Machine Learning Lifecycle Management

November 18, 2020

E2E is one of the largest cloud service providers in India. Aside from its stellar clientele, the company is also known for its efforts to advance India’s technological playfield. One such E2E activity is AITalks. The focus of this online seminar is to nurture an Indian AI community and lend them a platform for exchanging ideas and discussing the latest global trends in the field. This article shall expound on the AITalks webinar regarding machine learning lifecycle management by Mr Ramjee Ganti.

About the Speaker
Mr Ramjee Ganti is a founder and CEO at dblue.ai, a company which helps in managing machine learning life cycles. Mr Ganti is a strong supporter of open source technologies and has been involved in building and scaling technological products with multiple startups for over a decade now. He has served as the lead engineer for organisations like JustEat and BigDecisions; former of which was later acquired by FoodPanda and the latter by NewCorp.

What Does Machine Learning Lifecycle Mean?
The speaker defines a machine learning lifecycle as “an iterative process that spans cross-functional teams which define, build, deploy, monitor, operate and improve ML systems”. Now, what does that really mean? To understand what a machine learning life cycle is, one first needs to understand what really goes into building machine learning systems.

Contrary to the common notion, ML is not just about clever algorithms and coding. In actuality, ML algorithms make up only about 15-20% of any machine learning system. A lot more effort is required to create a setup that makes these algorithms useful. This setup comprises various sub-systems and processes like Configuration, Data Collection, Serving Infrastructure, Feature Extraction, Data Validation, Monitoring, Analysis tools, Process Management tools and Resource Management. All these processes need to work together in a specific order for the ML system to function, and this explicit order is called a machine learning lifecycle.

Roles and Responsibilities Involved in Machine Learning Life cycle:-
As explained in the previous section, the machine learning life cycle involves a wide array of processes. Naturally, one needs multiple highly-trained professionals to maintain and run such a comprehensive system. Listed below are some of the individual roles that are critical for any machine learning lifecycle management and their responsibilities according to the speaker,

● Data Engineer - Data engineers are primarily responsible for data collection. They gather all the available data from various channels and departments of the organisation. As for the external data requirements, data engineers employ different APIs for the job. Once all the data is pooled together, data engineers clean this data before passing it on to data scientists for further processing and analysis.

● Data Scientist/Researcher - In any ML development lifecycle, the researchers and data scientists are the actual model-makers. They design the algorithm and write the code in frameworks like TensorFlow to create various models. Once built, the data scientists train these models using the available database and test the outcomes generated. If satisfied, they move along the tested models to ML engineers for deployment.

● ML Engineers and Developers - Responsible for the production and deployment of models, the ML engineers are the last filter of this process. Deployment activities can sometimes be as simple as making the models available at a given location. At times, however, a lot of engineering work needs to be put in before a model can be deployed.

Why Does It Need to Be Properly Managed?
A general machine learning development lifecycle consists of the following steps:
● Defining a task
● Collecting data
● Model Exploration
● Model Refinement
● Testing and Evaluation
● Deployment and Integration
● Monitoring and Maintenance

The life cycle of a machine learning system is a highly iterative process, meaning that the steps mentioned above are repeated over and over again in a cyclic manner. Not only does it demand exercising meticulousness while performing each step of a machine learning lifecycle, but they also need to be reiterated constantly so that the system stays relevant and useful.

Conclusion

Managing the lifecycle of a machine learning system is difficult, even more so than building one. Mr Ganti puts it well, "It is hard, accept it”.Once a machine learning model is deployed, its complexity increases considerably. And if not calibrated and attended to carefully, the system can lead to highly undesirable outcomes. Even those with experience in software development cycle management might find this task to be quite challenging, especially in terms of version control, automated tests and deployment. Yet, following a software development approach is the best bet as of now. The important thing to remember is that with a machine learning system, supervision of version data, models, and data is a must. Last but not least, one should think of ML systems as a platform for the entire organisation to rely upon rather than an activity to be completed separately by different departments. As Mr Ganti says about dealing with ML lifecycles, "Think platforms".

Latest Blogs
This is a decorative image for: A Complete Guide To Customer Acquisition For Startups
October 18, 2022

A Complete Guide To Customer Acquisition For Startups

Any business is enlivened by its customers. Therefore, a strategy to constantly bring in new clients is an ongoing requirement. In this regard, having a proper customer acquisition strategy can be of great importance.

So, if you are just starting your business, or planning to expand it, read on to learn more about this concept.

The problem with customer acquisition

As an organization, when working in a diverse and competitive market like India, you need to have a well-defined customer acquisition strategy to attain success. However, this is where most startups struggle. Now, you may have a great product or service, but if you are not in the right place targeting the right demographic, you are not likely to get the results you want.

To resolve this, typically, companies invest, but if that is not channelized properly, it will be futile.

So, the best way out of this dilemma is to have a clear customer acquisition strategy in place.

How can you create the ideal customer acquisition strategy for your business?

  • Define what your goals are

You need to define your goals so that you can meet the revenue expectations you have for the current fiscal year. You need to find a value for the metrics –

  • MRR – Monthly recurring revenue, which tells you all the income that can be generated from all your income channels.
  • CLV – Customer lifetime value tells you how much a customer is willing to spend on your business during your mutual relationship duration.  
  • CAC – Customer acquisition costs, which tells how much your organization needs to spend to acquire customers constantly.
  • Churn rate – It tells you the rate at which customers stop doing business.

All these metrics tell you how well you will be able to grow your business and revenue.

  • Identify your ideal customers

You need to understand who your current customers are and who your target customers are. Once you are aware of your customer base, you can focus your energies in that direction and get the maximum sale of your products or services. You can also understand what your customers require through various analytics and markers and address them to leverage your products/services towards them.

  • Choose your channels for customer acquisition

How will you acquire customers who will eventually tell at what scale and at what rate you need to expand your business? You could market and sell your products on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, or invest in paid marketing like Google Ads. You need to develop a unique strategy for each of these channels. 

  • Communicate with your customers

If you know exactly what your customers have in mind, then you will be able to develop your customer strategy with a clear perspective in mind. You can do it through surveys or customer opinion forms, email contact forms, blog posts and social media posts. After that, you just need to measure the analytics, clearly understand the insights, and improve your strategy accordingly.

Combining these strategies with your long-term business plan will bring results. However, there will be challenges on the way, where you need to adapt as per the requirements to make the most of it. At the same time, introducing new technologies like AI and ML can also solve such issues easily. To learn more about the use of AI and ML and how they are transforming businesses, keep referring to the blog section of E2E Networks.

Reference Links

https://www.helpscout.com/customer-acquisition/

https://www.cloudways.com/blog/customer-acquisition-strategy-for-startups/

https://blog.hubspot.com/service/customer-acquisition

This is a decorative image for: Constructing 3D objects through Deep Learning
October 18, 2022

Image-based 3D Object Reconstruction State-of-the-Art and trends in the Deep Learning Era

3D reconstruction is one of the most complex issues of deep learning systems. There have been multiple types of research in this field, and almost everything has been tried on it — computer vision, computer graphics and machine learning, but to no avail. However, that has resulted in CNN or convolutional neural networks foraying into this field, which has yielded some success.

The Main Objective of the 3D Object Reconstruction

Developing this deep learning technology aims to infer the shape of 3D objects from 2D images. So, to conduct the experiment, you need the following:

  • Highly calibrated cameras that take a photograph of the image from various angles.
  • Large training datasets can predict the geometry of the object whose 3D image reconstruction needs to be done. These datasets can be collected from a database of images, or they can be collected and sampled from a video.

By using the apparatus and datasets, you will be able to proceed with the 3D reconstruction from 2D datasets.

State-of-the-art Technology Used by the Datasets for the Reconstruction of 3D Objects

The technology used for this purpose needs to stick to the following parameters:

  • Input

Training with the help of one or multiple RGB images, where the segmentation of the 3D ground truth needs to be done. It could be one image, multiple images or even a video stream.

The testing will also be done on the same parameters, which will also help to create a uniform, cluttered background, or both.

  • Output

The volumetric output will be done in both high and low resolution, and the surface output will be generated through parameterisation, template deformation and point cloud. Moreover, the direct and intermediate outputs will be calculated this way.

  • Network architecture used

The architecture used in training is 3D-VAE-GAN, which has an encoder and a decoder, with TL-Net and conditional GAN. At the same time, the testing architecture is 3D-VAE, which has an encoder and a decoder.

  • Training used

The degree of supervision used in 2D vs 3D supervision, weak supervision along with loss functions have to be included in this system. The training procedure is adversarial training with joint 2D and 3D embeddings. Also, the network architecture is extremely important for the speed and processing quality of the output images.

  • Practical applications and use cases

Volumetric representations and surface representations can do the reconstruction. Powerful computer systems need to be used for reconstruction.

Given below are some of the places where 3D Object Reconstruction Deep Learning Systems are used:

  • 3D reconstruction technology can be used in the Police Department for drawing the faces of criminals whose images have been procured from a crime site where their faces are not completely revealed.
  • It can be used for re-modelling ruins at ancient architectural sites. The rubble or the debris stubs of structures can be used to recreate the entire building structure and get an idea of how it looked in the past.
  • They can be used in plastic surgery where the organs, face, limbs or any other portion of the body has been damaged and needs to be rebuilt.
  • It can be used in airport security, where concealed shapes can be used for guessing whether a person is armed or is carrying explosives or not.
  • It can also help in completing DNA sequences.

So, if you are planning to implement this technology, then you can rent the required infrastructure from E2E Networks and avoid investing in it. And if you plan to learn more about such topics, then keep a tab on the blog section of the website

Reference Links

https://tongtianta.site/paper/68922

https://github.com/natowi/3D-Reconstruction-with-Deep-Learning-Methods

This is a decorative image for: Comprehensive Guide to Deep Q-Learning for Data Science Enthusiasts
October 18, 2022

A Comprehensive Guide To Deep Q-Learning For Data Science Enthusiasts

For all data science enthusiasts who would love to dig deep, we have composed a write-up about Q-Learning specifically for you all. Deep Q-Learning and Reinforcement learning (RL) are extremely popular these days. These two data science methodologies use Python libraries like TensorFlow 2 and openAI’s Gym environment.

So, read on to know more.

What is Deep Q-Learning?

Deep Q-Learning utilizes the principles of Q-learning, but instead of using the Q-table, it uses the neural network. The algorithm of deep Q-Learning uses the states as input and the optimal Q-value of every action possible as the output. The agent gathers and stores all the previous experiences in the memory of the trained tuple in the following order:

State> Next state> Action> Reward

The neural network training stability increases using a random batch of previous data by using the experience replay. Experience replay also means the previous experiences stocking, and the target network uses it for training and calculation of the Q-network and the predicted Q-Value. This neural network uses openAI Gym, which is provided by taxi-v3 environments.

Now, any understanding of Deep Q-Learning   is incomplete without talking about Reinforcement Learning.

What is Reinforcement Learning?

Reinforcement is a subsection of ML. This part of ML is related to the action in which an environmental agent participates in a reward-based system and uses Reinforcement Learning to maximize the rewards. Reinforcement Learning is a different technique from unsupervised learning or supervised learning because it does not require a supervised input/output pair. The number of corrections is also less, so it is a highly efficient technique.

Now, the understanding of reinforcement learning is incomplete without knowing about Markov Decision Process (MDP). MDP is involved with each state that has been presented in the results of the environment, derived from the state previously there. The information which composes both states is gathered and transferred to the decision process. The task of the chosen agent is to maximize the awards. The MDP optimizes the actions and helps construct the optimal policy.

For developing the MDP, you need to follow the Q-Learning Algorithm, which is an extremely important part of data science and machine learning.

What is Q-Learning Algorithm?

The process of Q-Learning is important for understanding the data from scratch. It involves defining the parameters, choosing the actions from the current state and also choosing the actions from the previous state and then developing a Q-table for maximizing the results or output rewards.

The 4 steps that are involved in Q-Learning:

  1. Initializing parameters – The RL (reinforcement learning) model learns the set of actions that the agent requires in the state, environment and time.
  2. Identifying current state – The model stores the prior records for optimal action definition for maximizing the results. For acting in the present state, the state needs to be identified and perform an action combination for it.
  3. Choosing the optimal action set and gaining the relevant experience – A Q-table is generated from the data with a set of specific states and actions, and the weight of this data is calculated for updating the Q-Table to the following step.
  4. Updating Q-table rewards and next state determination – After the relevant experience is gained and agents start getting environmental records. The reward amplitude helps to present the subsequent step.  

In case the Q-table size is huge, then the generation of the model is a time-consuming process. This situation requires Deep Q-learning.

Hopefully, this write-up has provided an outline of Deep Q-Learning and its related concepts. If you wish to learn more about such topics, then keep a tab on the blog section of the E2E Networks website.

Reference Links

https://analyticsindiamag.com/comprehensive-guide-to-deep-q-learning-for-data-science-enthusiasts/

https://medium.com/@jereminuerofficial/a-comprehensive-guide-to-deep-q-learning-8aeed632f52f

Build on the most powerful infrastructure cloud

A vector illustration of a tech city using latest cloud technologies & infrastructure