oracle data mining

Embedding Transformation Data Pipeline into ML Model using Oracle Data Mining

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I’ve written several blog posts about how to use the DBMS_DATA_MINING.TRANSFORM function to create various data transformations and how to apply these to your data. All of these steps can be simple enough to following and re-run in a lab environment. But the real value with data science and machine learning comes when you deploy the models into production and have the ML models scoring data as it is being produced, and your applications acting upon these predictions immediately, and not some hours or days later when the data finally arrives in the lab environment.

It would be useful to be able to bundle all the transformations into the same process the create the model. The transformations and model become one, together.  If this is possible, then that greatly simplifies how the ML model can be deployed into production. It then becomes a simple function or REST call. We need to keep this simple (KISS).

Using the examples from my previous blog posts performing various data transformations, the following example shows how you can bundle these up into one defined set of transformations and then embed these transformations as part of the ML model. To do this we need to define a list of transformations. We can do this using:

xform_list            IN TRANSFORM_LIST DEFAULT NULL

Where TRANSFORM_LIST has the following structure:

TRANFORM_REC IS RECORD (
     attribute_name       VARCHAR2(4000),
     attribute_subname    VARCHAR2(4000),
     expression           EXPRESSION_REC,
     reverse_expression   EXPRESSION_REC,
     attribute_spec       VARCHAR2(4000));

You can use the DBMS_DATA_MINING.SET_TRANSFORM function to defined the transformations. The following example illustrates the transformation of converting the BOOKKEEPING_APPLICATION attribute from a number data type to a character data type.

DECLARE
   transform_stack   dbms_data_mining_transform.TRANSFORM_LIST;
BEGIN
   dbms_data_mining_transform.SET_TRANSFORM(transform_stack,
                                  'BOOKKEEPING_APPLICATION',
                                  NULL,
                                  'to_char(BOOKKEEPING_APPLICATION)',
                                  'to_number(BOOKKEEPING_APPLICATION)',
                                  NULL);
END;

Alternatively you can use the SET_EXPRESSION function and then create the transformation using it.

You can Stack the transforms together. Using the above example you could express a number of transformations and have these stored in the TRANSFORM_STACK variable. You can then pass this variable into your CREATE_MODEL procedure and have these transformations embedded in your ML model.

 

DECLARE
   transform_stack   dbms_data_mining_transform.TRANSFORM_LIST;
BEGIN
   -- Define the transformation list
   dbms_data_mining_transform.SET_TRANSFORM(transform_stack,
                                  'BOOKKEEPING_APPLICATION',
                                  NULL,
                                  'to_char(BOOKKEEPING_APPLICATION)',
                                  'to_number(BOOKKEEPING_APPLICATION)',
                                  NULL);

   -- Create the data mining model
   DBMS_DATA_MINING.CREATE_MODEL(
      model_name           => 'DEMO_TRANSFORM_MODEL',
      mining_function      => dbms_data_mining.classification,
      data_table_name      => 'MINING_DATA_BUILD_V',
      case_id_column_name  => 'cust_id',
      target_column_name   => 'affinity_card',
      settings_table_name  => 'demo_class_dt_settings',
      xform_list           => transform_stack);
END;

My previous blog posts showed how to create various types of transformations. These transformations were then used to create a view of the data set that included these transformations. To embed these transformations in the ML Model we need to use the  STACK function. The following examples illustrate the stacking of the transformations created in the previous blog posts. These transformations are added (or stacked) to a transformation list and then added to the CREATE_MODEL function, embedding these transformations in the model.

 

DECLARE
   transform_stack   dbms_data_mining_transform.TRANSFORM_LIST;
BEGIN
   -- Stack the missing numeric transformations
   dbms_data_mining_transform.STACK_MISS_NUM (
          miss_table_name   => 'TRANSFORM_MISSING_NUMERIC',
          xform_list        => transform_stack);

   -- Stack the missing categorical transformations
   dbms_data_mining_transform.STACK_MISS_CAT (
          miss_table_name   => 'TRANSFORM_MISSING_CATEGORICAL',
          xform_list        => transform_stack);

   -- Stack the outlier treatment for AGE
   dbms_data_mining_transform.STACK_CLIP (
          clip_table_name   => 'TRANSFORM_OUTLIER',
          xform_list        => transform_stack);

   -- Stack the normalization transformation
   dbms_data_mining_transform.STACK_NORM_LIN (
          norm_table_name   => 'MINING_DATA_NORMALIZE',
          xform_list        => transform_stack);

   -- Create the data mining model
   DBMS_DATA_MINING.CREATE_MODEL(
      model_name           => 'DEMO_STACKED_MODEL',
      mining_function      => dbms_data_mining.classification,
      data_table_name      => 'MINING_DATA_BUILD_V',
      case_id_column_name => 'cust_id',
      target_column_name   => 'affinity_card',
      settings_table_name => 'demo_class_dt_settings',
      xform_list           => transform_stack);
END;

To view the embedded transformations in your data mining model you can use the GET_MODEL_TRANSFORMATIONS function.

SELECT TO_CHAR(expression)
FROM TABLE (dbms_data_mining.GET_MODEL_TRANSFORMATIONS('DEMO_STACKED_MODEL'));

 

TO_CHAR(EXPRESSION)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(CASE  WHEN (NVL("AGE",38.892)<18) THEN 18 WHEN (NVL("AGE",38.892)>70) THEN 70 E
LSE NVL("AGE",38.892) END -18)/52

NVL("BOOKKEEPING_APPLICATION",.880667)
NVL("BULK_PACK_DISKETTES",.628)
NVL("FLAT_PANEL_MONITOR",.582)
NVL("HOME_THEATER_PACKAGE",.575333)
NVL("OS_DOC_SET_KANJI",.002)
NVL("PRINTER_SUPPLIES",1)
(CASE  WHEN (NVL("YRS_RESIDENCE",4.08867)<1) THEN 1 WHEN (NVL("YRS_RESIDENCE",4.
08867)>8) THEN 8 ELSE NVL("YRS_RESIDENCE",4.08867) END -1)/7

NVL("Y_BOX_GAMES",.286667)
NVL("COUNTRY_NAME",'United States of America')
NVL("CUST_GENDER",'M')
NVL("CUST_INCOME_LEVEL",'J: 190,000 - 249,999')
NVL("CUST_MARITAL_STATUS",'Married')
NVL("EDUCATION",'HS-grad')
NVL("HOUSEHOLD_SIZE",'3')
NVL("OCCUPATION",'Exec.')
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Transforming Outliers in Oracle Data Mining

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In previous posts I’ve shown how to use the DBMS_DATA_MINING.TRANSFORM function to transform data is various ways including, normalization and missing data. In this post I’ll build upon these to show how to outliers can be handled.

The following example will show you how you can transform data to identify outliers and transform them. In the example, Winsorsizing transformation is performed where the outlier values are replaced by the nearest value that is not an outlier.

The transformation process takes place in three stages. For the first stage a table is created to contain the outlier transformation data. The second stage calculates the outlier transformation data and store these in the table created in stage 1. One of the parameters to the outlier procedure requires you to list the attributes you do not the transformation procedure applied to (this is instead of listing the attributes you do want it applied to).  The third stage is to create a view (MINING_DATA_V_2) that contains the data set with the outlier transformation rules applied. The input data set to this stage can be the output from a previous transformation process (e.g. DATA_MINING_V).

BEGIN
   -- Clean-up : Drop the previously created tables
   BEGIN
      execute immediate 'drop table TRANSFORM_OUTLIER';
   EXCEPTION
      WHEN others THEN
         null;
   END;

   -- Stage 1 : Create the table for the transformations
   -- Perform outlier treatment for: AGE and YRS_RESIDENCE
   --
   DBMS_DATA_MINING_TRANSFORM.CREATE_CLIP (
      clip_table_name => 'TRANSFORM_OUTLIER');

   -- Stage 2 : Transform the categorical attributes
   --   Exclude the number attributes you do not want transformed
   DBMS_DATA_MINING_TRANSFORM.INSERT_CLIP_WINSOR_TAIL (
      clip_table_name => 'TRANSFORM_OUTLIER',
      data_table_name => 'MINING_DATA_V',
      tail_frac       => 0.025,
      exclude_list    => DBMS_DATA_MINING_TRANSFORM.COLUMN_LIST (
                          'affinity_card',
                          'bookkeeping_application',
                          'bulk_pack_diskettes',
                          'cust_id',
                          'flat_panel_monitor',
                          'home_theater_package',
                          'os_doc_set_kanji',
                          'printer_supplies',
                          'y_box_games'));

   -- Stage 3 : Create the view with the transformed data
   DBMS_DATA_MINING_TRANSFORM.XFORM_CLIP(
      clip_table_name => 'TRANSFORM_OUTLIER',
      data_table_name => 'MINING_DATA_V',
      xform_view_name => 'MINING_DATA_V_2');
END;

The view MINING_DATA_V_2 will now contain the data from the original data set transformed to process missing data for numeric and categorical data (from previous blog post), and also has outlier treatment for the AGE attribute.

 

 

Transforming Missing Data using Oracle Data Mining

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In a previous post I showed how you can normalize data using the in-database machine learning feature using the DBMS_DATA_MINING.TRANSFORM function.  This same function can be used to perform many more data transformations with standardized routines. When it comes to missing data, where you have some case records where the value for an attribute is missing you have a number of options open to you. The first is to evaluate the degree of missing values for the attribute for the data set as a whole. If it is very high, you may want to remove that attribute from the data set. But in scenarios when you have a small number or percentage of missing values you will want to find an appropriate or an approximate value. Such calculations can involve the use of calculating the mean or mode.

To build this up using DBMS_DATA_MINING.TRANSFORM function, we need to follow a simple three stage process. The first stage creates a table that will contain the details of the transformations. The second stage defines and runs the transformation function to calculate the replacement values and finally, the third stage, to create the necessary records in the table created in the previous stage. These final two stages need to be followed for both numerical and categorical attributes. For the final stage you can create a new view that contains the data from the original table and has the missing data rules generated in the second stage applied to it. The following example illustrates these two stages for numerical and categorical attributes in the MINING_DATA_BUILD_V data set.

-- Transform missing data for numeric attributes
-- Stage 1 : Clean up, if previous run
--    transformed missing data for numeric and categorical
--    attributes.
BEGIN
   --
   -- Clean-up : Drop the previously created tables
   --
   BEGIN
      execute immediate 'drop table TRANSFORM_MISSING_NUMERIC';
   EXCEPTION
      WHEN others THEN
         null;
   END;

   BEGIN
      execute immediate 'drop table TRANSFORM_MISSING_CATEGORICAL';
   EXCEPTION
      WHEN others THEN
         null;
   END;

Now for stage 2 to define the functions to calculate the missing values for Numerical and Categorical variables.

-- Stage 2 : Perform the transformations
--    Exclude any attributes you don't want transformed
--      e.g. the case id and the target attribute

   --
   -- Transform the numeric attributes
   --
   dbms_data_mining_transform.CREATE_MISS_NUM (
      miss_table_name => 'TRANSFORM_MISSING_NUMERIC');

   dbms_data_mining_transform.INSERT_MISS_NUM_MEAN (
    miss_table_name => 'TRANSFORM_MISSING_NUMERIC',
    data_table_name => 'MINING_DATA_BUILD_V',
    exclude_list    => DBMS_DATA_MINING_TRANSFORM.COLUMN_LIST (
                       'affinity_card',
                       'cust_id'));

   --
   -- Transform the categorical attributes
   --
   dbms_data_mining_transform.CREATE_MISS_CAT (
      miss_table_name => 'TRANSFORM_MISSING_CATEGORICAL');

   dbms_data_mining_transform.INSERT_MISS_CAT_MODE (
      miss_table_name => 'TRANSFORM_MISSING_CATEGORICAL',
      data_table_name => 'MINING_DATA_BUILD_V',
      exclude_list    => DBMS_DATA_MINING_TRANSFORM.COLUMN_LIST (
                         'affinity_card',
                         'cust_id'));
END;

When the above code completes the two transformation tables, TRANSFORM_MISSING_NUMERIC and TRANSFORM_MISSING_CATEGORICAL, will exist in your schema.

Querying these two tables shows the table attributes along with the value to be used to relate the missing value. For example the following illustrates the missing data transformations for the categorical data.

SELECT col, 
       val 
FROM transform_missing_categorical;

For the sample data set used in these examples we get.

COL                       VAL
------------------------- -------------------------
CUST_GENDER               M
CUST_MARITAL_STATUS       Married
COUNTRY_NAME              United States of America
CUST_INCOME_LEVEL         J: 190,000 - 249,999
EDUCATION                 HS-grad
OCCUPATION                Exec.
HOUSEHOLD_SIZE            3

For stage three you will need to create a new view (MINING_DATA_V). This combines the data from original table and the missing data rules generated in the second stage applied to it. This is built in stages with an initial view (MINING_DATA_MISS_V) created that merges the data source and the transformations for the missing numeric attributes. This view (MINING_DATA_MISS_V) will then have the transformations for the missing categorical attributes applied to create the a new view called MINING_DATA_V that contains all the missing data transformations.

BEGIN
   -- xform input data to replace missing values
   -- The data source is MINING_DATA_BUILD_V
   -- The output is MINING_DATA_MISS_V

   DBMS_DATA_MINING_TRANSFORM.XFORM_MISS_NUM(
      miss_table_name => 'TRANSFORM_MISSING_NUMERIC',
      data_table_name => 'MINING_DATA_BUILD_V',
      xform_view_name => 'MINING_DATA_MISS_V');

   -- xform input data to replace missing values
   -- The data source is MINING_DATA_MISS_V
   -- The output is MINING_DATA_V
   DBMS_DATA_MINING_TRANSFORM.XFORM_MISS_CAT(
      miss_table_name => 'TRANSFORM_MISSING_CATEGORICAL',
      data_table_name => 'MINING_DATA_MISS_V',
      xform_view_name => 'MINING_DATA_V');
END;

You can now query the MINING_DATA_V view and see that the data displayed will not contain any null values for any of the attributes.

 

Data Normalization in Oracle Data Mining

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Normalization is the process of scaling continuous values down to a specific range, often between zero and one. Normalization transforms each numerical value by subtracting a number, called the shift, and dividing the result by another number called the scale. The normalization techniques include:

  • Min-Max Normalization : There is where the normalization is based on the using the minimum value for the shift and the (maximum-minimum) for the scale.
  • Scale Normalization : This is where the normalization is based on zero being used for the shift and the value calculated using max[abs(max), abs(min)] being used for the scale
  • Z-Score Normalization : This is where the normalization is based on using the mean value for the shift and the standard deviation for the scale.

When using Automatic Data Processing the normalization functions are used. But sometimes you may want to process the data is a more explicit manner. To do so you can use the various normalization function. To use these there is a three stage process. The first stage involves the creation of a table that will contain the normalization transformation data. The second stage applies the normalization procedures to your data source, defines the normalization required and inserts the required transformation data  into the table create during the first stage. The third stage involves the defining of a view that applies the normalization transformations to your data source and displays the output via a database view. The following example illustrates how you can normalize the AGE and YRS_RESIDENCE attributes. The input data source will be the view that was created as the output of the previous transformation (MINING_DATA_V_2). This is passed on the original MINING_DATA_BUILD_V data set. The final output from this transformation step and all the other data transformation steps is MINING_DATA_READY_V.

BEGIN
   -- Clean-up : Drop the previously created tables
   BEGIN
      execute immediate 'drop table TRANSFORM_NORMALIZE';
   EXCEPTION
      WHEN others THEN
         null;
   END;

   -- Stage 1 : Create the table for the transformations
   -- Perform normalization for: AGE and YRS_RESIDENCE
   dbms_data_mining_transform.CREATE_NORM_LIN (
      norm_table_name => 'MINING_DATA_NORMALIZE');       

   -- Step 2 : Insert the normalization data into the table
   dbms_data_mining_transform.INSERT_NORM_LIN_MINMAX (
      norm_table_name => 'MINING_DATA_NORMALIZE',
      data_table_name => 'MINING_DATA_V_2',
      exclude_list    => DBMS_DATA_MINING_TRANSFORM.COLUMN_LIST (
                         'affinity_card',
                         'bookkeeping_application',
                         'bulk_pack_diskettes',
                         'cust_id',
                         'flat_panel_monitor',
                         'home_theater_package',
                         'os_doc_set_kanji',
                         'printer_supplies',
                         'y_box_games'));

   -- Stage 3 : Create the view with the transformed data
   DBMS_DATA_MINING_TRANSFORM.XFORM_NORM_LIN (
      norm_table_name => 'MINING_DATA_NORMALIZE',
      data_table_name => 'MINING_DATA_V_2',
      xform_view_name => 'MINING_DATA_READY_V');

END;
/

The above example performs normalization based on the Minimum-Maximum values of the variables/columns. The other normalization functions are:

INSERT_NORM_LIN_SCALE Inserts linear scale normalization definitions in a transformation definition table.
INSERT_NORM_LIN_ZSCORE Inserts linear zscore normalization definitions in a transformation definition table.

 

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.

ml_on_dbaas_1

Converting the above table into minutes.

ml_on_dbaas_2

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.
ml_on_dbaas_3 
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.

 

Renaming & Commenting Oracle Data Mining Models

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As your company evolves with their data mining projects, the number of models produced and in use in production will increase dramatically.

Care needs to be taken when it comes to managing these. This includes using meaningful names, adding descriptions of what the model is about or for, and being able to track their usage, etc.

I will look at tracking the usage of the models in another blog post, but the following gives examples of how to rename Oracle Data Mining models and how to add comments or descriptions to these models. This is particularly useful because our data analytics teams have a constant turn over or it has been many months since you last worked on a model and you want a quick idea of what purpose of the model was for.

If you have been using the Oracle Data Mining tool (part of SQL Developer) will will see your model being created with some sort of sequencing numbers. For example for a Support Vector Machine (SVM) model you might see it labelled for classification:

CLAS_SVM_5_22

While you are working on this project you will know and understand what it was about and why it is being used. But afterward you may forget as you will be dealing with many hundreds of models. Yes you could check your documentation for the purpose of this model but that can take some time.

What if you could run a SQL query to find out?

But first we need to rename the model.

DBMS_DATA_MINING.RENAME_MODEL('CLAS_SVM_5_22', 'HIGH_VALUE_CHURN_CLAS_SVM');

Next we will want to add a longer description of what the model is about. We can do this by adding a comment to the model.

COMMENT ON MINING MODEL high_value_churn_clas_svm IS
'Classification Model to Predict High Value Customers most likely to Churn';

We can now see these updated details when we query the Oracle Data Mining models in a user schema.

SELECT model_name, mining_function, algorithm, comments 
FROM user_mining_models;

These are two very useful commands.

Evaluating Cluster Dispersion in Oracle Data Mining

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When working with the Clustering algorithms, and particularly k-Means, in the Oracle Data Miner tool there is no way of seeing how compact or dispersed the data is within a cluster.

There are a number of measures typically used in various tools and algorithms, but with Oracle Data Miner we are not presented with any of this information.

But if we flip from using the Oracle Data Miner tool to using SQL we can get to see some more details of the clusters produced by the k-Means algorithm along with some additional and useful information.

As I said there are a number of different measures used to evaluate clusters. The one that Oracle uses is called Dispersion. Now there are a few different definitions of what this could be and I haven’t been able to locate what is Oracle’s own definition of it in any of the documentation.

We can use the Dispersion value as a measure of how compact or how spread out the data is within a cluster. The Dispersion value is a number greater than 0. The lower the value of the more compact the cluster is i.e. the data points are close the the centroid of the cluster. The larger the value the more disperse or spread out the data points are.

The DBMS_DATA_MINING PL/SQL package comes with a function called GET_MODEL_DETAILS_KM. This function returns a record of the form DM_CLUSTERS.

(id                   NUMBER,
 cluster_id           VARCHAR2(4000),
 record_count         NUMBER,
 parent               NUMBER,
 tree_level           NUMBER,
 dispersion           NUMBER,
 split_predicate      DM_PREDICATES,
 child                DM_CHILDREN,
 centroid             DM_CENTROIDS,
 histogram            DM_HISTOGRAMS,
 rule                 DM_RULE)

We can not use the following query to get the Dispersion value for each of the clusters from an ODM cluster model.

SELECT cluster_id,
       record_count,
       parent,
       tree_level,
       dispersion
FROM  table(dbms_data_mining.get_model_details_km('CLUS_KM_3_2'));

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