Quickstart for Java using Maven

Get started

This is everything you need to run DL4J examples and begin your own projects.

We recommend that you join our community forum. There you can request help and give feedback, but please do use this guide before asking questions we've answered below. If you are new to deep learning, we've included a road map for beginners with links to courses, readings and other resources.

Look at Required Dependencies to understand how the dl4j library is supported on different platforms.

If you just want to get started, please consider reading our core workflow guide.

We are currently reworking the Getting Started Guide.

If you find that you have trouble following along here, take a look at the Konduit blog, as it features some getting started guides from the community.

A quick overview

Deeplearning4j started as a domain-specific language to configure deep neural networks, and evolved in to a suite of tools developers use to do everything from train models in java to deploy models to production.

Use cases include: 1. Numerical computation. See: https://github.com/eclipse/deeplearning4j-examples/tree/master/nd4j-ndarray-examples

2. Define and train models using a tensorflow/pytorch like interface. See: https://github.com/eclipse/deeplearning4j-examples/tree/master/samediff-examples

3. Model import and deployment. See: https://github.com/eclipse/deeplearning4j-examples/tree/master/tensorflow-keras-import-examples

4. Running models on spark. See: https://github.com/eclipse/deeplearning4j-examples/tree/master/dl4j-distributed-training-examples

5. A small self contained library for running math code. See: https://github.com/eclipse/deeplearning4j/tree/master/libnd4j

Other use cases are available as well, please feel free to check more of our examples


You should have these installed to use this QuickStart guide. DL4J targets professional Java developers who are familiar with production deployments, IDEs and automated build tools. Working with DL4J will be easiest if you already have experience with these.

If you are new to Java or unfamiliar with these tools, read the details below for help with installation and setup. Otherwise, skip to DL4J Examples.

If you don't have Java 11 or later, download the current Java Development Kit (JDK) here. We recommend eclipse temurin or alternatives to oracle jdk. JDKs from other vendors such as Micorosft, Amazon, or Eclipse come prebuilt free of charge. To check if you have a compatible version of Java installed, use the following command:

java -version

Please make sure you have a 64-Bit version of java installed, as you will see an error telling you no jnind4j in java.library.path if you decide to try to use a 32-Bit version instead. Make sure the JAVA_HOME environment variable is set. Please use jdk 11 or 17. 8 is not not officially supported anymore but will work.

Maven is a dependency management and automated build tool for Java projects. It works well with IDEs such as IntelliJ and lets you install DL4J project libraries easily. Install or update Maven to the latest release following their instructions for your system. To check if you have the most recent version of Maven installed, enter the following:

mvn --version

If you are working on a Mac, you can simply enter the following into the command line:

brew install maven

Maven is widely used among Java developers and it's pretty much mandatory for working with DL4J. If you come from a different background, and Maven is new to you, check out Apache's Maven overview and our introduction to Maven for non-Java programmers, which includes some additional troubleshooting tips. Other build tools such as Ivy and Gradle can also work, but we support Maven best.

An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) allows you to work with our API and configure neural networks in a few steps. We strongly recommend using IntelliJ, which communicates with Maven to handle dependencies. The community edition of IntelliJ is free.

There are other popular IDEs such as Eclipse and Netbeans. However, IntelliJ is preferred, and using it will make finding help on the community forums easier if you need it.

Install the latest version of Git. If you already have Git, you can update to the latest version using Git itself:

$ git clone git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/git/git.git

The latest version of Mac's Mojave OS breaks git, producing the following error message:

xcrun: error: invalid active developer path (/Library/Developer/CommandLineTools), missing xcrun at: /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools/usr/bin/xcrun

This can be fixed by running:

xcode-select --install

  1. Use the command line to enter the following:

    git clone https://github.com/eclipse/deeplearning4j-examples.git
  2. Open IntelliJ and choose Import Project. Then select the dl4j-examples directory.

  3. Choose 'Import project from external model' and ensure that Maven is selected.

  4. Continue through the wizard's options. Select the SDK that begins with jdk. (You may need to click on a plus sign to see your options...) Then click Finish. Wait a moment for IntelliJ to download all the dependencies. You'll see the horizontal bar working on the lower right.

  5. Pick an example from the file tree on the left. Right-click the file to run.

The example repository contains multiple example projects that are grouped by different levels of functionality. The dl4j-examples project you just opened has the simplest examples, but feel free to explore the other projects too!

Using DL4J In Your Own Projects: Configuring the POM.xml File

To run DL4J in your own projects, we highly recommend using Maven for Java users, or a tool such as SBT for Scala. The basic set of dependencies and their versions are shown below. This includes:

  • deeplearning4j-core, which contains the neural network implementations

  • nd4j-native-platform, the CPU version of the ND4J library that powers DL4J

  • datavec-api - Datavec is our library vectorizing and loading data

Every Maven project has a POM file. Here is how the POM file should appear when you run your examples.

Within IntelliJ, you will need to choose the first Deeplearning4j example you're going to run. We suggest MLPClassifierLinear, as you will almost immediately see the network classify two groups of data in our UI. The file on Github can be found here.

To run the example, right click on it and select the green button in the drop-down menu. You will see, in IntelliJ's bottom window, a series of scores. The rightmost number is the error score for the network's classifications. If your network is learning, then that number will decrease over time with each batch it processes. At the end, this window will tell you how accurate your neural-network model has become:

In another window, a graph will appear, showing you how the multilayer perceptron (MLP) has classified the data in the example. It will look like this:

Congratulations! You just trained your first neural network with Deeplearning4j.

Next Steps

  1. Join our community forums on community.konduit.ai.

  2. Check out the more detailed Comprehensive Setup Guide.

Python folks: If you plan to run benchmarks on Deeplearning4j comparing it to well-known Python framework [x], please read these instructions on how to optimize heap space, garbage collection and ETL on the JVM. By following them, you will see at least a 10x speedup in training time.


Q: I'm using a 64-Bit Java on Windows and still get the no jnind4j in java.library.path error

A: You may have incompatible DLLs on your PATH. To tell DL4J to ignore those, you have to add the following as a VM parameter (Run -> Edit Configurations -> VM Options in IntelliJ):


Q: SPARK ISSUES I am running the examples and having issues with the Spark based examples such as distributed training or datavec transform options.

A: You may be missing some dependencies that Spark requires. See this Stack Overflow discussion for a discussion of potential dependency issues. Windows users may need the winutils.exe from Hadoop.

Download winutils.exe from https://github.com/steveloughran/winutils and put it into the null/bin/winutils.exe (or create a hadoop folder and add that to HADOOP_HOME)

Troubleshooting: Debugging UnsatisfiedLinkError on Windows

Windows users might be seeing something like:

Exception in thread "main" java.lang.ExceptionInInitializerError
at org.deeplearning4j.nn.conf.NeuralNetConfiguration$Builder.seed(NeuralNetConfiguration.java:624)
at org.deeplearning4j.examples.feedforward.anomalydetection.MNISTAnomalyExample.main(MNISTAnomalyExample.java:46)
Caused by: java.lang.RuntimeException: org.nd4j.linalg.factory.Nd4jBackend$NoAvailableBackendException: Please ensure that you have an nd4j backend on your classpath. Please see: http://nd4j.org/getstarted.html
at org.nd4j.linalg.factory.Nd4j.initContext(Nd4j.java:5556)
at org.nd4j.linalg.factory.Nd4j.(Nd4j.java:189)
... 2 more
Caused by: org.nd4j.linalg.factory.Nd4jBackend$NoAvailableBackendException: Please ensure that you have an nd4j backend on your classpath. Please see: http://nd4j.org/getstarted.html
at org.nd4j.linalg.factory.Nd4jBackend.load(Nd4jBackend.java:259)
at org.nd4j.linalg.factory.Nd4j.initContext(Nd4j.java:5553)
... 3 more

If that is the issue, see this page. In this case replace with "Nd4jCpu".

Quickstart template

Now that you've learned how to run the different examples, we've made a template available for you that has a basic MNIST trainer with simple evaluation code.

The Quickstart template is available at https://github.com/eclipse/deeplearning4j-examples/tree/master/mvn-project-template.

To use the template:

  1. Copy the standalone-sample-project from the examples and give it the name of your project.

  2. Import the folder into IntelliJ.

  3. Start coding!

More about Eclipse Deeplearning4j

Deeplearning4j is a framework that lets you pick and choose with everything available from the beginning. We're not Tensorflow (a low-level numerical computing library with automatic differentiation) or Pytorch. Deeplearning4j has several subprojects that make it easy-ish to build end-to-end applications.

If you'd like to deploy models to production, you might like our model import from Keras.

Deeplearning4j has several submodules. These range from a visualization UI to distributed training on Spark. For an overview of these modules, please look at the Deeplearning4j examples on Github.

If you want more advanced neural networks consider using the Tutorials framework.

To get started with a simple desktop app and run a simpler neural network, you need two things: An nd4j backend and deeplearning4j-nn. For more code, see the simpler examples submodule.

If you want a flexible deep-learning API, there are two ways to go. You can use nd4j standalone See our nd4j examples or the computation graph API as well as the aforementioned Tutorials .

If you want distributed training on Spark, you can see our Spark page. Keep in mind that we cannot setup Spark for you. If you want to set up distributed Spark and GPUs, that is largely up to you. Deeplearning4j simply deploys as a JAR file on an existing Spark cluster.

If you want to deploy on mobile, you can see our Android page.

We deploy optimized code for various hardware architectures natively. We use C++ based for loops just like everybody else. For that, please see our C++ framework libnd4j.

Deeplearning4j has two other notable components:

Deeplearning4j is meant to be an end-to-end platform for building real applications, not just a tensor library with automatic differentiation. If you want a tensor library with autodiff, please see ND4J and Samediff. Samediff is still in beta, but if you want to contribute, please join our community forum.

Lastly, if you are benchmarking Deeplearnin4j, please consider coming in to our community forum and asking for tips. Deeplearning4j has all the knobs, but some may not work exactly like the Python frameworks do.

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