Model API

For numerical purposes, models are essentially represented as a set of symbols, calibration and functions representing the various equation types of the model. This data is held in a NumericalModel object whose API is described in this chapter. Models are usually created by writing a Yaml files as described in the the previous chapter, but as we will see below, they can also be written directly.

Numerical Model Object

As previously, let’s consider, the Real Business Cycle example, from the introduction. The model object can be created using the yaml file:

model = yaml_import('models/rbc.yaml')

The object contains few meta-data:

display( )  # -> Real Business Cycles
display( model.model_type )   # -> `dtcc`
display( model.model_specs )   # -> `(f,g,v)`

The field contains a possibly long string identifying the model. The 'model.model_features' field summarizes which equations types are provided which determines the solution algorithms that can be used to solve the model. Here (f,g,v) means that arbitrage (short f), transition (short g) and value equations were provided meaning that time-iteration or value function iteration can both be used to solve the model. When using a yaml files, the model_type` and ``model_specs properties are automatically set.


``model_type`` field is now always ``dtcc``. Older model types (``'dtmscc'``, ``'dtcscc'``, ``'dynare'``) are not used anymore.

The various attributes of the model directly echo the sections from the Yaml file.


Symbols are held in the model.symbols dictionary, with each symbol type mapping to a list of symbol strings, that will be used in equations. Although these symbols are not needed stricto sensu for computations, they are very useful to calibrate the steady-state or to label the graphs and simulations



Although dictionaries read from the yaml file are unordered, the structure representing them in Python is actually an OrderedDict rather than a dict object. This is to allow for more predictability and conistency in outputs. The order is conventional and the keys are ordered after the list ‘variables, states, controls, auxiliaries, values, parameters’ (missing types are omitted from the list).


Each models stores calibration information as model.calibration. It is a special dictionary-like object, which contains calibration information, that is values for parameters and initial values (or steady-state) for all other variables of the model.

It is possible to retrieve one or several variables calibrations:

display( model.calibration['k'] ) #  ->  2.9
display( model.calibration['k', 'delta']  #  -> [2.9, 0.08]

When a key coresponds to one of the symbols group, one gets one or several vectors of variables instead:

model.calibration['states'] # - > np.array([2.9, 0]) (values of states [z, k])
model.calibration['states', 'controls'] # -> [np.array([2.9, 0]), np.array([0.29, 1.0])] (values of states [z,k] and controls [i,n])

To get regular dictionary mapping states groups and vectors, one can use the attributed .grouped The values are vectors (1d numpy arrays) of values for each symbol group. For instance the following code will print the calibrated values of the parameters:

for (variable_group, variables) in model.calibration.items():
    print(variables_group, variables)

In order to get a (key,values) of all the values of the model, one can call model.calibration.flat.

for (variable_group, variables) in model.calibration.items():
    print(variables_group, variables)

One uses the model.set_calibration() routine to change the calibration of the model. This one takes either a dict as an argument, or a set of keyword arguments. Both calls are valid:

model.set_calibration( {'delta':0.01} )
model.set_calibration( {'i': 'delta*k'} )
model.set_calibration( delta=0.08, k=2.8 )

This method also understands symbolic expressions (as string) which makes it possible to define symbols as a function of other symbols:

print(model.get_calibration('beta'))   # -> nan

print(model.get_calibration(['beta', 'delta'])) # -> [0.96, 0.04]

Under the hood, the method stores the symbolic relations between symbols. It is precisely equivalent to use the set_calibration method or to change the values in the yaml files. In particular, the calibration order is irrelevant as long as all parameters can be deduced one from another.


A model of a specific type can feature various kinds of functions. For instance, a continuous-states-continuous-controls models, solved by iterating on the Euler equations may feature a transition equation \(g\) and an arbitrage equation \(f\). Their signature is respectively \(s_t=g(s_{t-1},x_{t-1},e_t)\) and \(E_t[f(s_t,x_t,s_{t+1},x_{t+1})]\), where \(s_t\), \(x_t\) and \(e_t\) respectively represent a vector of states, controls and shocks. Implicitly, all functions are also assumed to depend on the vector of parameters \(p\).

These functions can be accessed by their type in the model.functions dictionary:

g = model.functions['transition']
f = model.functions['arbitrage']

Let’s call the arbitrage function on the steady-state value, to see the residuals at the deterministic steady-state:

m = model.calibration['exogenous']
s = model.calibration['states']
x = model.calibration['controls']
p = model.calibration['parameters']
res = f(m,s,x,m,s,x,p)

The output (res) is two element vector, representing the residuals of the two arbitrage equations at the steady-state. It should be full of zero. Is it ? Great !

By inspecting the arbitrage function ( f? ), one can see that its call api is:


Since m, s and x are the short names for exogenous shocks, states and controls, their values at date \(t+1\) is denoted with S and X. This simple convention prevails in most of dolo source code: when possible, vectors at date t are denoted with lowercase, while future vectors are with upper case. We have already commented the presence of the paramter vector p. Now, the generated functions also gives the option to perform in place computations, when an output vector is given:

out = numpy.ones(2)
f(m,s,x,m,s,x,p,out)   # out now contains zeros

It is also possible to compute derivatives of the function by setting diff=True. In that case, the residual and jacobians with respect to the various arguments are returned as a list:

r, r_m, r_s, r_x, r_M, r_S, r_X = f(m,s,x,m,s,x,p,diff=True)

Since there are two states and two controls, the variables r_s, r_x, r_S, r_X are all 2 by 2 matrices.

The generated functions also allow for efficient vectorized evaluation. In order to evaluate the residuals \(N\) times, one needs to supply matrix arguments, instead of vectors, so that each line corresponds to one value to evaluate as in the following example:

N = 10000

vec_m = m[None,:].repeat(N, axis=0) # we repeat each line N times
vec_s = s[None,:].repeat(N, axis=0) # we repeat each line N times
vec_x = x[None,:].repeat(N, axis=0)
vec_X = X[None,:].repeat(N, axis=0)
vec_p = p[None,:].repeat(N, axis=0)
# actually, except for vec_s, the function repeat is not need since broadcast rules apply
vec_s[:,0] = linspace(2,4,N) # we provide various guesses for the steady-state capital
vec_S = vec_s

out = f(vec_m, vec_s,vec_x,vec_M, vec_S,vec_X,vec_p)  # now a 10000 x 2 array

out, out_m, out_s, out_x, out_M, out_S, out_X = f(vec_m, vec_s,vec_x, vec_m, vec_S,vec_X,vec_p)

The vectorized evaluation is optimized so that it is much faster to make a vectorized call rather than iterate on each point. By default, this is achieved by using the excellent numexpr library.


In the preceding example, the parameters are constant for all evaluations, yet they are repeated. This is not mandatory, and the call f(vec_m, vec_s, vec_x, vec_M, vec_S, vec_X, p) should work exactly as if p had been repeated along the first axis. We follow there numba’s guvectorize conventions, even though they slightly differ from numpy’s ones.

Exogenous shock

TODO: expand

The exogenous field contains information about the driving process. To get its default, discretize version, one can call model.exogenous.discretize().

Options structure

The model.options structure holds an information required by a particular solution method. For instance, for global methods, model.options['grid'] is supposed to hold the boundaries and the number nodes at which to interpolate.

display( model.options['grid'] )

Source documentation


class dolo.compiler.model.Model(data)