libcudf C++ Developer Guide

This document serves as a guide for contributors to libcudf C++ code. Developers should also refer to these additional files for further documentation of libcudf best practices.


libcudf is a C++ library that provides GPU-accelerated data-parallel algorithms for processing column-oriented tabular data. libcudf provides algorithms including slicing, filtering, sorting, various types of aggregations, and database-type operations such as grouping and joins. libcudf serves a number of clients via multiple language interfaces, including Python and Java. Users may also use libcudf directly from C++ code.


This section defines terminology used within libcudf.


A column is an array of data of a single type. Along with Tables, columns are the fundamental data structures used in libcudf. Most libcudf algorithms operate on columns. Columns may have a validity mask representing whether each element is valid or null (invalid). Columns of nested types are supported, meaning that a column may have child columns. A column is the C++ equivalent to a cuDF Python Series.


An individual data item within a column. Also known as a row.


A type representing a single element of a data type.


A table is a collection of columns with equal number of elements. A table is the C++ equivalent to a cuDF Python DataFrame.


A view is a non-owning object that provides zero-copy access (possibly with slicing or offsets) to data owned by another object. Examples are column views and table views.

Directory Structure and File Naming

External/public libcudf APIs are grouped based on functionality into an appropriately titled header file in cudf/cpp/include/cudf/. For example, cudf/cpp/include/cudf/copying.hpp contains the APIs for functions related to copying from one column to another. Note the .hpp file extension used to indicate a C++ header file.

Header files should use the #pragma once include guard.

The naming of external API headers should be consistent with the name of the folder that contains the source files that implement the API. For example, the implementation of the APIs found in cudf/cpp/include/cudf/copying.hpp are located in cudf/src/copying. Likewise, the unit tests for the APIs reside in cudf/tests/copying/.

Internal API headers containing detail namespace definitions that are used across translation units inside libcudf should be placed in include/cudf/detail.

File extensions

  • .hpp : C++ header files
  • .cpp : C++ source files
  • .cu : CUDA C++ source files
  • .cuh : Headers containing CUDA device code

Only use .cu and .cuh if necessary. A good indicator is the inclusion of __device__ and other symbols that are only recognized by nvcc. Another indicator is Thrust algorithm APIs with a device execution policy (always rmm::exec_policy in libcudf).

Code and Documentation Style and Formatting

libcudf code uses snake_case for all names except in a few cases: template parameters, unit tests and test case names may use Pascal case, aka UpperCamelCase. We do not use Hungarian notation, except sometimes when naming device data variables and their corresponding host copies. Private member variables are typically prefixed with an underscore.

template <typename IteratorType>
void algorithm_function(int x, rmm::cuda_stream_view s, rmm::device_memory_resource* mr)
class utility_class
int _rating{};
std::unique_ptr<cudf::column> _column{};
TYPED_TEST_SUITE(RepeatTypedTestFixture, cudf::test::FixedWidthTypes);
TYPED_TEST(RepeatTypedTestFixture, RepeatScalarCount)
Concat< NumericTypes, ChronoTypes, FixedPointTypes > FixedWidthTypes
Provides a list of all fixed-width element types for use in GTest typed tests.
Definition: type_lists.hpp:303

C++ formatting is enforced using clang-format. You should configure clang-format on your machine to use the cudf/cpp/.clang-format configuration file, and run clang-format on all changed code before committing it. The easiest way to do this is to configure your editor to "format on save."

Aspects of code style not discussed in this document and not automatically enforceable are typically caught during code review, or not enforced.

C++ Guidelines

In general, we recommend following C++ Core Guidelines. We also recommend watching Sean Parent's C++ Seasoning talk, and we try to follow his rules: "No raw loops. No raw pointers. No raw synchronization primitives."

  • Prefer algorithms from STL and Thrust to raw loops.
  • Prefer libcudf and RMM owning data structures and views to raw pointers and raw memory allocation.
  • libcudf doesn't have a lot of CPU-thread concurrency, but there is some. And currently libcudf does use raw synchronization primitives. So we should revisit Parent's third rule and improve here.

Additional style guidelines for libcudf code include:

  • NL.11: Make Literals Readable: Decimal values should use integer separators every thousands place, like 1'234'567. Hexadecimal values should use separators every 4 characters, like 0x0123'ABCD.

Documentation is discussed in the Documentation Guide.


The following guidelines apply to organizing #include lines.

  • Group includes by library (e.g. cuDF, RMM, Thrust, STL). clang-format will respect the groupings and sort the individual includes within a group lexicographically.
  • Separate groups by a blank line.
  • Order the groups from "nearest" to "farthest". In other words, local includes, then includes from other RAPIDS libraries, then includes from related libraries, like <thrust/...>, then includes from dependencies installed with cuDF, and then standard headers (for example <string>, <iostream>).
  • Use <> instead of "" unless the header is in the same directory as the source file.
  • Tools like clangd often auto-insert includes when they can, but they usually get the grouping and brackets wrong.
  • Always check that includes are only necessary for the file in which they are included. Try to avoid excessive including especially in header files. Double check this when you remove code.
  • Use quotes " to include local headers from the same relative source directory. This should only occur in source files and non-public header files. Otherwise use angle brackets <> around included header filenames.
  • Avoid relative paths with .. when possible. Paths with .. are necessary when including (internal) headers from source paths not in the same directory as the including file, because source paths are not passed with -I.
  • Avoid including library internal headers from non-internal files. For example, try not to include headers from libcudf src directories in tests or in libcudf public headers. If you find yourself doing this, start a discussion about moving (parts of) the included internal header to a public header.

libcudf Data Structures

Application data in libcudf is contained in Columns and Tables, but there are a variety of other data structures you will use when developing libcudf code.

Views and Ownership

Resource ownership is an essential concept in libcudf. In short, an "owning" object owns a resource (such as device memory). It acquires that resource during construction and releases the resource in destruction (RAII). A "non-owning" object does not own resources. Any class in libcudf with the *_view suffix is non-owning. For more detail see the libcudf presentation.

libcudf functions typically take views as input (column_view or table_view) and produce unique_ptrs to owning objects as output. For example,

std::unique_ptr<table> sort(table_view const& input);
std::unique_ptr< table > sort(table_view const &input, std::vector< order > const &column_order={}, std::vector< null_order > const &null_precedence={}, rmm::cuda_stream_view stream=cudf::get_default_stream(), rmm::mr::device_memory_resource *mr=rmm::mr::get_current_device_resource())
Performs a lexicographic sort of the rows of a table.


libcudf allocates all device memory via RMM memory resources (MR). See the RMM documentation for details.

Current Device Memory Resource

RMM provides a "default" memory resource for each device that can be accessed and updated via the rmm::mr::get_current_device_resource() and rmm::mr::set_current_device_resource(...) functions, respectively. All memory resource parameters should be defaulted to use the return value of rmm::mr::get_current_device_resource().


cudf::column is a core owning data structure in libcudf. Most libcudf public APIs produce either a cudf::column or a cudf::table as output. A column contains device_buffers which own the device memory for the elements of a column and an optional null indicator bitmask.

Implicitly convertible to column_view and mutable_column_view.

Movable and copyable. A copy performs a deep copy of the column's contents, whereas a move moves the contents from one column to another.


cudf::column col{...};
cudf::column copy{col}; // Copies the contents of `col`
cudf::column const moved_to{std::move(col)}; // Moves contents from `col`
column_view v = moved_to; // Implicit conversion to non-owning column_view
// mutable_column_view m = moved_to; // Cannot create mutable view to const column
A container of nullable device data as a column of elements.
Definition: column.hpp:48

A column may have nested (child) columns, depending on the data type of the column. For example, LIST, STRUCT, and STRING type columns.


cudf::column_view is a core non-owning data structure in libcudf. It is an immutable, non-owning view of device memory as a column. Most libcudf public APIs take views as inputs.

A column_view may be a view of a "slice" of a column. For example, it might view rows 75-150 of a column with 1000 rows. The size() of this column_view would be 75, and accessing index 0 of the view would return the element at index 75 of the owning column. Internally, this is implemented by storing in the view a pointer, an offset, and a size. column_view::data<T>() returns a pointer iterator to column_view::head<T>() + offset.


A mutable, non-owning view of device memory as a column. Used for detail APIs and (rare) public APIs that modify columns in place.


An immutable, non-owning view of device data as a column of elements that is trivially copyable and usable in CUDA device code. Used to pass column_view data as input to CUDA kernels and device functions (including Thrust algorithms)


A mutable, non-owning view of device data as a column of elements that is trivially copyable and usable in CUDA device code. Used to pass column_view data to be modified on the device by CUDA kernels and device functions (including Thrust algorithms).


Owning class for a set of cudf::columns all with equal number of elements. This is the C++ equivalent to a data frame.

Implicitly convertible to cudf::table_view and cudf::mutable_table_view

Movable and copyable. A copy performs a deep copy of all columns, whereas a move moves all columns from one table to another.


An immutable, non-owning view of a table.


A mutable, non-owning view of a table.


The cudf::size_type is the type used for the number of elements in a column, offsets to elements within a column, indices to address specific elements, segments for subsets of column elements, etc. It is equivalent to a signed, 32-bit integer type and therefore has a maximum value of 2147483647. Some APIs also accept negative index values and those functions support a minimum value of -2147483648. This fundamental type also influences output values not just for column size limits but for counting elements as well.


libcudf provides span classes that mimic C++20 std::span, which is a lightweight view of a contiguous sequence of objects. libcudf provides two classes, host_span and device_span, which can be constructed from multiple container types, or from a pointer (host or device, respectively) and size, or from iterators. span types are useful for defining generic (internal) interfaces which work with multiple input container types. device_span can be constructed from thrust::device_vector, rmm::device_vector, or rmm::device_uvector. host_span can be constructed from thrust::host_vector, std::vector, or std::basic_string.

If you are defining internal (detail) functions that operate on vectors, use spans for the input vector parameters rather than a specific vector type, to make your functions more widely applicable.

When a span refers to immutable elements, use span<T const>, not span<T> const. Since a span is lightweight view, it does not propagate const-ness. Therefore, const should be applied to the template type parameter, not to the span itself. Also, span should be passed by value because it is a lightweight view. APIS in libcudf that take spans as input will look like the following function that copies device data to a host std::vector.

template <typename T>
std::vector<T> make_std_vector_async(device_span<T const> v, rmm::cuda_stream_view stream)


A cudf::scalar is an object that can represent a singular, nullable value of any of the types currently supported by cudf. Each type of value is represented by a separate type of scalar class which are all derived from cudf::scalar. e.g. A numeric_scalar holds a single numerical value, a string_scalar holds a single string. The data for the stored value resides in device memory.

A list_scalar holds the underlying data of a single list. This means the underlying data can be any type that cudf supports. For example, a list_scalar representing a list of integers stores a cudf::column of type INT32. A list_scalar representing a list of lists of integers stores a cudf::column of type LIST, which in turn stores a column of type INT32.

Value type Scalar class Notes
fixed-width fixed_width_scalar<T> T can be any fixed-width type
numeric numeric_scalar<T> T can be int8_t, int16_t, int32_t, int_64_t, float or double
fixed-point fixed_point_scalar<T> T can be numeric::decimal32 or numeric::decimal64
timestamp timestamp_scalar<T> T can be timestamp_D, timestamp_s, etc.
duration duration_scalar<T> T can be duration_D, duration_s, etc.
string string_scalar This class object is immutable
list list_scalar Underlying data can be any type supported by cudf


scalars can be created using either their respective constructors or using factory functions like make_numeric_scalar(), make_timestamp_scalar() or make_string_scalar().


All the factory methods return a unique_ptr<scalar> which needs to be statically downcasted to its respective scalar class type before accessing its value. Their validity (nullness) can be accessed without casting. Generally, the value needs to be accessed from a function that is aware of the value type e.g. a functor that is dispatched from type_dispatcher. To cast to the requisite scalar class type given the value type, use the mapping utility scalar_type_t provided in type_dispatcher.hpp :

//unique_ptr<scalar> s = make_numeric_scalar(...);
using ScalarType = cudf::scalar_type_t<T>;
// ScalarType is now numeric_scalar<T>
auto s1 = static_cast<ScalarType *>(s.get());
typename type_to_scalar_type_impl< T >::ScalarType scalar_type_t
Maps a C++ type to the scalar type required to hold its value.

Passing to device

Each scalar type, except list_scalar, has a corresponding non-owning device view class which allows access to the value and its validity from the device. This can be obtained using the function get_scalar_device_view(ScalarType s). Note that a device view is not provided for a base scalar object, only for the derived typed scalar class objects.

The underlying data for list_scalar can be accessed via view() method. For non-nested data, the device view can be obtained via function column_device_view::create(column_view). For nested data, a specialized device view for list columns can be constructed via lists_column_device_view(column_device_view).

libcudf Policies and Design Principles

libcudf is designed to provide thread-safe, single-GPU accelerated algorithm primitives for solving a wide variety of problems that arise in data science. APIs are written to execute on the default GPU, which can be controlled by the caller through standard CUDA device APIs or environment variables like CUDA_VISIBLE_DEVICES. Our goal is to enable diverse use cases like Spark or Pandas to benefit from the performance of GPUs, and libcudf relies on these higher-level layers like Spark or Dask to orchestrate multi-GPU tasks.

To best satisfy these use-cases, libcudf prioritizes performance and flexibility, which sometimes may come at the cost of convenience. While we welcome users to use libcudf directly, we design with the expectation that most users will be consuming libcudf through higher-level layers like Spark or cuDF Python that handle some of details that direct users of libcudf must handle on their own. We document these policies and the reasons behind them here.

libcudf does not introspect data

libcudf APIs generally do not perform deep introspection and validation of input data. There are numerous reasons for this:

  1. It violates the single responsibility principle: validation is separate from execution.
  2. Since libcudf data structures store data on the GPU, any validation incurs at minimum the overhead of a kernel launch, and may in general be prohibitively expensive.
  3. API promises around data introspection often significantly complicate implementation.

Users are therefore responsible for passing valid data into such APIs. Note that this policy does not mean that libcudf performs no validation whatsoever. libcudf APIs should still perform any validation that does not require introspection. To give some idea of what should or should not be validated, here are (non-exhaustive) lists of examples.

Things that libcudf should validate:

  • Input column/table sizes or data types

Things that libcudf should not validate:

  • Integer overflow
  • Ensuring that outputs will not exceed the 2GB size limit for a given set of inputs

libcudf expects nested types to have sanitized null masks

Various libcudf APIs accepting columns of nested data types (such as LIST or STRUCT) may assume that these columns have been sanitized. In this context, sanitization refers to ensuring that the null elements in a column with a nested dtype are compatible with the elements of nested columns. Specifically:

  • Null elements of list columns should also be empty. The starting offset of a null element should be equal to the ending offset.
  • Null elements of struct columns should also be null elements in the underlying structs.
  • For compound columns, nulls should only be present at the level of the parent column. Child columns should not contain nulls.
  • Slice operations on nested columns do not propagate offsets to child columns.

libcudf APIs should promise to never return "dirty" columns, i.e. columns containing unsanitized data. Therefore, the only problem is if users construct input columns that are not correctly sanitized and then pass those into libcudf APIs.

Treat libcudf APIs as if they were asynchronous

libcudf APIs called on the host do not guarantee that the stream is synchronized before returning. Work in libcudf occurs on cudf::get_default_stream().value, which defaults to the CUDA default stream (stream 0). Note that the stream 0 behavior differs if per-thread default stream is enabled via CUDF_USE_PER_THREAD_DEFAULT_STREAM. Any data provided to or returned by libcudf that uses a separate non-blocking stream requires synchronization with the default libcudf stream to ensure stream safety.

libcudf generally does not make ordering guarantees

Functions like merge or groupby in libcudf make no guarantees about the order of entries in the output. Promising deterministic ordering is not, in general, conducive to fast parallel algorithms. Calling code is responsible for performing sorts after the fact if sorted outputs are needed.

libcudf does not promise specific exception messages

libcudf documents the exceptions that will be thrown by an API for different kinds of invalid inputs. The types of those exceptions (e.g. cudf::logic_error) are part of the public API. However, the explanatory string returned by the what method of those exceptions is not part of the API and is subject to change. Calling code should not rely on the contents of libcudf error messages to determine the nature of the error. For information on the types of exceptions that libcudf throws under different circumstances, see the section on error handling.

libcudf API and Implementation


libcudf is in the process of adding support for asynchronous execution using CUDA streams. In order to facilitate the usage of streams, all new libcudf APIs that allocate device memory or execute a kernel should accept an rmm::cuda_stream_view parameter at the end with a default value of cudf::get_default_stream(). There is one exception to this rule: if the API also accepts a memory resource parameter, the stream parameter should be placed just before the memory resource. This API should then forward the call to a corresponding detail API with an identical signature, except that the detail API should not have a default parameter for the stream (detail APIs should always avoid default parameters). The implementation should be wholly contained in the detail API definition and use only asynchronous versions of CUDA APIs with the stream parameter.

In order to make the detail API callable from other libcudf functions, it should be exposed in a header placed in the cudf/cpp/include/detail/ directory.

For example:

// cpp/include/cudf/header.hpp
void external_function(...);
// cpp/include/cudf/detail/header.hpp
namespace detail{
void external_function(..., rmm::cuda_stream_view stream)
} // namespace detail
// cudf/src/implementation.cpp
namespace detail{
// Use the stream parameter in the detail implementation.
void external_function(..., rmm::cuda_stream_view stream){
// Implementation uses the stream with async APIs.
rmm::device_buffer buff(...,stream);
kernel<<<..., stream>>>(...);
thrust::algorithm(rmm::exec_policy(stream), ...);
} // namespace detail
void external_function(...){
CUDF_FUNC_RANGE(); // Generates an NVTX range for the lifetime of this function.
detail::external_function(..., cudf::get_default_stream());
constexpr cudaStream_t value() const noexcept
#define CUDF_CUDA_TRY(call)
Error checking macro for CUDA runtime API functions.
Definition: error.hpp:256
rmm::cuda_stream_view const get_default_stream()
Get the current default stream.

Note: It is important to synchronize the stream if and only if it is necessary. For example, when a non-pointer value is returned from the API that is the result of an asynchronous device-to-host copy, the stream used for the copy should be synchronized before returning. However, when a column is returned, the stream should not be synchronized because doing so will break asynchrony.

Note: cudaDeviceSynchronize() should never be used. This limits the ability to do any multi-stream/multi-threaded work with libcudf APIs.

Stream Creation

There may be times in implementing libcudf features where it would be advantageous to use streams internally, i.e., to accomplish overlap in implementing an algorithm. However, dynamically creating a stream can be expensive. RMM has a stream pool class to help avoid dynamic stream creation. However, this is not yet exposed in libcudf, so for the time being, libcudf features should avoid creating streams (even if it is slightly less efficient). It is a good idea to leave a // TODO: note indicating where using a stream would be beneficial.

Memory Allocation

Device memory resources are used in libcudf to abstract and control how device memory is allocated.

Output Memory

Any libcudf API that allocates memory that is returned to a user must accept a pointer to a device_memory_resource as the last parameter. Inside the API, this memory resource must be used to allocate any memory for returned objects. It should therefore be passed into functions whose outputs will be returned. Example:

// Returned `column` contains newly allocated memory,
// therefore the API must accept a memory resource pointer
std::unique_ptr<column> returns_output_memory(
..., rmm::device_memory_resource * mr = rmm::mr::get_current_device_resource());
// This API does not allocate any new *output* memory, therefore
// a memory resource is unnecessary
void does_not_allocate_output_memory(...);

This rule automatically applies to all detail APIs that allocates memory. Any detail API may be called by any public API, and therefore could be allocating memory that is returned to the user. To support such uses cases, all detail APIs allocating memory resources should accept an mr parameter. Callers are responsible for either passing through a provided mr or rmm::mr::get_current_device_resource() as needed.

Temporary Memory

Not all memory allocated within a libcudf API is returned to the caller. Often algorithms must allocate temporary, scratch memory for intermediate results. Always use the default resource obtained from rmm::mr::get_current_device_resource() for temporary memory allocations. Example:

rmm::device_buffer some_function(
..., rmm::mr::device_memory_resource mr * = rmm::mr::get_current_device_resource()) {
rmm::device_buffer returned_buffer(..., mr); // Returned buffer uses the passed in MR
rmm::device_buffer temporary_buffer(...); // Temporary buffer uses default MR
return returned_buffer;

Memory Management

libcudf code generally eschews raw pointers and direct memory allocation. Use RMM classes built to use device_memory_resources for device memory allocation with automated lifetime management.


Allocates a specified number of bytes of untyped, uninitialized device memory using a device_memory_resource. If no resource is explicitly provided, uses rmm::mr::get_current_device_resource().

rmm::device_buffer is movable and copyable on a stream. A copy performs a deep copy of the device_buffer's device memory on the specified stream, whereas a move moves ownership of the device memory from one device_buffer to another.

// Allocates at least 100 bytes of uninitialized device memory
// using the specified resource and stream
rmm::device_buffer buff(100, stream, mr);
void * raw_data =; // Raw pointer to underlying device memory
// Deep copies `buff` into `copy` on `stream`
rmm::device_buffer copy(buff, stream);
// Moves contents of `buff` into `moved_to`
rmm::device_buffer moved_to(std::move(buff));
custom_memory_resource *mr...;
// Allocates 100 bytes from the custom_memory_resource
rmm::device_buffer custom_buff(100, mr, stream);


Allocates a single element of the specified type initialized to the specified value. Use this for scalar input/outputs into device kernels, e.g., reduction results, null count, etc. This is effectively a convenience wrapper around a rmm::device_vector<T> of length 1.

// Allocates device memory for a single int using the specified resource and stream
// and initializes the value to 42
rmm::device_scalar<int> int_scalar{42, stream, mr};
// returns pointer to value in device memory
// scalar.value() synchronizes the scalar's stream and copies the
// value from device to host and returns the value
int host_value = int_scalar.value();


Allocates a specified number of elements of the specified type. If no initialization value is provided, all elements are default initialized (this incurs a kernel launch).

Note: We have removed all usage of rmm::device_vector and thrust::device_vector from libcudf, and you should not use it in new code in libcudf without careful consideration. Instead, use rmm::device_uvector along with the utility factories in device_factories.hpp. These utilities enable creation of uvectors from host-side vectors, or creating zero-initialized uvectors, so that they are as convenient to use as device_vector. Avoiding device_vector has a number of benefits, as described in the following section on rmm::device_uvector.


Similar to a device_vector, allocates a contiguous set of elements in device memory but with key differences:

  • As an optimization, elements are uninitialized and no synchronization occurs at construction. This limits the types T to trivially copyable types.
  • All operations are stream ordered (i.e., they accept a cuda_stream_view specifying the stream on which the operation is performed). This improves safety when using non-default streams.
  • device_uvector.hpp does not include any __device__ code, unlike thrust/device_vector.hpp, which means device_uvectors can be used in .cpp files, rather than just in .cu files.
cuda_stream s;
// Allocates uninitialized storage for 100 `int32_t` elements on stream `s` using the
// default resource
// Initializes the elements to 0
thrust::uninitialized_fill(thrust::cuda::par.on(s.value()), v.begin(), v.end(), int32_t{0});
rmm::mr::device_memory_resource * mr = new my_custom_resource{...};
// Allocates uninitialized storage for 100 `int32_t` elements on stream `s` using the resource `mr`

Default Parameters

While public libcudf APIs are free to include default function parameters, detail functions should not. Default memory resource parameters make it easy for developers to accidentally allocate memory using the incorrect resource. Avoiding default memory resources forces developers to consider each memory allocation carefully.

While streams are not currently exposed in libcudf's API, we plan to do so eventually. As a result, the same reasons for memory resources also apply to streams. Public APIs default to using cudf::get_default_stream(). However, including the same default in detail APIs opens the door for developers to forget to pass in a user-provided stream if one is passed to a public API. Forcing every detail API call to explicitly pass a stream is intended to prevent such mistakes.

The memory resources (and eventually, the stream) are the final parameters for essentially all public APIs. For API consistency, the same is true throughout libcudf's internals. Therefore, a consequence of not allowing default streams or MRs is that no parameters in detail APIs may have defaults.

NVTX Ranges

In order to aid in performance optimization and debugging, all compute intensive libcudf functions should have a corresponding NVTX range. libcudf has a convenience macro CUDF_FUNC_RANGE() that automatically annotates the lifetime of the enclosing function and uses the function's name as the name of the NVTX range. For more information about NVTX, see here.

Input/Output Style

The preferred style for how inputs are passed in and outputs are returned is the following:

  • Inputs
    • Columns:
      • column_view const&
    • Tables:
      • table_view const&
      • Scalar:
        • scalar const&
      • Everything else:
        • Trivial or inexpensively copied types
          • Pass by value
        • Non-trivial or expensive to copy types
          • Pass by const&
  • In/Outs
    • Columns:
      • mutable_column_view&
    • Tables:
      • mutable_table_view&
      • Everything else:
        • Pass by via raw pointer
  • Outputs
    • Outputs should be returned, i.e., no output parameters
    • Columns:
      • std::unique_ptr<column>
    • Tables:
      • std::unique_ptr<table>
      • Scalars:
        • std::unique_ptr<scalar>

Multiple Return Values

Sometimes it is necessary for functions to have multiple outputs. There are a few ways this can be done in C++ (including creating a struct for the output). One convenient way to do this is using std::tie and std::pair. Note that objects passed to std::pair will invoke either the copy constructor or the move constructor of the object, and it may be preferable to move non-trivially copyable objects (and required for types with deleted copy constructors, like std::unique_ptr).

std::pair<table, table> return_two_tables(void){
// Do stuff with out0, out1
// Return a std::pair of the two outputs
return std::pair(std::move(out0), std::move(out1));
std::tie(out0, out1) = cudf::return_two_outputs();
A set of cudf::column's of the same size.
Definition: table.hpp:40

Note: std::tuple could be used if not for the fact that Cython does not support std::tuple. Therefore, libcudf APIs must use std::pair, and are therefore limited to return only two objects of different types. Multiple objects of the same type may be returned via a std::vector<T>.

Alternatively, with C++17 (supported from cudf v0.20), structured binding may be used to disaggregate multiple return values:

auto [out0, out1] = cudf::return_two_outputs();

Note that the compiler might not support capturing aliases defined in a structured binding in a lambda. One may work around this by using a capture with an initializer instead:

auto [out0, out1] = cudf::return_two_outputs();
// Direct capture of alias from structured binding might fail with:
// "error: structured binding cannot be captured"
// auto foo = [out0]() {...};
// Use an initializing capture:
auto foo = [&out0 = out0] {
// Use out0 to compute something.
// ...

Iterator-based interfaces

Increasingly, libcudf is moving toward internal (detail) APIs with iterator parameters rather than explicit column/table/scalar parameters. As with STL, iterators enable generic algorithms to be applied to arbitrary containers. A good example of this is cudf::copy_if_else. This function takes two inputs, and a Boolean mask. It copies the corresponding element from the first or second input depending on whether the mask at that index is true or false. Implementing copy_if_else for all combinations of column and scalar parameters is simplified by using iterators in the detail API.

template <typename FilterFn, typename LeftIter, typename RightIter>
std::unique_ptr<column> copy_if_else(
bool nullable,
LeftIter lhs_begin,
LeftIter lhs_end,
RightIter rhs,
FilterFn filter,
std::unique_ptr< column > copy_if_else(column_view const &lhs, column_view const &rhs, column_view const &boolean_mask, rmm::cuda_stream_view stream=cudf::get_default_stream(), rmm::mr::device_memory_resource *mr=rmm::mr::get_current_device_resource())
Returns a new column, where each element is selected from either lhs or rhs based on the value of the...
bool nullable(table_view const &view)
Returns True if any of the columns in the table is nullable. (not entire hierarchy)
Definition: table_view.hpp:305

LeftIter and RightIter need only implement the necessary interface for an iterator. libcudf provides a number of iterator types and utilities that are useful with iterator-based APIs from libcudf as well as Thrust algorithms. Most are defined in include/detail/iterator.cuh.

Pair iterator

The pair iterator is used to access elements of nullable columns as a pair containing an element's value and validity. cudf::detail::make_pair_iterator can be used to create a pair iterator from a column_device_view or a cudf::scalar. make_pair_iterator is not available for mutable_column_device_view.

Null-replacement iterator

This iterator replaces the null/validity value for each element with a specified constant (true or false). Created using cudf::detail::make_null_replacement_iterator.

Validity iterator

This iterator returns the validity of the underlying element (true or false). Created using cudf::detail::make_validity_iterator.

Index-normalizing iterators

The proliferation of data types supported by libcudf can result in long compile times. One area where compile time was a problem is in types used to store indices, which can be any integer type. The "Indexalator", or index-normalizing iterator (include/cudf/detail/indexalator.cuh), can be used for index types (integers) without requiring a type-specific instance. It can be used for any iterator interface for reading an array of integer values of type int8, int16, int32, int64, uint8, uint16, uint32, or uint64. Reading specific elements always returns a cudf::size_type integer.

Use the indexalator_factory to create an appropriate input iterator from a column_view. Example input iterator usage:

auto begin = indexalator_factory::create_input_iterator(gather_map);
auto end = begin + gather_map.size();
auto result = detail::gather( source, begin, end, IGNORE, stream, mr );
std::unique_ptr< table > gather(table_view const &source_table, column_view const &gather_map, out_of_bounds_policy bounds_policy=out_of_bounds_policy::DONT_CHECK, rmm::cuda_stream_view stream=cudf::get_default_stream(), rmm::mr::device_memory_resource *mr=rmm::mr::get_current_device_resource())
Gathers the specified rows (including null values) of a set of columns.

Example output iterator usage:

auto result_itr = indexalator_factory::create_output_iterator(indices->mutable_view());
std::unique_ptr< column > lower_bound(table_view const &haystack, table_view const &needles, std::vector< order > const &column_order, std::vector< null_order > const &null_precedence, rmm::cuda_stream_view stream=cudf::get_default_stream(), rmm::mr::device_memory_resource *mr=rmm::mr::get_current_device_resource())
Find smallest indices in a sorted table where values should be inserted to maintain order.



All public libcudf APIs should be placed in the cudf namespace. Example:

namespace cudf{
void public_function(...);
} // namespace cudf
cuDF interfaces
Definition: aggregation.hpp:34

The top-level cudf namespace is sufficient for most of the public API. However, to logically group a broad set of functions, further namespaces may be used. For example, there are numerous functions that are specific to columns of Strings. These functions reside in the cudf::strings:: namespace. Similarly, functionality used exclusively for unit testing is in the cudf::test:: namespace.


Many functions are not meant for public use, so place them in either the detail or an anonymous namespace, depending on the situation.

detail namespace

Functions or objects that will be used across multiple translation units (i.e., source files), should be exposed in an internal header file and placed in the detail namespace. Example:

// some_utilities.hpp
namespace cudf{
namespace detail{
void reusable_helper_function(...);
} // namespace detail
} // namespace cudf

Anonymous namespace

Functions or objects that will only be used in a single translation unit should be defined in an anonymous namespace in the source file where it is used. Example:

// some_file.cpp
void isolated_helper_function(...);
} // anonymous namespace

Anonymous namespaces should never be used in a header file.

Deprecating and Removing Code

libcudf is constantly evolving to improve performance and better meet our users' needs. As a result, we occasionally need to break or entirely remove APIs to respond to new and improved understanding of the functionality we provide. Remaining free to do this is essential to making libcudf an agile library that can rapidly accommodate our users needs. As a result, we do not always provide a warning or any lead time prior to releasing breaking changes. On a best effort basis, the libcudf team will notify users of changes that we expect to have significant or widespread effects.

Where possible, indicate pending API removals using the deprecated attribute and document them using Doxygen's deprecated command prior to removal. When a replacement API is available for a deprecated API, mention the replacement in both the deprecation message and the deprecation documentation. Pull requests that introduce deprecations should be labeled "deprecation" to facilitate discovery and removal in the subsequent release.

Advertise breaking changes by labeling any pull request that breaks or removes an existing API with the "breaking" tag. This ensures that the "Breaking" section of the release notes includes a description of what has broken from the past release. Label pull requests that contain deprecations with the "non-breaking" tag.

Error Handling

libcudf follows conventions (and provides utilities) enforcing compile-time and run-time conditions and detecting and handling CUDA errors. Communication of errors is always via C++ exceptions.

Runtime Conditions

Use the CUDF_EXPECTS macro to enforce runtime conditions necessary for correct execution.

Example usage:

CUDF_EXPECTS(lhs.type() == rhs.type(), "Column type mismatch");
#define CUDF_EXPECTS(...)
Macro for checking (pre-)conditions that throws an exception when a condition is violated.
Definition: error.hpp:170

The first argument is the conditional expression expected to resolve to true under normal conditions. If the conditional evaluates to false, then an error has occurred and an instance of cudf::logic_error is thrown. The second argument to CUDF_EXPECTS is a short description of the error that has occurred and is used for the exception's what() message.

There are times where a particular code path, if reached, should indicate an error no matter what. For example, often the default case of a switch statement represents an invalid alternative. Use the CUDF_FAIL macro for such errors. This is effectively the same as calling CUDF_EXPECTS(false, reason).


CUDF_FAIL("This code path should not be reached.");
#define CUDF_FAIL(...)
Indicates that an erroneous code path has been taken.
Definition: error.hpp:209

CUDA Error Checking

Use the CUDF_CUDA_TRY macro to check for the successful completion of CUDA runtime API functions. This macro throws a cudf::cuda_error exception if the CUDA API return value is not cudaSuccess. The thrown exception includes a description of the CUDA error code in its what() message.


CUDF_CUDA_TRY( cudaMemcpy(&dst, &src, num_bytes) );

Compile-Time Conditions

Use static_assert to enforce compile-time conditions. For example,

template <typename T>
void trivial_types_only(T t){
static_assert(std::is_trivial<T>::value, "This function requires a trivial type.");


libcudf includes logging utilities (built on top of spdlog library), which should be used to log important events (e.g. user warnings). This utility can also be used to log debug information, as long as the correct logging level is used. There are six macros that should be used for logging at different levels:

  • CUDF_LOG_TRACE - verbose debug messages (targeted at developers)
  • CUDF_LOG_DEBUG - debug messages (targeted at developers)
  • CUDF_LOG_INFO - information about rare events (e.g. once per run) that occur during normal execution
  • CUDF_LOG_WARN - user warnings about potentially unexpected behavior or deprecations
  • CUDF_LOG_ERROR - recoverable errors
  • CUDF_LOG_CRITICAL - unrecoverable errors (e.g. memory corruption)

By default, TRACE, DEBUG and INFO messages are excluded from the log. In addition, in public builds, the code that logs at TRACE and DEBUG levels is compiled out. This prevents logging of potentially sensitive data that might be done for debug purposes. Also, this allows developers to include expensive computation in the trace/debug logs, as the overhead will not be present in the public builds. The minimum enabled logging level is WARN, and it can be modified in multiple ways:

  • CMake configuration variable LIBCUDF_LOGGING_LEVEL - sets the minimum level of logging that will be compiled in the build. Available levels are TRACE, DEBUG, INFO, WARN, ERROR, CRITICAL, and OFF.
  • Environment variable LIBCUDF_LOGGING_LEVEL - sets the minimum logging level during initialization. If this setting is higher than the compile-time CMake variable, any logging levels in between the two settings will be excluded from the written log. The available levels are the same as for the CMake variable.
  • Global logger object exposed via cudf::logger() - sets the minimum logging level at runtime. For example, calling cudf::logger().set_level(spdlog::level::err), will exclude any messages that are not errors or critical errors. This API should not be used within libcudf to manipulate logging, its purpose is to allow upstream users to configure libcudf logging to fit their application.

By default, logging messages are output to stderr. Setting the environment variable LIBCUDF_DEBUG_LOG_FILE redirects the log to a file with the specified path (can be relative to the current directory). Upstream users can also manipulate cudf::logger().sinks() to add sinks or divert the log to standard output or even a custom spdlog sink.

Data Types

Columns may contain data of a number of types (see enum class type_id in include/cudf/types.hpp)

  • Numeric data: signed and unsigned integers (8-, 16-, 32-, or 64-bit), floats (32- or 64-bit), and Booleans (8-bit).
  • Timestamp data with resolution of days, seconds, milliseconds, microseconds, or nanoseconds.
  • Duration data with resolution of days, seconds, milliseconds, microseconds, or nanoseconds.
  • Decimal fixed-point data (32- or 64-bit).
  • Strings
  • Dictionaries
  • Lists of any type
  • Structs of columns of any type

Most algorithms must support columns of any data type. This leads to complexity in the code, and is one of the primary challenges a libcudf developer faces. Sometimes we develop new algorithms with gradual support for more data types to make this easier. Typically we start with fixed-width data types such as numeric types and timestamps/durations, adding support for nested types later.

Enabling an algorithm differently for different types uses either template specialization or SFINAE, as discussed in Specializing Type-Dispatched Code Paths.

Type Dispatcher

libcudf stores data (for columns and scalars) "type erased" in void* device memory. This type-erasure enables interoperability with other languages and type systems, such as Python and Java. In order to determine the type, libcudf algorithms must use the run-time information stored in the column type() to reconstruct the data type T by casting the void* to the appropriate T*.

This so-called type dispatch is pervasive throughout libcudf. The type_dispatcher is a central utility that automates the process of mapping the runtime type information in data_type to a concrete C++ type.

At a high level, you call the type_dispatcher with a data_type and a function object (also known as a functor) with an operator() template. Based on the value of data_type::id(), the type dispatcher invokes the corresponding instantiation of the operator() template.

This simplified example shows how the value of data_type::id() determines which instantiation of the F::operator() template is invoked.

template <typename F>
void type_dispatcher(data_type t, F f){
case type_id::INT32: f.template operator()<int32_t>()
case type_id::INT64: f.template operator()<int64_t>()
case type_id::FLOAT: f.template operator()<float>()
CUDF_HOST_DEVICE constexpr decltype(auto) __forceinline__ type_dispatcher(cudf::data_type dtype, Functor f, Ts &&... args)
Invokes an operator() template with the type instantiation based on the specified cudf::data_type's i...

The following example shows a function object called size_of_functor that returns the size of the dispatched type.

struct size_of_functor{
template <typename T>
int operator()(){ return sizeof(T); }
cudf::type_dispatcher(data_type{type_id::INT8}, size_of_functor{}); // returns 1
cudf::type_dispatcher(data_type{type_id::INT32}, size_of_functor{}); // returns 4
cudf::type_dispatcher(data_type{type_id::FLOAT64}, size_of_functor{}); // returns 8

By default, type_dispatcher uses cudf::type_to_id<t> to provide the mapping of cudf::type_id to dispatched C++ types. However, this mapping may be customized by explicitly specifying a user-defined trait for the IdTypeMap. For example, to always dispatch int32_t for all values of cudf::type_id:

template<cudf::type_id t> struct always_int{ using type = int32_t; }
// This will always invoke `operator()<int32_t>`
cudf::type_dispatcher<always_int>(data_type, f);

Avoid Multiple Type Dispatch

Avoid multiple type-dispatch if possible. The compiler creates a code path for every type dispatched, so a second-level type dispatch results in quadratic growth in compilation time and object code size. As a large library with many types and functions, we are constantly working to reduce compilation time and code size.

Specializing Type-Dispatched Code Paths

It is often necessary to customize the dispatched operator() for different types. This can be done in several ways.

The first method is to use explicit, full template specialization. This is useful for specializing behavior for single types. The following example function object prints "int32_t" or "double" when invoked with either of those types, or "unhandled type" otherwise.

struct type_printer {
template <typename ColumnType>
void operator()() { std::cout << "unhandled type\n"; }
// Due to a bug in g++, explicit member function specializations need to be
// defined outside of the class definition
template <>
void type_printer::operator()<int32_t>() { std::cout << "int32_t\n"; }
template <>
void type_printer::operator()<double>() { std::cout << "double\n"; }

The second method is to use SFINAE with std::enable_if_t. This is useful to partially specialize for a set of types with a common trait. The following example functor prints integral or floating point for integral or floating point types, respectively.

struct integral_or_floating_point {
template <typename ColumnType,
std::enable_if_t<not std::is_integral<ColumnType>::value and
not std::is_floating_point<ColumnType>::value>* = nullptr>
void operator()() { std::cout << "neither integral nor floating point\n"; }
template <typename ColumnType,
std::enable_if_t<std::is_integral<ColumnType>::value>* = nullptr>
void operator()() { std::cout << "integral\n"; }
template < typename ColumnType,
std::enable_if_t<std::is_floating_point<ColumnType>::value>* = nullptr>
void operator()() { std::cout << "floating point\n"; }

For more info on SFINAE with std::enable_if, see this post.

There are a number of traits defined in include/cudf/utilities/traits.hpp that are useful for partial specialization of dispatched function objects. For example is_numeric<T>() can be used to specialize for any numeric type.

Variable-Size and Nested Data Types

libcudf supports a number of variable-size and nested data types, including strings, lists, and structs.

  • string: Simply a character string, but a column of strings may have a different-length string in each row.
  • list: A list of elements of any type, so a column of lists of integers has rows with a list of integers, possibly of a different length, in each row.
  • struct: In a column of structs, each row is a structure comprising one or more fields. These fields are stored in structure-of-arrays format, so that the column of structs has a nested column for each field of the structure.

As the heading implies, list and struct columns may be nested arbitrarily. One may create a column of lists of structs, where the fields of the struct may be of any type, including strings, lists and structs. Thinking about deeply nested data types can be confusing for column-based data, even with experience. Therefore it is important to carefully write algorithms, and to test and document them well.

List columns

In order to represent variable-width elements, libcudf columns contain a vector of child columns. For list columns, the parent column's type is LIST and contains no data, but its size represents the number of lists in the column, and its null mask represents the validity of each list element. The parent has two children.

  1. A non-nullable column of size_type elements that indicates the offset to the beginning of each list in a dense column of elements.
  2. A column containing the actual data and optional null mask for all elements of all the lists packed together.

With this representation, data[offsets[i]] is the first element of list i, and the size of list i is given by offsets[i+1] - offsets[i].

Note that the data may be of any type, and therefore the data column may itself be a nested column of any type. Note also that not only is each list nullable (using the null mask of the parent), but each list element may be nullable. So you may have a lists column with null row 3, and also null element 2 of row 4.

The underlying data for a lists column is always bundled into a single leaf column at the very bottom of the hierarchy (ignoring structs, which conceptually "reset" the root of the hierarchy), regardless of the level of nesting. So a List<List<List<List<int>>>> column has a single int column at the very bottom. The following is a visual representation of this.

lists_column = { {{{1, 2}, {3, 4}}, NULL}, {{{10, 20}, {30, 40}}, {{50, 60, 70}, {0}}} }
List<List<List<int>>> (2 rows):
Length : 2
Offsets : 0, 2, 4
Children :
Length : 4
Offsets : 0, 2, 2, 4, 6
Null count: 1
Children :
Length : 6
Offsets : 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 11, 12
Children :
Column of ints
1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 0

This is related to Arrow's "Variable-Size List" memory layout.

Strings columns

Strings are represented in much the same way as lists, except that the data child column is always a non-nullable column of INT8 data. The parent column's type is STRING and contains no data, but its size represents the number of strings in the column, and its null mask represents the validity of each string. To summarize, the strings column children are:

  1. A non-nullable column of size_type elements that indicates the offset to the beginning of each string in a dense column of all characters.
  2. A non-nullable column of INT8 elements of all the characters across all the strings packed together.

With this representation, characters[offsets[i]] is the first character of string i, and the size of string i is given by offsets[i+1] - offsets[i]. The following image shows an example of this compound column representation of strings.


Structs columns

A struct is a nested data type with a set of child columns each representing an individual field of a logical struct. Field names are not represented.

A structs column with N fields has N children. Each child is a column storing all the data of a single field packed column-wise, with an optional null mask. The parent column's type is STRUCT and contains no data, its size represents the number of struct rows in the column, and its null mask represents the validity of each struct element.

With this representation, child[0][10] is row 10 of the first field of the struct, child[1][42] is row 42 of the second field of the struct.

Notice that in addition to the struct column's null mask, each struct field column has its own optional null mask. A struct field's validity can vary independently from the corresponding struct row. For instance, a non-null struct row might have a null field. However, the fields of a null struct row are deemed to be null as well. For example, consider a struct column of type STRUCT<FLOAT32, INT32>. If the contents are [ {1.0, 2}, {4.0, 5}, null, {8.0, null} ], the struct column's layout is as follows. (Note that null masks should be read from right to left.)

type = STRUCT
null_mask = [1, 1, 0, 1]
null_count = 1
children = {
type = FLOAT32
data = [1.0, 4.0, X, 8.0]
null_mask = [ 1, 1, 0, 1]
null_count = 1
type = INT32
data = [2, 5, X, X]
null_mask = [1, 1, 0, 0]
null_count = 2

The last struct row (index 3) is not null, but has a null value in the INT32 field. Also, row 2 of the struct column is null, making its corresponding fields also null. Therefore, bit 2 is unset in the null masks of both struct fields.

Dictionary columns

Dictionaries provide an efficient way to represent low-cardinality data by storing a single copy of each value. A dictionary comprises a column of sorted keys and a column containing an index into the keys column for each row of the parent column. The keys column may have any libcudf data type, such as a numerical type or strings. The indices represent the corresponding positions of each element's value in the keys. The indices child column can have any unsigned integer type (UINT8, UINT16, UINT32, or UINT64).

Nested column challenges

The first challenge with nested columns is that it is effectively impossible to do any operation that modifies the length of any string or list in place. For example, consider trying to append the character ‘'a’to the end of each string. This requires dynamically resizing the characters column to allow inserting'a'` at the end of each string, and then modifying the offsets column to indicate the new size of each element. As a result, every operation that can modify the strings or lists in a column must be done out-of-place.

The second challenge is that in an out-of-place operation on a strings column, unlike with fixed- width elements, the size of the output cannot be known a priori. For example, consider scattering into a column of strings:

destination:    {"this", "is", "a", "column", "of", "strings"}
scatter_map:    {1, 3, 5}
scatter_values: {"red", "green", "blue"}

result:         {"this", "red", "a", "green", "of", "blue"}

In this example, the strings "red", "green", and "blue" will respectively be scattered into positions 1, 3, and 5 of destination. Recall from above that this operation cannot be done in place, therefore result will be generated by selectively copying strings from destination and scatter_values. Notice that result's child column of characters requires storage for 19 characters. However, there is no way to know ahead of time that result will require 19 characters. Therefore, most operations that produce a new output column of strings use a two-phase approach:

  1. Determine the number and size of each string in the result. This amounts to materializing the output offsets column.
  2. Allocate sufficient storage for all of the output characters and materialize each output string.

In scatter, the first phase consists of using the scatter_map to determine whether string i in the output will come from destination or from scatter_values and use the corresponding size(s) to materialize the offsets column and determine the size of the output. Then, in the second phase, sufficient storage is allocated for the output's characters, and then the characters are filled with the corresponding strings from either destination or scatter_values.

Nested Type Views

libcudf provides view types for nested column types as well as for the data elements within them.

cudf::strings_column_view and cudf::string_view

cudf::strings_column_view is a view of a strings column, like cudf::column_view is a view of any cudf::column. cudf::string_view is a view of a single string, and therefore cudf::string_view is the data type of a cudf::column of type STRING just like int32_t is the data type for a cudf::column of type size_type. As its name implies, this is a read-only object instance that points to device memory inside the strings column. It's lifespan is the same (or less) as the column it views.

Use the column_device_view::element method to access an individual row element. Like any other column, do not call element() on a row that is null.

if( d_strings.is_valid(row_index) ) {
string_view d_str = d_strings.element<string_view>(row_index);
An immutable, non-owning view of device data as a column of elements that is trivially copyable and u...
T element(size_type element_index) const noexcept
Returns reference to element at the specified index.
bool is_valid(size_type element_index) const noexcept
Returns whether the specified element holds a valid value (i.e., not null).

A null string is not the same as an empty string. Use the string_scalar class if you need an instance of a class object to represent a null string.

The string_view contains comparison operators <,>,==,<=,>= that can be used in many cudf functions like sort without string-specific code. The data for a string_view instance is required to be UTF-8 and all operators and methods expect this encoding. Unless documented otherwise, position and length parameters are specified in characters and not bytes. The class also includes a string_view::const_iterator which can be used to navigate through individual characters within the string.

cudf::type_dispatcher dispatches to the string_view data type when invoked on a STRING column.


The libcudf strings column only supports UTF-8 encoding for strings data. UTF-8 is a variable-length character encoding wherein each character can be 1-4 bytes. This means the length of a string is not the same as its size in bytes. For this reason, it is recommended to use the string_view class to access these characters for most operations.

The string_view.cuh header also includes some utility methods for reading and writing (to_char_utf8/from_char_utf8) individual UTF-8 characters to/from byte arrays.

cudf::lists_column_view and cudf::lists_view

cudf::lists_column_view is a view of a lists column. cudf::list_view is a view of a single list, and therefore cudf::list_view is the data type of a cudf::column of type LIST.

cudf::type_dispatcher dispatches to the list_view data type when invoked on a LIST column.

cudf::structs_column_view and cudf::struct_view

cudf::structs_column_view is a view of a structs column. cudf::struct_view is a view of a single struct, and therefore cudf::struct_view is the data type of a cudf::column of type STRUCT.

cudf::type_dispatcher dispatches to the struct_view data type when invoked on a STRUCT column.

cuIO: file reading and writing

cuIO is a component of libcudf that provides GPU-accelerated reading and writing of data file formats commonly used in data analytics, including CSV, Parquet, ORC, Avro, and JSON_Lines.

// TODO: add more detail and move to a separate file.