platform as well as all target Kinetica cluster nodes.

To install packages on a local development platform:

$ pip install <package name>

To install packages on all cluster nodes, run the following on the head node:

$ /opt/gpudb/bin/gpudb-pip install <package name>


A UDF must first get a handle to the ProcData class imported from This will parse the primary control file and set up all the necessary structures. It will return a ProcData object, which is used to access everything else found below. All configuration information is cached, so repeated calls to get a ProcData will not reload any configuration files.


When you get a handle to ProcData, the handle is actually to the data given to that instance (OS process) of the UDF on the Kinetica host; therefore, there will be a ProcData handle for every instance of the UDF on your Kinetica host

Column Types

Unlike the other Kinetica APIs, the UDF Python API does not process data using records or schemas, operating in terms of columns of data instead. The raw column values returned closely map to the data types used in the tables being accessed:

Column Category Column Type UDF Python Type
Numeric int int
int8 int
int16 int
long int
float float
double float
decimal decimal.Decimal
String string str
char[N] str
ipv4 int
Date/Time date
datetime datetime.datetime
time datetime.time
timestamp int
Binary bytes str

Column data values can be accessed through array indices:


For example, to retrieve the value for the 10th record:


Reading Input Data

Accessing the request information for the UDF, the parameters passed into the UDF, or the input data can be completed using the following calls:

Call Type Description
proc_data.input_data Object Returns an InputDataSet object for accessing input table data that was passed into the UDF
proc_data.request_info Map of strings to strings

Returns a map of basic information about the /execute/proc request, map values being accessed using:


The full set of map keys is listed below, under Request Info Keys

proc_data.params Map of strings to strings Returns a map of string-valued parameters that were passed into the UDF
proc_data.bin_params Map of strings to bytes Returns a map of binary-valued parameters that were passed into the UDF

Accessing Input Values

The InputDataSet object returned from proc_data.input_data contains the InputTable object, which in turn contains InputColumn, holding the actual data set. Tables and columns can be accessed by index or by name. For example, given a customer table at InputDataSet index 5 and a name column at that InputTable's index 1, either of the following calls will retrieve the column values associated with


Request Info Keys

The request info keys are returned from calling proc_data.request_info. These keys include a variety of details about the executing UDF from the request information map made available to each running UDF.

General Information

Map Key Description
proc_name The name of the UDF being executed
run_id The run ID of the UDF being executed; this is also displayed in GAdmin on the UDF page in the Status section as a link you can click on to get more detailed information; note that although this is an integer, it should not be relied upon as such, as its format may change in the future
rank_number The processing node container number on which the current UDF instance is executing; for distributed UDFs, [1..n]. For non-distributed UDFs, 0
tom_number The processing node number within the processing node container on which the current UDF instance is executing; for distributed UDFs, [0..n-1], where n is the number of processing nodes per processing node container. For non-distributed UDFs it is not provided, since these do not run on a processing node
kifs_mount_point The current mount point for the Kinetica File System (KiFS)
<option_name> Any options passed in the options map in the /execute/proc request will also be in the request info map

CUDA Information

When executing UDFs that utilize CUDA, additional request information is returned.

Map Key Description
cuda_devices The number of CUDA devices currently in use
cuda_free The amount of CUDA memory available

Data Segment Information

Data is passed into UDFs in segments. Each segment consists of the entirety of the data on a single TOM and is processed by the UDF instance executing on that TOM. Thus, there is a 1-to-1 mapping of data segment and executing UDF instance, though this relationship may change in the future.

Running the same UDF multiple times should result in the same set of segments, assuming the same environment and system state across runs.

Map Key Description
data_segment_id A unique identifier for the segment of the currently executing UDF instance; all of the data segment IDs for a given UDF execution are displayed in GAdmin when you click on the run ID; note that although it is possible to identify rank and TOM numbers from this ID, it should not be relied upon, as its format may change in the future
data_segment_count The total cluster-wide count of data segments for distributed UDFs; for non-distributed UDFs 1
data_segment_number The number of the current data segment or executing UDF instance [0..data_segment_count-1]

Kinetica API Connection Parameters

These can be used to connect back to Kinetica using the regular API endpoint calls. Use with caution in distributed UDFs, particularly in large clusters, to avoid overwhelming the head node. Also note, multi-head ingest may not work from a UDF in some cases without overriding the worker URLs to use internal IP addresses.

Map Key Description
head_url The URL to connect to
username Randomly generated temporary username used to execute the UDF
password Randomly generated temporary password used to execute the UDF


Since username and password are randomly generated temporary credentials, which for security reasons should still not be printed or output to logs, etc., as they are live credentials for a period of time.

Writing Output Data

To output data to a table, the size of the table must be set in order to allocate enough space in all of the columns to hold the correct number of values. To do this, call:

table.size = <total number of output records>

Table column values can then be assigned by index to each OutputColumn of each OutputTable in the OutputDataSet.

The following calls are available to assist with writing data to Kinetica:

Call Type Description
proc_data.output_data Object Returns an OutputDataSet object for writing output table data that will be written to the database
proc_data.results Map of strings to strings Returns a map that can be populated with string-valued results to be returned from the UDF
proc_data.bin_results Map of strings to bytes Returns a map that can be populated with binary-valued results to be returned from the UDF

Setting Output Values

The OutputDataSet object returned from proc_data.output_data contains the OutputTable object, which in turn contains OutputColumn, holding the actual data set. Tables and columns are accessed the same way as InputDataSet:


Status Reporting

The proc_data.status property can be set to a string value to help convey status information during UDF execution, e.g., proc_data.status="25% complete". The /show/proc/status endpoint will return any status messages set for each data segment -- one data segment per processing node if in distributed mode, or one data segment total in non-distributed mode. These messages are subject to the following scenarios:

  • If the user-provided UDF code is executing and has set a status message, /show/proc/status will return the last message that was set

  • If the user-provided UDF code finishes executing successfully, the status message is cleared


    The UDF may not show as "complete" yet since any data written by the UDF (in distributed mode) still has to be inserted into the database, but the status set by the UDF code isn't relevant to this process

  • If the UDF is killed while executing user-provided UDF code, /show/proc/status will return the last message that was set

  • If the user-provided UDF code errors out, /show/proc/status will return the error message and the last status message that was set in parentheses


The UDF must finish with a call to proc_data.complete. This writes out some final control information to indicate that the UDF completed successfully.


If this call is not made, the database will assume that the UDF didn’t finish and will return an error to the caller.


Any output from the UDF to is written to two places:

  • The system log file on the head node
  • The /opt/gpudb/core/logs/gpudb_proc.log file local to the processing node container

Logging output location for UDFs is currently not configurable.