Defined in tensorflow/python/ops/

See the guide: Variables > Sparse Variable Updates

Subtracts sparse updates to a variable reference.

    .html# Scalar indices
    ref[indices, ...] -= updates[...]

    .html# Vector indices (for each i)
    ref[indices[i], ...] -= updates[i, ...]

    .html# High rank indices (for each i, ..., j)
    ref[indices[i, ..., j], ...] -= updates[i, ..., j, ...]

This operation outputs ref after the update is done. This makes it easier to chain operations that need to use the reset value.

Duplicate entries are handled correctly: if multiple indices reference the same location, their (negated) contributions add.

Requires updates.shape = indices.shape + ref.shape[1:] or updates.shape = [].


  • ref: A mutable Tensor. Must be one of the following types: float32, float64, int32, uint8, int16, int8, complex64, int64, qint8, quint8, qint32, bfloat16, uint16, complex128, half, uint32, uint64. Should be from a Variable node.
  • indices: A Tensor. Must be one of the following types: int32, int64. A tensor of indices into the first dimension of ref.
  • updates: A Tensor. Must have the same type as ref. A tensor of updated values to subtract from ref.
  • use_locking: An optional bool. Defaults to False. If True, the subtraction will be protected by a lock; otherwise the behavior is undefined, but may exhibit less contention.
  • name: A name for the operation (optional).


A mutable Tensor. Has the same type as ref.