Machine Learning

Machine Learning Models in Python – How long does it take

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We keep hearing from people about all the computing resources needed for machine learning. Sometimes it can put people off from trying it as they will think I don’t have those kind of resources.

This is another blog post in my series on ‘How long does it take to create a machine learning model?

Check out my previous blog post that used data sets containing 72K, 210K, 660K, 2M and 10M records.

There was some surprising results in those these.

In this test, I’ll be using Python and SciKitLearn package to create models using the same algorithms. There are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, although they maybe based on the same algorithms, the actual implementation of them will be different in each environment (SQL vs Python).

With using Python for machine learning, one of the challenges we have is getting access to the data. Assuming the data lives in a Database then time is needed to extract that data to the local Python environment. Secondly, when using Python you will be using a computer with significantly less computing resources than a Database server. In this test I used my laptop (MacBook Pro). Thirdly, when extracting the data from the database, what method should be used.

I’ve addressed these below and the Oracle Database I used was the DBaaS I used in my first experiment. This is a Database hosted on Oracle Cloud.

Extracting Data to CSV File
This kind of depends on how you do this. There are hundreds of possibilities available to you, but if you are working with an Oracle Database you will probably be using SQL Developer. I used the ‘export’ option to create a CSV file for each of the data sets. The following table shows how long it took for each data set.

As you can see this is an incredibly slow way of exporting this data. Like I said, there are quicker ways of doing this.

After downloading the data sets, the next step is to see how load it takes to load these CSV files into a pandas data frame in Python. The following table show the timings in seconds.

You can see that Python is very efficient at loading these data sets into a pandas data frame in my Python environment.

Extracting Data using cx_Oracle Python package
As I’ll be using Python to create the models and the data exists in an Oracle Database (on Oracle Cloud), I can use the cx_Oracle package to download the data sets into my Python environment. After using the cx_Oracle package to download the data I then converted it into a pandas data frame.

You can see that using cx_Oracle to download the data is a very efficient way of accessing the data.  But if the data already exists in CSV files, then the previous method would be quicker to use.

I had the array fetch size set to 10,000.  I also experimented with smaller and larger numbers for the array fetch size, but 10,000 seemed to give a quickest results.

How long to create Machine Learning Models in Python
Now we get onto checking out the timings of how long it takes to create a number of machine learning models using different algorithms and using the default settings. The algorithms include Naive Bayes, Decision Tree, GLM, SVM and Neural Networks.

I had to stop including SVM in the tests as it was taking way too long to run. For example I killed the SVM model build on the 210K data set after it was running for 5 hours.

The Neural Network models created had 3 hidden layers.

In addition to creating the models, there was some minor data preparation steps performed including factorizing, normalization and one-hot-coding. This data preparation would be comparable to the automatic data preparation steps performed by Oracle, although Oracle Automatic Data Preparation does a bit of extra work.

At the point I would encourage you to look back at my previous blog posts on timings using Oracle DBaaS and ADW.  You will see that Python, in these test cases, was quicker at creating the machine learning models. But with Python the data needed to be extracted from the database and that can take time!

A separate consideration is being able to deploy the models. The time it takes to build models is perhaps not the main consideration. You need to consider ease of deployment and use of the models.


How long does it take to build a Machine Learning model using Oracle Cloud

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Everyday someone talks about the the processing power needed for Machine Learning, and the vast computing needed for these tasks. It has become evident that most of these people have never created a machine learning model. Never. But like to make up stuff and try to make themselves look like an expert, or as I and others like to call them a “fake expert”.

When you question these “fake experts” about this topic, they huff and puff about lots of things and never answer the question or try to claim it is so difficult, you simply don’t understand.

Having worked in the area of machine learning for a very very long time, I’ve never really had performance issues with creating models. Yes most of the time I’ve been able to use my laptop. Yes my laptop to build models large models. In a couple of these my laptop couldn’t cope and I moved onto a server.

But over the past few years we keep hearing about using cloud services for machine learning. If you are doing machine learning you need to computing capabilities that are available with cloud services.

So, the results below show the results of building machine learning models, using different algorithms, with different sizes of data sets.

For this test, I used a basic cloud service. Well maybe it isn’t basic, but for others they will consider it very basic with very little compute involved.

I used an Oracle Cloud DBaaS for this experiment. I selected an Oracle 18c Extreme edition cloud service. This comes with the in-database machine learning option. This comes with 1 OCPUs, 7.5G Memory and 170GB storage. This is the basic configuration.

Next I created data sets with different sizes. These were based on one particular data set, as this ensures that as the data set size increases, the same kind of data and processing required remained consistent, instead of using completely different data sets.

The data set consisted of the following number of records, 72K, 660K, 210K, 2M, 10M and 50M.

I then created machine learning models using Decisions Tree, Naive Bayes, Support Vector Machine, Generaliszd Linear Models (GLM) and Neural Networks. Yes it was a typical classification problem.

The following table below shows the length of time in seconds to build the models. All data preparations etc was done prior to this.

Note: It should be noted that Automatic Data Preparation was turned on for these algorithms. This performed additional algorithm specific data preparation for each model. That means the times given in the following tables is for some data preparation time and for building the models.


Converting the above table into minutes.


It is clear that the Neural Network model takes a lot longer to build than all the other algorithms. In this test the Neural Network model had only one hidden layer.
When we chart the build timings, leaving out Neural Networks, we get.
We can see Naive Bayes, Decision Tree, GLM and SVM algorithms have very similar model build timings, but as the data volumes increase the Decision Tree algorithm become less efficient.
Overall it doesn’t take a long time to build models. In a way it is a very trivial task!
I mentioned at the start of this post I had created a data set of 50M records. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get models build for this data set using this cloud instance. It used used so much TEMP tablespace that the file volumes on my cloud instance ran out of space!
I suppose if I wanted to go bigger with my data, I needed a bigger boat!
I haven’t included any timings for model scoring using these models. Why? the scored data is immediately returned event for large the largest data sets.


Lessor known Apache Machine Learning Languages

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Machine learning is a very popular topic in recent times, and we keep hearing about languages such as R, Python and Spark. In addition to these we have commercially available machine learning languages and tools from SAS, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Google, Amazon, etc., etc. Everyone want a slice of the machine learning market!

The Apache Foundation supports the development of new open source projects in a number of areas. One such area is machine learning. If you have read anything about machine learning you will have come across Spark, and maybe you might believe that everyone is using it. Sadly this isn’t true for lots of reasons, but it is very popular. Spark is one of the project support by the Apache Foundation.

But are there any other machine learning projects being supported under the Apache Foundation that are an alternative to Spark? The follow lists the alternatives and lessor know projects: (most of these are incubator/retired/graduated Apache projects)

Flink Flink is an open source system for expressive, declarative, fast, and efficient data analysis. Stratosphere combines the scalability and programming flexibility of distributed MapReduce-like platforms with the efficiency, out-of-core execution, and query optimization capabilities found in parallel databases. Flink was originally known as Stratosphere when it entered the Incubator.



HORN HORN is a neuron-centric programming APIs and execution framework for large-scale deep learning, built on top of Apache Hama.

Wiki Page



HiveMail Hivemall is a library for machine learning implemented as Hive UDFs/UDAFs/UDTFs

Apache Hivemall offers a variety of functionalities: regression, classification, recommendation, anomaly detection, k-nearest neighbor, and feature engineering. It also supports state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms such as Soft Confidence Weighted, Adaptive Regularization of Weight Vectors, Factorization Machines, and AdaDelta. Apache Hivemall offers a variety of functionalities: regression, classification, recommendation, anomaly detection, k-nearest neighbor, and feature engineering. It also supports state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms such as Soft Confidence Weighted, Adaptive Regularization of Weight Vectors, Factorization Machines, and AdaDelta.



MADlib Apache MADlib is an open-source library for scalable in-database analytics. It provides data-parallel implementations of mathematical, statistical and machine learning methods for structured and unstructured data. Key features include: Operate on the data locally in-database. Do not move data between multiple runtime environments unnecessarily; Utilize best of breed database engines, but separate the machine learning logic from database specific implementation details; Leverage MPP shared nothing technology, such as the Greenplum Database and Apache HAWQ (incubating), to provide parallelism and scalability.



MXNet A Flexible and Efficient Library for Deep Learning . MXNet provides optimized numerical computation for GPUs and distributed ecosystems, from the comfort of high-level environments like Python and R MXNet automates common workflows, so standard neural networks can be expressed concisely in just a few lines of code.



OpenNLP OpenNLP is a machine learning based toolkit for the processing of natural language text. OpenNLP supports the most common NLP tasks, such as tokenization, sentence segmentation, part-of-speech tagging, named entity extraction, chunking, parsing, language detection and coreference resolution.



PredictionIO PredictionIO is an open source Machine Learning Server built on top of state-of-the-art open source stack, that enables developers to manage and deploy production-ready predictive services for various kinds of machine learning tasks.



SAMOA SAMOA provides a collection of distributed streaming algorithms for the most common data mining and machine learning tasks such as classification, clustering, and regression, as well as programming abstractions to develop new algorithms that run on top of distributed stream processing engines (DSPEs). It features a pluggable architecture that allows it to run on several DSPEs such as Apache Storm, Apache S4, and Apache Samza.



SINGA SINGA is a distributed deep learning platform. An intuitive programming model based on the layer abstraction is provided, which supports a variety of popular deep learning models. SINGA architecture supports both synchronous and asynchronous training frameworks. Hybrid training frameworks can also be customized to achieve good scalability. SINGA provides different neural net partitioning schemes for training large models.



Storm Storm is a distributed, fault-tolerant, and high-performance realtime computation system that provides strong guarantees on the processing of data. Storm makes it easy to reliably process unbounded streams of data, doing for realtime processing what Hadoop did for batch processing. Storm is simple, can be used with any programming language.



SystemML SystemML provides declarative large-scale machine learning (ML) that aims at flexible specification of ML algorithms and automatic generation of hybrid runtime plans ranging from single node, in-memory computations, to distributed computations such as Apache Hadoop MapReduce and Apache Spark.



Big data ml

I will have a closer look that the following SQL based machine learning languages in a lager blog post: