Python

Preparing images for #DeepLearning by removing background

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There are a number of methods available for preparing images for input to a variety of purposes. For example, for input to deep learning, other image processing models/applications/systems, etc. But sometimes you just need a quick tool to perform a certain task. An example of this is I regularly have to edit images to extract just a certain part of it, or to filter out all the background colors and/or objects etc. There are a a variety of tools available to help you with this kind of task. For me, I’m a Mac user, so I use the instant alpha feature available in some of the Mac products. But what if you are not a Mac user, what can you use.

I’ve recently come across a very useful Python library that takes all or most of the hard work out of doing such tasks, and has proved to be extremely useful for some demos and projects I’ve been working on. The Python library I’m using is remgb (Remove Background). It isn’t perfect, but it does a pretty good job and only in a small number of modified images, did I need to do some additional processing.

Let’s get started with setting things up to use remgb. I did encounter some minor issues installing it, and I’ve give the workarounds below, just in case you encounter the same.

pip3 install remgb

This will install lots of required libraries and will check for compatibility with what you have installed. The first time I ran the install it generated some errors. It also suggested I update my version of pip, which I did, then uninstalled the remgb library and installed again. No errors this time.

When I ran the code below, I got some errors about accessing a document on google drive or it had reached the maximum number of views/downloads. The file it is trying to access is an onix model. If you click on the link, you can download the file. Create a directory called .u2net (in your home directory) and put the onix file into it. Make sure the directory is readable. After doing that everything runs smoothly for me.

The code I’ve given below is typical of what I’ve been doing on some projects. I have a folder with lots of images where I want to remove the background and only keep the key foreground object. Then save the modified images to another directory. It is these image that can be used in products like Amazon Rekognition, Oracle AI Services, and lots of other similar offerings.

from rembg import remove
from PIL import Image
import os
from colorama import Fore, Back, Style

sourceDir = '/Users/brendan.tierney/Dropbox/4-Datasets/F1-Drivers/'
destDir = '/Users/brendan.tierney/Dropbox/4-Datasets/F1-Drivers-NewImages/'

print('Searching = ', sourceDir)

files = os.listdir(sourceDir)
for file in files:
    try:
        inputFile = sourceDir + file
        outputFile = destDir + file

        with open(inputFile, 'rb') as i:
            print(Fore.BLACK + '..reading file : ', file)
            input = i.read()
            print(Fore.CYAN + '...removing background...')
            output = remove(input)

        try:        
            with open(outputFile, 'wb') as o:
                print(Fore.BLUE + '.....writing file : ', outputFile)  
                o.write(output)
        except:
            print(Fore.RED + 'Error writing file :', outputFile)

except:
    print(Fore.RED + 'Error processing file :', file)

print(Fore.BLACK + '---')
print(Fore.BLACK + 'Finished processing all files')
print(Fore.BLACK + '---')

For this demonstration I’ve used images of the F1 drivers for 2022. I had collected five images of each driver with different backgrounds including, crowds, pit-lane, giving media interviews, indoor and outdoor images.

Generally the results were very good. Here are some results with the before and after.

As you can see from these image there are some where a shadow remains and the library wasn’t able to remove it. The following images gives some additional examples of this. The first is with Bottas and his car, where the car wasn’t removed. The second driver is Vettel where the library captures his long hair and keeps it in the filtered image.

CAO Points 2022 – Grade inflation, deflation or in-line

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Last week I wrote a blog post analysing the Leaving Cert results over the past 3-8 years. Part of that post also looked at the claim from the Dept of Education saying the results in 2022 would be “in-line on aggregate” with the results from 2021. The outcome of the analysis was grade deflation was very evident in many subjects, but when analysed and profiled at a very high level, they did look similar.

I didn’t go into how that might impact on the CAO (Central Applications Office) Points. If there was deflation in some of the core and most popular subjects, then you might conclude there could be some changes in the profile of CAO Points being awarded, and that in turn would have a small change on the CAO Points needed for a lot of University courses. But not all of them, as we saw last week, the increased number of students who get grades in the H4-H7 range. This could mean a small decrease in points for courses in the 520+ range, and a small increase in points needed in the 300-500-ish range.

The CAO have published the number of students of each 10 point range. I’ve compared the 2022 data, with each year going back to 2015. The following table is a high level summary of the results in 50 point ranges.

An initial look at these numbers and percentages might look like points are similar to last year and even 2020. But for 2015-2019 the similarity is closer. Again looking back at the previous blog post, we can see the results profiles for 20215-2019 are broadly similar and does indicate some normalisation might have been happening each year. The following chart illustrate the percentage of students who achieved points in each range.

From the above we can see the profile is similar across 2015-2019, although there does seem to be a flattening of the curve between 2015-2016!

Let’s now have a look at 2019 (the last pre-coivd year), 2021 and 2022. This will allow use to compare the “inflated” years to the last “normal” year.

This chart clearly shows a shifting of the profile to the left for the red line which represents 2022. This also supports my blog post last week, and that the Dept of Education has started the process of deflating marks.

Based on this shifting/deflating of marks, we could see the grade/CAO Points profiles reverting back to almost 2019 profile by 2025. For students sitting the Leaving Cert in 2023, there will be another shift to the left, and with another similar shift in 2024. In 2024, the students will be the last group to sit the Leaving Cert who were badly affected during the Covid years. Many of them lost large chunks on school and many didn’t sit the Junior Cert. I’d predict 2025 will see the first time the marks/points profiles will match pre-covid years.

For this analysis I’ve used a variety of tools including Excel, Python and Oracle Analytics.

The Dataset used can be found under Dataset menu, and listed as ‘CAO Points Profiles 2015-2022’. Also, check out the Leaving Certificate 2015-2022 dataset.

Leaving Cert 2022 Results – Inflation, deflation or in-line!

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The Leaving Certificate 2022 results are out. Up and down the country there are people who are delighted with their results, while others are disappointed, and lots of other emotions.

The Leaving Certificate is the terminal examination for secondary education in Ireland, with most students being examined in seven subjects, with their best six grades counting towards their “points”, which in turn determines what university course they might get. Check out this link for learn more about the Leaving Certificate.

The Dept of Education has been saying, for several months, this results this year (2022) will be “in-line on aggregate” with the results from 2021. There has been some concerns about grade inflation in 2021 and the impact it will have on the students in 2022 and future years. At some point the Dept of Education needs to address this grade inflation and look to revert back to the normal profile of grades pre-Covid.

Let’s have a look to see if this is true, and if it is true when we look a little deeper. Do the aggregate results hide grade deflation in some subjects.

For the analysis presented in this blog post, I’ve just looked at results at Higher Level across all subjects, and for the deeper dive I’ll look at some of the most popular subjects.

Firstly let’s have a quick look at the distribution of grades by subject for 2022 and 2021.

Remember the Dept of Education said the 2022 results should be in-line with the results of 2021. This required them to apply some adjustments, after marking the exam scripts, to give an updated profile. The following chart shows this comparison between the two years. On initial inspection we can see it is broadly similar. This is good, right? It kind of is and at a high level things look broadly in-line and maybe we can believe the Dept of Education. Looking a little closer we can see a small decrease in the H2-H4 range, and a slight increase in the H5-H8.

Let’s dive a little deeper. When we look at the grade profile of students in 2021 and 2022, How many subjects increased the number of students at each grade vs How many subjects decreased grades vs How many approximately stated the same. The table below shows the results and only counts a change if it is greater than 1% (to allow for minor variations between years).

This table in very interesting in that more subjects decreased their H1s, with some variation for the H2-H4s, while for the lower range of H5-H7 we can see there has been an increase in grades. If I increased the margin to 3% we get a slightly different results, but only minor changes.

“in-line on aggregate” might be holding true, although it appears a slight increase on the numbers getting the lower grades. This might indicate either more of an adjustment to weaker students and/or a bit of a down shifting of grades from the H2-H4 range. But at the higher end, more subjects reduced than increase. The overall (aggregate) numbers are potentially masking movements in grade profiles.

Let’s now have a look at some of the core subjects of English, Irish and Mathematics.

For English, it looks like they fitted to the curve perfectly! keeping grades in-line between the two years. Mathematics is a little different with a slight increase in grades. But when you look at Irish we can see there was definite grade deflation. For each of these subjects, the chart on the left contains four years of data including 2019 when the last “normal” leaving certificate occurred. With Irish the grade profile has been adjusted (deflated) significantly and is closer to 2019 profile than it is to 2021. There was been lots and lots of discussions nationally about how and when grades will revert to normal profile. The 2022 profile for Irish seems to show this has started to happen in this subject, which raises the question if this is occurring in any other subjects, and is hidden/masked by the “in-line on aggregate” figures.

This blog post would become just too long if I was to present the results profile for each of the 42+ subjects.

Let’s have a look as two of the most common foreign languages, French and Spanish.

Again we can see some grade deflation, although not to be same extent as Irish. For both French and Spanish, we have reduced numbers for the H2-H4 range and a slight increase for H5-H7, and shift to the left in the profile. A slight exception is for those getting a H1 for both subjects. The adjustment in the results profile is more pronounced for French, and could indicate some deflation adjustments.

Next we’ll look at some of the science subjects of Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

These three subjects also indicate some adjusts back towards the pre-Covid profile, with exception of H1 grades. We can see the 2022 profile almost reflect the 2019 profile (excluding H1s) and for Biology appears to be at a half way point between 2019 and 2022 (excluding H1s)

Just one more example of grade deflation, and this with Design, Communication and Graphics (or DCG)

Yes there is obvious grade deflation and almost back to 2019 profile, with the exception of H1s again.

I’ve mentioned some possible grade deflation in various subjects, but there are also subjects where the profile very closely matches the 2021 profile. We have seen above English is one of those. Others include Technology, Art and Computer Science.

I’ve analyzed many more subjects and similar shifting of the profile is evident in those. Has the Dept of Education and State Examinations Commission taken steps to start deflating grades from the highs of 2021? I’d said the answer lies in the data, and the data I’ve looked at shows they have started the deflation process. This might take another couple of years to work out of the system and we will be back to “normal” pre-covid profiles. Which raises another interesting question, Was the grade profile for subjects, pre-covid, fitted to the curve? For the core set of subjects and for many of the more popular subjects, the data seems to indicate this. Maybe the “normal” distribution of marks is down to the “normal” distribution of abilities of the student population each year, or have grades been normalised in some way each year, for years, even decades?

For this analysis I’ve used a variety of tools including Excel, Python and Oracle Analytics.

The Dataset used can be found under Dataset menu, and listed as ‘Leaving Certificate 2015-2022’. An additional Dataset, I’ll be adding soon, will be for CAO Points Profiles 2015-2022.

oracledb Python Library – Connect to DB & a few other changes

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Oracle have released a new Python library for connecting to Oracle Databases on-premises and on the Cloud. It’s called (very imaginatively, yet very clearly) oracledb. This new Python library replaces the previous library called cx_Oracle. Just consider cx_oracle as obsolete, and use oracledb going forward, as all development work on new features and enhancements will be done to oracledb.

cx_oracle has been around a long time, and it’s about time we have a new and enhanced library that is more flexible and will suit many different deployment scenarios. The previous library (cx_Oracle) was great, but it did require additional software installation with Oracle Client, and some OS environment settings, which at times took a bit of debugging. This makes it difficult/challenging to deploy in different environments, for example IOTs, CI/CD, containers, etc. Deployment environments have changed and the new oracledb library makes it simpler.

To check out the following links for a full list of new features and other details.

Home page: oracle.github.io/python-oracledb

Installation instructions: python-oracledb.readthedocs.io/en/latest/installation.html

Documentation: python-oracledb.readthedocs.io

One of the main differences between the two libraries is how you connect to the Database. With oracledb you need to use named the parameters, and the new library uses a thin connection. If you need the thick connection you can switch to that easily enough.

The following examples will illustrate how to connect to Oracle Database (local and cloud ADW/ATP) and how these are different to using the cx_Oracle library (which needed Oracle Client software installed). Remember the new oracledb library does not need Oracle Client.

To get started, install oracledb.

pip3 install oracledb

Local Database (running in Docker)

To test connection to a local Database I’m using a Docker image of 21c (hence localhost in this example, replace with IP address for your database). Using the previous library (cx_Oracle) you could concatenate the connection details to form a string and pass that to the connection. With oracledb, you need to use named parameters and specify each part of the connection separately.

This example illustrates this simple connection and prints out some useful information about the connection, do we have a healthy connection, are we using thing database connection and what version is the connection library.

p_username = "..."
p_password = "..."
p_dns = "localhost/XEPDB1"
p_port = "1521"

con = oracledb.connect(user=p_username, password=p_password, dsn=p_dns, port=p_port)

print(con.is_healthy())
print(con.thin)
print(con.version)
---

True
True
21.3.0.0.0

Having created the connection we can now query the Database and close the connection.

cur = con.cursor()
cur.execute('select table_name from user_tables')

for row in cur:
      print(row)

---
('WHISKIES_DATASET',)
('HOLIDAY',)
('STAGE',)
('DIRECTIONS',)
---

cur.close()
con.close()

The code I’ve given above is simple and straight forward. And if you are converting from cx_Oracle, you will probably have minimal changes as you probably had your parameter keywords defined in your code. If not, some simple editing is needed.

To simplify the above code even more, the following does all the same steps without the explicit open and close statements, as these are implicit in this example.

import oracledb

con = oracledb.connect(user=p_username, password=p_password, dsn=p_dns, port=p_port)
with con.cursor() as cursor:
  for row in cursor.execute('select table_name from user_tables'):
      print(row)

(Basic) Oracle Cloud – Autonomous Database, ATP/ADW

Everyone is using the Cloud, Right? If you believe the marketing they are, but in reality most will be working in some hybrid world using a mixture of on-premises and cloud storage. The example given in the previous section illustrated connecting to a local/on-premises database. Let’s now look at connecting to a database on Oracle Cloud (Autonomous Database, ATP/ADW).

With the oracledb library things have been simplified a little. In this section I’ll illustrate a simple connection to a ATP/ADW using a thin connection.

What you need is the location of the directory containing the unzipped wallet file. No Oracle client is needed. If you haven’t downloaded a Wallet file in a while, you should go download a new version of it. The Wallet will contain a pem file which is needed to securely connect to the DB. You’ll also need the password for the Wallet, so talk nicely with your DBA. When setting up the connection you need to provide the directory for the tnsnames.ora file and the ewallet.pem file. If you have downloaded and unzipped the Wallet, these will be in the same directory

import oracledb

p_username = "..."
p_password = "..."

p_walletpass = '...'

#This time we specify the location of the wallet
con = oracledb.connect(user=p_username, password=p_password, dsn="student_high", 
                       config_dir="/Users/brendan.tierney/Dropbox/5-Database-Wallets/Wallet_student-Full",
                       wallet_location="/Users/brendan.tierney/Dropbox/5-Database-Wallets/Wallet_student-Full",
                       wallet_password=p_walletpass)

print(con)
con.close()

This method allows you to easily connect to any Oracle Cloud Database.

(Thick Connection) Oracle Cloud – Autonomous Database, ATP/ADW

If you have Oracle Client already installed and set up, and you want to use a thick connection, you will need to initialize the function init_oracle_client.

import oracledb

p_username = "..."
p_password = "..."

#point to directory containing tnsnames.ora 
oracledb.init_oracle_client(config_dir="/Applications/instantclient_19_8/network/admin")

con = oracledb.connect(user=p_username, password=p_password, dsn="student_high")

print(con)

con.close()

Warning: Some care is needed with using init_oracle_client. If you use it once in your Python code or App then all connections will use it. You might need to do a code review to look at when this is needed and if not remove all occurrences of it from your Python code.

(Additional Security) Oracle Cloud – Autonomous Database, ATP/ADW

There are a few other additional ways of connecting to a database, but one of my favorite ways to connect involves some additional security, particularly when working with IOT devices, or in scenarios that additional security is needed. Two of these involve using One-way TLS and Mututal TLS connections. The following gives an example of setting up One-Way TLS. This involves setting up the Database to only received data and connections from one particular device via an IP address. This requires you to know the IP address of the device you are using and running the code to connect to the ATP/ADW Database.

To set this up, go to the ATP/ADW details in Oracle Cloud, edit the Access Control List, add the IP address of the client device, disable mutual TLS and download the DB Connection. The following code gives and example of setting up a connection

import oracledb

p_username = "..."
p_password = "..."

adw_dsn = '''(description= (retry_count=20)(retry_delay=3)(address=(protocol=tcps)(port=1522)
             (host=adb.us-ashburn-1.oraclecloud.com))(connect_data=(service_name=a8rk428ojzuffy_student_high.adb.oraclecloud.com))
             (security=(ssl_server_cert_dn="CN=adwc.uscom-east-1.oraclecloud.com,OU=Oracle BMCS US,O=Oracle Corporation,L=Redwood City,ST=California,C=US")))'''

con4 = oracledb.connect(user=p_username, password=p_password, dsn=adw_dsn)

This sets up a secure connection between the client device and the Database.

From my initial testing of existing code/applications (although no formal test cases) it does appear the new oracledb library is processing the queries and data quicker than cx_Oracle. This is good and hopefully we will see more improvements with speed in later releases.

Also don’t forget the impact of changing the buffer size for your database connection. This can have a dramatic effect on speeding up your database interactions. Check out this post which illustrates this.

Python Data Profiling libraries

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One of the most common, and sometimes boring, task when working with datasets is writing some code to profile the data. Most data scientists will have built a set of tools/scripts to help them with this regular and slightly boring task. As with most IT tasks we should be trying to automate what we can, to allow us to spend more time on more important tasks, such as deriving insights and delivering value to the business, instead of repeatedly writing code to produce various statistics about the data and drawing pretty pictures.

I’ve written previously about automating and using some data profiling libraries to help us with this task. There are lots of packages available on pypi.og and on GitHub. Below I give examples of 5 Python Data Profiling libraries, with links to their GitHubs.

  1. pandas_profiling

This is probably one of the better and more popular Python libraries for exploring data. The aim is to make it as simple as possible using one line of code.

import pandas_profiling as pp

df2.profile_report()

2. skimpy

Following the line line of code approach skimpy is a light weight tool that provides summary statistics about variables in data frames. They like to thing skimpy is a super-charged version of df.describe(). Skimpy also has some automated data cleaning functions.

from skimpy import skim

skim(df)

3. dataprep

Dataprep has multiple features with the two main features being EDA (Exploratory Data Analysis) and Data Cleaning. For EDA functionality, it is build to scale for larger data sets and provides some interactive charts.

from dataprep.eda import *
from dataprep.datasets import load_dataset
from dataprep.eda import plot, plot_correlation, plot_missing, plot_diff, create_report

df = load_dataset("titanic")
plot(df)

plot_missing(df)
plot_missing(df, "Age")

4. SweetViz

Sweetviz creates high-density visualizations to help kickstart EDA with just two lines of code. Output is a fully self-contained HTML application.

import pandas as pd
import sweetviz as sv

df = pd.read_csv('../input/titanic/train.csv')
report = sweetviz.analyze(df, "Survived")

5. AutoViz

Autoviz works on visualizing the relationship of the data, it can find the most impactful features and plot creative visualization.

from autoviz.AutoViz_Class import AutoViz_Class
AV = AutoViz_Class()

df = AV.AutoViz('titanic_train.csv')

Always try to automate the boring tasks, and using one of these packages is a step towards doing for for any Data Analysts, Data Sciences, Data Engineers, Machine Learning Engineer, AI Engineer, etc.

AutoML using Pycaret

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In this post we will have a look at using the AutoML feature in the Pycaret Python library. AutoML is a popular topic and allows Data Scientists and Machine Learning people to develop potentially optimized models based on their data. All requiring the minimum of input from the Data Scientist. As with all AutoML solutions, care is needed on the eventual use of these models. With various ML and AI Legal requirements around the World, it might not be possible to use the output from AutoML in production. But instead, gives the Data Scientists guidance on creating an optimized model, which can then be deployed in production. This facilitates requirements around model explainability, transparency, human oversight, fairness, risk mitigation and human in the loop.

Some useful links

Pycaret as all your typical Machine Learning algorithms and functions, including for classification, regression, clustering, anomaly detection, time series analysis, and so on.

To install Pycaret run the typical pip command

pip3 install pycaret

If you get any error messages when running any of the following example code, you might need to have a look at your certificates. Locate where Python is installed (for me on a Mac /Applications/Python 3.7) and you will find a command called ‘Install Certificates.command’. and run the following in the Python directory. This should fix what is causing the errors.

Pycaret comes with some datasets. Most of these are the typical introduction datasets you will find in other Python libraries and in various dataset repositories. For our example we are going to use the Customer Credit dataset. This contains data for a classification problem and the aim is to predict customers who are likely to default.

Let’s load the data and have a quick explore

#Don't forget to install Pycaret
#pip3 install pycaret

#Import dataset from Pycaret
from pycaret.datasets import get_data

#Credit defaulters dataset
df = get_data("credit")

The dataframe is displayed for the first five records

What’s the shape of the dataframe? The dataset/frame has 24,000 records and 24 columns.

#Check for the shape of the dataset
df.shape

(24000, 24)

The dataset has been formatted for a Classification problem with the column ‘default’ being the target or response variable. Let’s have a look at the distribution of records across each value in the ‘default’ column.

df['default'].value_counts()

0    18694
1     5306

And to get the percentage of these distributions,

df['default'].value_counts(normalize=True)*100

0    77.891667
1    22.108333

Before we can call the AutoML function, we need to create our Training and Test datasets.

#Initialize seed for random generators and reproducibility
seed = 42

#Create the train set using pandas sampling - seen data set
train = df.sample(frac=.8, random_state=seed)
train.reset_index(inplace=True, drop=True)
print(train.shape)
train['default'].value_counts()

(19200, 24)

0    14992
1     4208

Now the Test dataset.

#Using samples not available in train as future or unseen data set
test = df.drop(train.index)
test.reset_index(inplace=True, drop=True)
print(test.shape)
test['default'].value_counts()

(4800, 24)

0    3798
1    1002

Next we need to setup and configure the AutoML experiment.

#Let's Do some magic!
from pycaret.classification import *

#Setup function initializes the environment and creates the transformation pipeline
clf = setup(data=train, target="default", session_id=42)

When the above is run, it goes through a number of steps. The first looks at the dataset, the columns and determines the data types, displaying the following.

If everything is correct, press the enter key to confirm the datatypes, otherwise type ‘quit‘. If you press enter Pycaret will complete the setup of the experiments it will perform to identify a model. A subset of the 60 settings is shown below.

The next step runs the experiments to compare each of the models (AutoML), evaluates them and then prints out a league table of models with values for various model evaluation measures. 5.-Fold cross validation is used for each model. This league table is updated are each model is created and evaluated.

# Compares different models depending on their performance metrics. By default sorted by accuracy
best_model = compare_models(fold=5)

For this dataset, this process of comparing the models (AutoML) only takes a few seconds. The constant updating of the league tables is a nice touch. The following shows the final league table created for our AutoML.

The cells colored/highlighted in Yellow tells you which model scored based for that particular evaluation matrix. Here we can see Ridge Classifier scored best using Accuracy and Precision. While the Linear Discriminant Analysis model was best using F1 score, Kappa and MCC.

print(best_model)

RidgeClassifier(alpha=1.0, class_weight=None, copy_X=True, fit_intercept=True,
                max_iter=None, normalize=False, random_state=42, solver='auto',
                tol=0.001)

We can also print the ROC chart.

# Plots the AUC curve
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

fig = plt.figure()
plt.figure(figsize = (14,10))
plot_model(best_model, plot="auc", scale=1)

Also the confusion matrix.

plot_model(best_model, plot="confusion_matrix")

We can also see what the top features are that contribute to the model outcomes (the predictions). This is also referred to as feature importance.

plot_model(best_model, plot="feature")

We could take one of these particular models and tune it for a better fit, or we could select the ‘best’ model and tune it.

# Tune model function performs a grid search to identify the best parameters
tuned = tune_model(best_model)

We can now use the tuned model to label the Test dataset and compare the results.

# Predict on holdout set
predict_model(tuned, data=test)

The final steps with all models is to save it for later use. Pycaret allows you to save the model in .pkl file format

# Model will be saved as .pkl and can be utilized for serving
save_model(tuned,'Tuned-Model-AutoML-Pycaret')

That’s it. All done.

Combining NLP and Machine Learning for Document Classification

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Text mining is a popular topic for exploring what text you have in documents etc. Text mining and NLP can help you discover different patterns in the text like uncovering certain words or phases which are commonly used, to identifying certain patterns and linkages between different texts/documents. Combining this work on Text mining you can use Word Clouds, time-series analysis, etc to discover other aspects and patterns in the text. Check out my previous blog posts (post 1, post 2) on performing Text Mining on documents (manifestos from some of the political parties from the last two national government elections in Ireland). These two posts gives you a simple indication of what is possible.

We can build upon these Text Mining examples to include other machine learning algorithms like those for Classification. With Classification we want to predict or label a record or document to have a particular value. With Classification this could involve labeling a document as being positive or negative (movie or book reviews), or determining if a document is for a particular domain such as Technology, Sports, Entertainment, etc

With Classification problems we typically have a case record containing many different feature/attributes. You will see many different examples of this. When we add in Text Mining we are adding new/additional features/attributes to the case record. These new features/attributes contain some characteristics of the Word (or Term) frequencies in the documents. This is a form of feature engineering, where we create new features/attributes based on our dataset.

Let’s work through an example of using Text Mining and Classification Algorithm to build a model for determining/labeling/classifying documents.

The Dataset: For this example I’ll use Move Review dataset from Cornell University. Download and unzip the file. This will create a set of directories with the reviews (as individual documents) listed under the ‘pos’ or ‘neg’ directory. This dataset contains approximately 2000 documents. Other datasets you could use include the Amazon Reviews or the Disaster Tweets.

The following is the Python code to perform NLP to prepare the data, build a classification model and test this model against a holdout dataset. First thing is to load the libraries NLP and some other basics.

import numpy as np
import re
import nltk
from sklearn.datasets import load_files
from nltk.corpus import stopwords

Load the dataset.

#This dataset will allow use to perform a type of Sentiment Analysis Classification
source_file_dir = r"/Users/brendan.tierney/Dropbox/4-Datasets/review_polarity/txt_sentoken"

#The load_files function automatically divides the dataset into data and target sets.
#load_files  will treat each folder inside the "txt_sentoken" folder as one category 
#  and all the documents inside that folder will be assigned its corresponding category.
movie_data = load_files(source_file_dir)
X, y = movie_data.data, movie_data.target

#load_files  function loads the data from both "neg" and "pos" folders into the X variable, 
#  while the target categories are stored in y

We can now use the typical NLP tasks on this data. This will clean the data and prepare it.

documents = []
documents = []

from nltk.stem import WordNetLemmatizer

stemmer = WordNetLemmatizer()

for sen in range(0, len(X)):
    # Remove all the special characters, numbers, punctuation 
    document = re.sub(r'\W', ' ', str(X[sen]))
    
    # remove all single characters
    document = re.sub(r'\s+[a-zA-Z]\s+', ' ', document)
    
    # Remove single characters from the start of document with a space
    document = re.sub(r'\^[a-zA-Z]\s+', ' ', document) 
    
    # Substituting multiple spaces with single space
    document = re.sub(r'\s+', ' ', document, flags=re.I)
    
    # Removing prefixed 'b'
    document = re.sub(r'^b\s+', '', document)
    
    # Converting to Lowercase
    document = document.lower()
    
    # Lemmatization
    document = document.split()

    document = [stemmer.lemmatize(word) for word in document]
    document = ' '.join(document)
    
    documents.append(document)

You can see we have removed all special characters, numbers, punctuation, single characters, spacing, special prefixes, converted all words to lower case and finally extracted the stemmed word.

Next we need to take these words and convert them into numbers, as the algorithms like to work with numbers rather then text. One particular approach is Bag of Words.

The first thing we need to decide on is the maximum number of words/features to include or use for later stages. As you can image when looking across lots and lots of documents you will have a very large number of words. Some of these are repeated words. What we are interested in are frequently occurring words, which means we can ignore low frequently occurring works. To do this we can set max_feature to a defined value. In our example we will set it to 1500, but in your problems/use cases you might need to experiment to determine what might be a better values.

Two other parameters we need to set include min_df and max_df. min_df sets the minimum number of documents to contain the word/feature. max_df specifies the percentage of documents where the words occur, for example if this is set to 0.7 this means the words should occur in a maximum of 70% of the documents.

from sklearn.feature_extraction.text import CountVectorizer
vectorizer = CountVectorizer(max_features=1500, min_df=5, max_df=0.7,stop_words=stopwords.words('english'))
X = vectorizer.fit_transform(documents).toarray()

The CountVectorizer in the above code also remove Stop Words for the English language. These words are generally basic words that do not convey any meaning. You can easily add to this list and adjust it to suit your needs and to reflect word usage and meaning for your particular domain.

The bag of words approach works fine for converting text to numbers. However, it has one drawback. It assigns a score to a word based on its occurrence in a particular document. It doesn’t take into account the fact that the word might also be having a high frequency of occurrence in other documentsas well. TFIDF resolves this issue by multiplying the term frequency of a word by the inverse document frequency. The TF stands for “Term Frequency” while IDF stands for “Inverse Document Frequency”.

And the Inverse Document Frequency is calculated as:
IDF(word) = Log((Total number of documents)/(Number of documents containing the word))

The term frequency is calculated as:
Term frequency = (Number of Occurrences of a word)/(Total words in the document)

The TFIDF value for a word in a particular document is higher if the frequency of occurrence of thatword is higher in that specific document but lower in all the other documents.

To convert values obtained using the bag of words model into TFIDF values, run the following:

from sklearn.feature_extraction.text import TfidfTransformer
tfidfconverter = TfidfTransformer()
X = tfidfconverter.fit_transform(X).toarray()

That’s the dataset prepared, the final step is to create the Training and Test datasets.

from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_split
X_train, X_test, y_train, y_test = train_test_split(X, y, test_size=0.2, random_state=0)
#Train DS = 70%
#Test DS = 30%

There are several machine learning algorithms you can use. These are the typical classification algorithms. But for simplicity I’m going to use RandomForest algorithm in the following code. After giving this a go, try to do it for the other algorithms and compare the results.

#Import Random Forest Model
#Use RandomForest algorithm to create a model
#n_estimators = number of trees in the Forest

from sklearn.ensemble import RandomForestClassifier
classifier = RandomForestClassifier(n_estimators=1000, random_state=0)
classifier.fit(X_train, y_train)

Now we can test the model on the hold-out or Test dataset

#Now label/classify the Test DS
y_pred = classifier.predict(X_test)

#Evaluate the model
from sklearn.metrics import classification_report, confusion_matrix, accuracy_score

print("Accuracy:", accuracy_score(y_test, y_pred))
print(confusion_matrix(y_test,y_pred))
print(classification_report(y_test,y_pred))

This model gives the following results, with an over all accuracy of 85% (you might get a slightly different figure). This is a good outcome and a good predictive model. But is it the best one? We simply don’t know at this point. Using the ‘No Free Lunch Theorem’ we would would have to see what results we would get from the other algorithms.

Although this example only contains the words from the documents, we can see how we could include this with other features/attributes when forming a case record. For example, our case records represented Insurance Claims, the features would include details of the customer, their insurance policy, the amount claimed, etc and in addition could include incident reports, claims assessor reports etc. This would be documents which we can include in the building a predictive model to determine of an insurance claim is fraudulent or not.

Comparing Cluster Algorithms on Density Data

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In a previous posted I gave a detailed description of using DBScan to create clusters for a dataset containing different density based data. This “manufactured” dataset was created to illustrate how and why DBScan can be used.

But taking the previous post in isolation is perhaps not recommended. As a Data Scientist you will need to use many Clustering algorithms to determine which algorithm can best identify the patterns in your data, and this can be determined by the type of data distributions within the dataset.

The DBScan post created the following diagrams. The diagram on the left is a plot of the dataset where we can easily identify different groupings/clusters. The diagram on the right illustrates the clusters identified by DBScan. As you can see it did a good job.

We can see the three clusters and the noisy data point which were added to the dataset.

But what about other Clustering algorithms? What about k-Means and Hierarchical Clustering algorithms? How would they perform on this dataset?

Here is the code for k-Means with three clusters. Three clusters was selected as we have three clear clusters in the dataset.

#k-Means with 3 clusters
from sklearn.cluster import KMeans
k_means=KMeans(n_clusters=3,random_state=42)
k_means.fit(df[[0,1]])

df['KMeans_labels']=k_means.labels_

# Plotting resulting clusters
colors=['purple','red','blue','green']
plt.figure(figsize=(10,10))
plt.scatter(df[0],df[1],c=df['KMeans_labels'],cmap=matplotlib.colors.ListedColormap(colors),s=15)
plt.title('K-Means Clustering',fontsize=18)
plt.xlabel('Feature-1',fontsize=12)
plt.ylabel('Feature-2',fontsize=12)
plt.show()

Here is the code for Hierarchical Clustering, again three clusters was selected.

from sklearn.cluster import AgglomerativeClustering
model = AgglomerativeClustering(n_clusters=3, affinity='euclidean')
model.fit(df[[0,1]])

df['HR_labels']=model.labels_

# Plotting resulting clusters
plt.figure(figsize=(10,10))
plt.scatter(df[0],df[1],c=df['HR_labels'],cmap=matplotlib.colors.ListedColormap(colors),s=15)
plt.title('Hierarchical Clustering',fontsize=20)
plt.xlabel('Feature-1',fontsize=14)
plt.ylabel('Feature-2',fontsize=14)
plt.show()

The diagrams from both of these are shown below.

As you can see the results generated by these alternative Clustering algorithms produce very different results to what was produced by DBScan (see image at top of post) and we can easily see which algorithm best fits the dataset used.

Make sure you check out the post on DBScan.

DBScan Clustering in Python

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Unsupervised Learning is a common approach for discovering patterns in datasets. The main algorithmic approach in Unsupervised Learning is Clustering, where the data is searched to discover groupings, or clusters, of data. Each of these clusters contain data points which have some set of characteristics in common with each other, and each cluster is distinct and different. There are many challenges with clustering which include trying to interpret the meaning of each cluster and how it is related to the domain in question, what is the “best” number of clusters to use or have, the shape of each cluster can be different (not like the nice clean examples we see in the text books), clusters can be overlapping with a data point belonging to many different clusters, and the difficulty with trying to decide which clustering algorithm to use.

The last point above about which clustering algorithm to use is similar to most problems in Data Science and Machine Learning. The simple answer is we just don’t know, and this is where the phases of “No free lunch” and “All models are wrong, but some models are model that others”, apply. This is where we need to apply the various algorithms to our data, and through a deep process of investigation the outputs, of each algorithm, need to be investigated to determine what algorithm, the parameters, etc work best for our dataset, specific problem being investigated and the domain. This involve the needs for lots of experiments and analysis. This work can take some/a lot of time to complete.

The k-Means clustering algorithm gets a lot of attention and focus for Clustering. It’s easy to understand what it does and to interpret the outputs. But it isn’t perfect and may not describe your data, as it can have different characteristics including shape, densities, sparseness, etc. k-Means focuses on a distance measure, while algorithms like DBScan can look at the relative densities of data. These two different approaches can produce by different results. Careful analysis of the data and the results/outcomes of these algorithms needs some care.

Let’s illustrate the use of DBScan (Density Based Spatial Clustering of Applications with Noise), using the scikit-learn Python package, for a “manufactured” dataset. This example will illustrate how this density based algorithm works (See my other blog post which compares different Clustering algorithms for this same dataset). DBSCAN is better suited for datasets that have disproportional cluster sizes (or densities), and whose data can be separated in a non-linear fashion.

There are two key parameters of DBScan:

  • eps: The distance that specifies the neighborhoods. Two points are considered to be neighbors if the distance between them are less than or equal to eps.
  • minPts: Minimum number of data points to define a cluster.

Based on these two parameters, points are classified as core point, border point, or outlier:

  • Core point: A point is a core point if there are at least minPts number of points (including the point itself) in its surrounding area with radius eps.
  • Border point: A point is a border point if it is reachable from a core point and there are less than minPts number of points within its surrounding area.
  • Outlier: A point is an outlier if it is not a core point and not reachable from any core points.

The algorithm works by randomly selecting a starting point and it’s neighborhood area is determined using radius eps. If there are at least minPts number of points in the neighborhood, the point is marked as core point and a cluster formation starts. If not, the point is marked as noise. Once a cluster formation starts (let’s say cluster A), all the points within the neighborhood of initial point become a part of cluster A. If these new points are also core points, the points that are in the neighborhood of them are also added to cluster A. Next step is to randomly choose another point among the points that have not been visited in the previous steps. Then same procedure applies. This process finishes when all points are visited.

Let’s setup our data set and visualize it.

import numpy as np
import pandas as pd
import math
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import matplotlib

#initialize the random seed
np.random.seed(42) #it is the answer to everything!

#Create a function to create our data points in a circular format
#We will call this function below, to create our dataframe
def CreateDataPoints(r, n):
    return [(math.cos(2*math.pi/n*x)*r+np.random.normal(-30,30),math.sin(2*math.pi/n*x)*r+np.random.normal(-30,30)) for x in range(1,n+1)]

#Use the function to create different sets of data, each having a circular format
df=pd.DataFrame(CreateDataPoints(800,1500))  #500, 1000
df=df.append(CreateDataPoints(500,850))      #300, 700
df=df.append(CreateDataPoints(200,450))      #100, 300

# Adding noise to the dataset
df=df.append([(np.random.randint(-850,850),np.random.randint(-850,850)) for i in range(450)])

plt.figure(figsize=(8,8))
plt.scatter(df[0],df[1],s=15,color='olive')
plt.title('Dataset for DBScan Clustering',fontsize=16)
plt.xlabel('Feature-1',fontsize=12)
plt.ylabel('Feature-2',fontsize=12)
plt.show()

We can see the dataset we’ve just created has three distinct circular patterns of data. We also added some noisy data too, which can be see as the points between and outside of the circular patterns.

Let’s use the DBScan algorithm, using the default setting, to see what it discovers.

from sklearn.cluster import DBSCAN
#DBSCAN without any parameter optimization and see the results.
dbscan=DBSCAN()
dbscan.fit(df[[0,1]])

df['DBSCAN_labels']=dbscan.labels_ 

# Plotting resulting clusters
colors=['purple','red','blue','green']
plt.figure(figsize=(8,8))
plt.scatter(df[0],df[1],c=df['DBSCAN_labels'],cmap=matplotlib.colors.ListedColormap(colors),s=15)
plt.title('DBSCAN Clustering',fontsize=16)
plt.xlabel('Feature-1',fontsize=12)
plt.ylabel('Feature-2',fontsize=12)
plt.show()
#Not very useful !
#Everything belongs to one cluster. 

Everything is the one color! which means all data points below to the same cluster. This isn’t very useful and can at first seem like this algorithm doesn’t work for our dataset. But we know it should work given the visual representation of the data. The reason for this occurrence is because the value for epsilon is very small. We need to explore a better value for this. One approach is to use KNN (K-Nearest Neighbors) to calculate the k-distance for the data points and based on this graph we can determine a possible value for epsilon.

#Let's explore the data and work out a better setting
from sklearn.neighbors import NearestNeighbors
neigh = NearestNeighbors(n_neighbors=2)
nbrs = neigh.fit(df[[0,1]])
distances, indices = nbrs.kneighbors(df[[0,1]])

# Plotting K-distance Graph
distances = np.sort(distances, axis=0)
distances = distances[:,1]
plt.figure(figsize=(14,8))
plt.plot(distances)
plt.title('K-Distance - Check where it bends',fontsize=16)
plt.xlabel('Data Points - sorted by Distance',fontsize=12)
plt.ylabel('Epsilon',fontsize=12)
plt.show()
#Let’s plot our K-distance graph and find the value of epsilon

Look at the graph above we can see the main curvature is between 20 and 40. Taking 30 at the mid-point of this we can now use this value for epsilon. The value for the number of samples needs some experimentation to see what gives the best fit.

Let’s now run DBScan to see what we get now.

from sklearn.cluster import DBSCAN
dbscan_opt=DBSCAN(eps=30,min_samples=3)
dbscan_opt.fit(df[[0,1]])

df['DBSCAN_opt_labels']=dbscan_opt.labels_
df['DBSCAN_opt_labels'].value_counts()

# Plotting the resulting clusters
colors=['purple','red','blue','green', 'olive', 'pink', 'cyan', 'orange', 'brown' ]
plt.figure(figsize=(8,8))
plt.scatter(df[0],df[1],c=df['DBSCAN_opt_labels'],cmap=matplotlib.colors.ListedColormap(colors),s=15)
plt.title('DBScan Clustering',fontsize=18)
plt.xlabel('Feature-1',fontsize=12)
plt.ylabel('Feature-2',fontsize=12)
plt.show()

When we look at the dataframe we can see it create many different cluster, beyond the three that we might have been expecting. Most of these clusters contain small numbers of data points. These could be considered outliers and alternative view of this results is presented below, with this removed.

df['DBSCAN_opt_labels']=dbscan_opt.labels_
df['DBSCAN_opt_labels'].value_counts()

 0     1559
 2      898
 3      470
-1      282
 8        6
 5        5
 4        4
 10       4
 11       4
 6        3
 12       3
 1        3
 7        3
 9        3
 13       3
Name: DBSCAN_opt_labels, dtype: int64

The cluster labeled with -1 contains the outliers. Let’s clean this up a little.

df2 = df[df['DBSCAN_opt_labels'].isin([-1,0,2,3])]
df2['DBSCAN_opt_labels'].value_counts()
 0    1559
 2     898
 3     470
-1     282
Name: DBSCAN_opt_labels, dtype: int64

# Plotting the resulting clusters
colors=['purple','red','blue','green', 'olive', 'pink', 'cyan', 'orange']
plt.figure(figsize=(8,8))
plt.scatter(df2[0],df2[1],c=df2['DBSCAN_opt_labels'],cmap=matplotlib.colors.ListedColormap(colors),s=15)
plt.title('DBScan Clustering',fontsize=18)
plt.xlabel('Feature-1',fontsize=12)
plt.ylabel('Feature-2',fontsize=12)
plt.show()

See my other blog post which compares different Clustering algorithms for this same dataset.

AutoML – using TPOT

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Another popular AutoML library is TPOT, which stands for Tree-Based Pipeline Optimization Tool. The goal of TPOT is to automate the building of ML pipelines by combining a flexible expression tree representation of pipelines with stochastic search algorithms such as genetic programming. TPOT makes use of the Python-based scikit-learn library

Install the TPOT library using

pip3 install tpot

Here is an example tree-based pipeline from TPOT. Each circle corresponds to a machine learning operator, and the arrows indicate the direction of the data flow

Fig. 8.1

Let’s build upon my previous blog post on AutomML, by using the same data set, with no modifications, and using the training (X_train, y_train) and test (X_test, y_test) data sets (dataframes), based on the Bank data sets. Check the previous post for the detailed steps on getting to this point.

In a similar way as the autosklean library example, I’m just going to demonstrate using TPOT for a classification problem using TPOTClassifier class. For regression problems, there is the corresponding TPOTRegressor class (not demonstrated in this post).

TPOTClassifier has the following main parameters (there are others):

  • generations: Number of iterations to the run pipeline optimization process. The default is 100.
  • population_size: Number of individuals to retain in the genetic programming population every generation. The default is 100.
  • offspring_size: Number of offspring to produce in each genetic programming generation. The default is 100.
  • mutation_rate: Mutation rate for the genetic programming algorithm in the range [0.0, 1.0]. This parameter tells the GP algorithm how many pipelines to apply random changes to every generation. Default is 0.9
  • crossover_rate: Crossover rate for the genetic programming algorithm in the range [0.0, 1.0]. This parameter tells the genetic programming algorithm how many pipelines to “breed” every generation.
  • scoring: Function used to evaluate the quality of a given pipeline for the classification problem like accuracy, average_precision, roc_auc, recall, etc. The default is accuracy.
  • cv: Cross-validation strategy used when evaluating pipelines. The default is 5.
  • random_state: The seed of the pseudo-random number generator used in TPOT. Use this parameter to make sure that TPOT will give you the same results each time you run it against the same data set with that seed.
  • verbosity: How much information TPOT communicates while it is running. Default is 0 (zero) TPOT will display nothing. 1=display minimal information, 2=display more information and progress bar, 3=print everything and progress bar.
  • n_jobs: Number of processes to use. Default is 1. Use -1 to use all available cores.

Care is needed with some of these settings, for example generations should be set small to begin with, for example set to 5 initially. Also, population_size should also be kept small, for example 5 initially. These initial settings will evaluate 25 piplelines (5×5) configurations before finishing, and for some these settings may need to be adjusted smaller for initial work/investigations. Another parameter to adjust is the ‘verbosity’ setting. The default is 0 which means no details will be displayed. I like to set this to 3, as it gives more details of the outcomes from each pipeline. Adjust higher for more details or lower to fewer details. Another parameter to consider adjusting is ‘max_time_min’ and ‘max_eval_time_min’, but setting these too low can result in no or minimum results.

Load the library, setup the configuration and run. This is very simple to setup

from tpot import TPOTClassifier

#configure settings
tpot = TPOTClassifier(generations=5, population_size=5, verbosity=3, n_jobs=4, scoring='accuracy')

#run TPOT
tpot.fit(X_train, y_train)

As verbosity is set to 3 we get a lot of detail being displayed for each generation. The final output is shown below. What is missing from this is the progress bars which are displayed while TPOT is running

32 operators have been imported by TPOT.


Generation 1 - Current Pareto front scores:

-1	0.8963961891371728	RandomForestClassifier(input_matrix, RandomForestClassifier__bootstrap=True, RandomForestClassifier__criterion=gini, RandomForestClassifier__max_features=0.7000000000000001, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_leaf=5, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_split=7, RandomForestClassifier__n_estimators=100)

-2	0.8978183008194085	RandomForestClassifier(ZeroCount(input_matrix), RandomForestClassifier__bootstrap=True, RandomForestClassifier__criterion=gini, RandomForestClassifier__max_features=0.7000000000000001, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_leaf=5, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_split=7, RandomForestClassifier__n_estimators=100)
Pipeline encountered that has previously been evaluated during the optimization process. Using the score from the previous evaluation.

Generation 2 - Current Pareto front scores:

-1	0.8974020496851336	RandomForestClassifier(input_matrix, RandomForestClassifier__bootstrap=True, RandomForestClassifier__criterion=gini, RandomForestClassifier__max_features=0.7000000000000001, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_leaf=8, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_split=7, RandomForestClassifier__n_estimators=100)

-2	0.8978183008194085	RandomForestClassifier(ZeroCount(input_matrix), RandomForestClassifier__bootstrap=True, RandomForestClassifier__criterion=gini, RandomForestClassifier__max_features=0.7000000000000001, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_leaf=5, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_split=7, RandomForestClassifier__n_estimators=100)
_pre_test decorator: _random_mutation_operator: num_test=0 '(slice(None, None, None), 0)' is an invalid key.
Pipeline encountered that has previously been evaluated during the optimization process. Using the score from the previous evaluation.

Generation 3 - Current Pareto front scores:

-1	0.8974020496851336	RandomForestClassifier(input_matrix, RandomForestClassifier__bootstrap=True, RandomForestClassifier__criterion=gini, RandomForestClassifier__max_features=0.7000000000000001, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_leaf=8, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_split=7, RandomForestClassifier__n_estimators=100)

-2	0.8978183008194085	RandomForestClassifier(ZeroCount(input_matrix), RandomForestClassifier__bootstrap=True, RandomForestClassifier__criterion=gini, RandomForestClassifier__max_features=0.7000000000000001, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_leaf=5, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_split=7, RandomForestClassifier__n_estimators=100)
Skipped pipeline #21 due to time out. Continuing to the next pipeline.
Skipped pipeline #23 due to time out. Continuing to the next pipeline.

Generation 4 - Current Pareto front scores:

-1	0.8974020496851336	RandomForestClassifier(input_matrix, RandomForestClassifier__bootstrap=True, RandomForestClassifier__criterion=gini, RandomForestClassifier__max_features=0.7000000000000001, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_leaf=8, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_split=7, RandomForestClassifier__n_estimators=100)

-2	0.8978183008194085	RandomForestClassifier(ZeroCount(input_matrix), RandomForestClassifier__bootstrap=True, RandomForestClassifier__criterion=gini, RandomForestClassifier__max_features=0.7000000000000001, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_leaf=5, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_split=7, RandomForestClassifier__n_estimators=100)

Generation 5 - Current Pareto front scores:

-1	0.8983385200075953	RandomForestClassifier(input_matrix, RandomForestClassifier__bootstrap=True, RandomForestClassifier__criterion=gini, RandomForestClassifier__max_features=0.55, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_leaf=8, RandomForestClassifier__min_samples_split=7, RandomForestClassifier__n_estimators=100)

TPOTClassifier(generations=5, n_jobs=4, population_size=5, scoring='accuracy',
               verbosity=3)

We can now display the ‘best’ model configuration discovered by TPOT.

tpot.fitted_pipeline_


Pipeline(steps=[('normalizer', Normalizer(norm='l1')),
                ('xgbclassifier',
                 XGBClassifier(base_score=0.5, booster='gbtree',
                               colsample_bylevel=1, colsample_bynode=1,
                               colsample_bytree=1, gamma=0, gpu_id=-1,
                               importance_type='gain',
                               interaction_constraints='', learning_rate=0.01,
                               max_delta_step=0, max_depth=8,
                               min_child_weight=7, missing=nan,
                               monotone_constraints='()', n_estimators=100,
                               n_jobs=1, num_parallel_tree=1, random_state=0,
                               reg_alpha=0, reg_lambda=1, scale_pos_weight=1,
                               subsample=0.8, tree_method='exact',
                               validate_parameters=1, verbosity=0))])

In this run of TPOT, on this data set, XGBoost algorithm gave the best results using the parameters and settings listed above. What is interesting, everytime I’ve run TPOT for the same data set, using the same configuration parameters, I get a slightly different outcome.

Next step is to evaluate the ‘best’ model on the holdout data set.

tpot.score(X_test, y_test)


0.9037792344420167

The results achieved are good and are better than some of the other models created by other AutoML libraries.

The final step we can perform is to export the model template. This creates a file containing the template code to create and use the model. This does require some modifications to specify the data set, and the pipeline of data modifications and transformations.

#export the model
tpot.export('.../tpot_Bank_pipeline.py')

The output file contains the following.

import numpy as np
import pandas as pd
from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_split
from sklearn.pipeline import make_pipeline
from sklearn.preprocessing import Normalizer
from xgboost import XGBClassifier

# NOTE: Make sure that the outcome column is labeled 'target' in the data file
tpot_data = pd.read_csv('PATH/TO/DATA/FILE', sep='COLUMN_SEPARATOR', dtype=np.float64)
features = tpot_data.drop('target', axis=1)

training_features, testing_features, training_target, testing_target = \
            train_test_split(features, tpot_data['target'], random_state=None)

# Average CV score on the training set was: 0.8986507248984001
exported_pipeline = make_pipeline(
    Normalizer(norm="l1"),
    XGBClassifier(learning_rate=0.01, max_depth=8, min_child_weight=7, n_estimators=100, n_jobs=1, subsample=0.8, verbosity=0)
)

exported_pipeline.fit(training_features, training_target)
results = exported_pipeline.predict(testing_features)

TPOT does have some issues and limitations. Well it is slow, and part of this is due to the nature of genetic algorithms, every time you run TPOT you may get different results, etc. Some of these issues can be addressed by adjusting some of the parameters, but even still, it doesn’t eliminate all of them. Running on GPU helps a little with timing of each run. TPOT doesn’t remove the need for data cleaning, feature engineering etc, but that is the case with most solutions.

AutoML – using autosklearn in Python

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I’ve written some previous posts about AutoML and how to use AutoML with Oracle OML4Py (part 1 and part 2) and AutoML UI.

Building upon these, in this post I’ll demonstrate how to use autosklearn Python Package to do something similar, using the same data set I used in my previous posts.

To install the package run the typical pip command

pip3 install auto-sklearn

I did have some challegenges with installing this package, and this seems to be common, with different people having slightly different issues. These mainly revolved around having to install/update the swiff and pyrfr Python packages. Once done, then autosklearn package installed.

Let’s do a simple test

import autosklearn
print('autosklearn: %s' % autosklearn.__version__)

autosklearn: 0.12.5

Just like in my previous examples, I’m just going to use autosklearn to build a Classification model, as that is what the data set is designed for.

from sklearn.metrics import accuracy_score

# define search
model = autosklearn.classification.AutoSklearnClassifier()
# perform the search
model.fit(X_train, y_train)

The code above is a very basic configuration, and if this is the first time you are going to run this, then DON’T. There are a lot of parameter you can set, with one of them being ‘time_left_for_this_task’. The default value for this parameter is 360, which is one hour. Not a good idea! Set this to being much lower, say for an initial run of 3-5 minutes. This should be enough time for it to build many different models. I like to set the time for this using a multiplier of 60 (seconds). That way you don’t have to do any calculations! Two other parameters to consider setting/changing are

  • n_jobs: this is the number of jobs to run in parallel. Default is -1, which uses all processors, or set to to a number, eg. 4
  • metric: what evaluation metric to use for the models. For classification we have, accuracy, balanced_accuracy, f1, f1_marco, f1_micro, f1_samples, f1_weighted, roc_auc, precision, precision_macro, precision_micro, precision_samples, precision_weighted, average_percision, recall, recall_macro, recall_micro, recall_samples, recall_weighted and log_loss. For regression problems, r2, mean_squared_error, mean_absolute_error and median_absolute_error

Using these parameters let’s run a search.

# define search
model2 = autosklearn.classification.AutoSklearnClassifier(time_left_for_this_task=2*60,
      n_jobs=-1,
      metric=autosklearn.metrics.accuracy)

# perform the search
model2.fit(X_train, y_train)

Out[]: AutoSklearnClassifier(metric=accuracy, n_jobs=-1, per_run_time_limit=48,
                      time_left_for_this_task=120)

After about 2 minutes we explore the models.

print(model2.show_models())

[(0.520000, SimpleClassificationPipeline({'balancing:strategy': 'none', 'classifier:__choice__': 'random_forest', 'data_preprocessing:categorical_transformer:categorical_encoding:__choice__': 'one_hot_encoding', 'data_preprocessing:categorical_transformer:category_coalescence:__choice__': 'minority_coalescer', 'data_preprocessing:numerical_transformer:imputation:strategy': 'mean', 'data_preprocessing:numerical_transformer:rescaling:__choice__': 'standardize', 'feature_preprocessor:__choice__': 'no_preprocessing', 'classifier:random_forest:bootstrap': 'True', 'classifier:random_forest:criterion': 'gini', 'classifier:random_forest:max_depth': 'None', 'classifier:random_forest:max_features': 0.5, 'classifier:random_forest:max_leaf_nodes': 'None', 'classifier:random_forest:min_impurity_decrease': 0.0, 'classifier:random_forest:min_samples_leaf': 1, 'classifier:random_forest:min_samples_split': 2, 'classifier:random_forest:min_weight_fraction_leaf': 0.0, 'data_preprocessing:categorical_transformer:category_coalescence:minority_coalescer:minimum_fraction': 0.01},
dataset_properties={
  'task': 1,
  'sparse': False,
  'multilabel': False,
  'multiclass': False,
  'target_type': 'classification',
  'signed': False})),
(0.480000, SimpleClassificationPipeline({'balancing:strategy': 'none', 'classifier:__choice__': 'random_forest', 'data_preprocessing:categorical_transformer:categorical_encoding:__choice__': 'no_encoding', 'data_preprocessing:categorical_transformer:category_coalescence:__choice__': 'minority_coalescer', 'data_preprocessing:numerical_transformer:imputation:strategy': 'most_frequent', 'data_preprocessing:numerical_transformer:rescaling:__choice__': 'standardize', 'feature_preprocessor:__choice__': 'feature_agglomeration', 'classifier:random_forest:bootstrap': 'True', 'classifier:random_forest:criterion': 'entropy', 'classifier:random_forest:max_depth': 'None', 'classifier:random_forest:max_features': 0.48846965177813817, 'classifier:random_forest:max_leaf_nodes': 'None', 'classifier:random_forest:min_impurity_decrease': 0.0, 'classifier:random_forest:min_samples_leaf': 1, 'classifier:random_forest:min_samples_split': 5, 'classifier:random_forest:min_weight_fraction_leaf': 0.0, 'data_preprocessing:categorical_transformer:category_coalescence:minority_coalescer:minimum_fraction': 0.01087424610670389, 'feature_preprocessor:feature_agglomeration:affinity': 'cosine', 'feature_preprocessor:feature_agglomeration:linkage': 'complete', 'feature_preprocessor:feature_agglomeration:n_clusters': 17, 'feature_preprocessor:feature_agglomeration:pooling_func': 'median'},
dataset_properties={
  'task': 1,
  'sparse': False,
  'multilabel': False,
  'multiclass': False,
  'target_type': 'classification',
  'signed': False})),
]

In this particular case it has evaluated two models and we can display some basic statistics about this process.

# summarize
print(model2.sprint_statistics())

auto-sklearn results:
  Dataset name: ecd21bb4-912e-11eb-8af6-acde48001122
  Metric: accuracy
  Best validation score: 0.895218
  Number of target algorithm runs: 12
  Number of successful target algorithm runs: 2
  Number of crashed target algorithm runs: 0
  Number of target algorithms that exceeded the time limit: 10
  Number of target algorithms that exceeded the memory limit: 0

It only had time to create and evaluate 2 models, returning the best model. This can use this model to evaluate results from the holdout test data set.

# evaluate best model
y_predictions = model2.predict(X_test)
acc = accuracy_score(y_test, y_predictions)
print("Accuracy: %.3f" % acc)

Accuracy: 0.900

Now change the run time to see how many extra models will be evaluated in the time. The following increases the run time from 2 to 3 minutes. The evaluation metric has been changed to the f1 score.

# define search
model3 = autosklearn.classification.AutoSklearnClassifier(time_left_for_this_task=3*60,
      n_jobs=4,
      metric=autosklearn.metrics.f1) #accuracy)  #roc_auc   f1)
# perform the search
model3.fit(X_train, y_train)

AutoSklearnClassifier(metric=f1, n_jobs=4, per_run_time_limit=72,
                      time_left_for_this_task=180)

The statistics tells us it evaluated 7 models, out of a target of 15.

# summarize
print(model3.sprint_statistics())

auto-sklearn results:
  Dataset name: 752a4fc6-9135-11eb-8af6-acde48001122
  Metric: f1
  Best validation score: 0.473426
  Number of target algorithm runs: 15
  Number of successful target algorithm runs: 7
  Number of crashed target algorithm runs: 0
  Number of target algorithms that exceeded the time limit: 8
  Number of target algorithms that exceeded the memory limit: 0

The output from the ‘show_models’ function is too long to show here, but you should run it to see the details.

There is a package/library called PipelineProfiler, which is a VERY useful tool for inspecting the various models created and evaluated in the above process. It allows us to see, for each model run, what steps and algorithms were part of it, and by clicking on one we get a flow chart of the pipleline. An example is shown below.

import PipelineProfiler

profiler_data= PipelineProfiler.import_autosklearn(model3)
PipelineProfiler.plot_pipeline_matrix(profiler_data)

OML4Py – AutoML – An Example

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OML4Py (Oracle Machine Learning for Python) is Oracle’s offering where you can use Python commands to process and analyse data in an Oracle Database without having to write any SQL. OML4Py, via it’s transparency layer, translates Python code into SQL, executes it in the Database and then presents the results back to you in your Python environment. The examples shown in this post used the OML Notebooks available with Autonomous Databases on Oracle Cloud.

[Warning: the functionality available with initial release of OML4Py is very limited and may not suit most Python developers. Hopefully this will be addressed in later releases]

One of the features of OML4Py is Automated Machine Leaning (AutoML). At some point in the near future Oracle will have a GUI interface for AutoML, which will save you from having to write any code, such as the example in this post. See my previous blog post about AutoML. It is a general discussion on AutoML and some things you need to be careful with. Also, be careful of the marketing around AutoML from all vendors. The reality doesn’t necessarily live up to marketing

OML4Py has a couple of approaches you can follow to Automatically generate a Machine Learning Model (see previous blog post). The first of these can be considered the Black Box approach for AutoML, and the example below illustrates an example of this. The more detailed version of AutoML will be covered in a later post.

[Info: I’m using Oracle Free Tier Database. At time of writing this post OML4Py is only available with Oracle Autonomous 19c]

But before look at these, the first step we need to do is setup the data set to use for AutoML. I’ll be using the popular Portuguese Bank data set. Each code snippets shown below are for a one cell in my OML Notebooks. The data set exists as a table in my schema called BANK_ADDITIONAL_FULL. The sync command creates a proxy object in the notebook session pointing to the table in the DB. No data is copied into the notebook.

%python
import oml
from oml import automl
import pandas as pd
%python
oml_bank = oml.sync(table = 'BANK_ADDITIONAL_FULL')
type(oml_bank)

Let’s explore the data. Remember the data lives in a table in the DB and only the results are displayed

%python
oml_bank.head()

%python
oml_bank.describe()

Now remove one attribute from data set and at the sample time setup the dataframes for input to the ML. This is highly correlated to the the target variable.

%python
oml_bank_X, oml_bank_y = oml_bank.drop('TARGET_Y'), oml_bank['TARGET_Y']

Finally, we can now look at the first of the AutoML options, the black box option. This uses the AutoML ModelSelection function. Using this you can define the type of machine learning to perform (‘classification) and set some additional parameters. The parallel parameter will probably not have too much of an effect when using the Oracle Free Tier, but will certainly improved performance when using additional compute resources.

The example below is very simple and the setup of it is very simple. The ModelSelection function sets up the parameters for the AutoML to function. The ‘select’ function runs the AutoML based on those parameters along with some additional ones. These parameters and the additional ones available are explained below, after this first example.

%python
ms_bank = automl.ModelSelection(mining_function='classification', parallel=4)

ModelSelection can have the following parameters. The possible values for each are listed with the value in bold being the default value:

  • mining_function : the type of ML to preform, only two option available for this,  classification or regression
  • score_metric: what metric to use for evaluating the models. Defaults for binary and multi classification balanced_accuracy is used and default for regression is neg_mean_squared_error. Other options for regression include r2, neg_mean_absolute_error and neg_median_absolute_error.  For classification other options include, accuracy, f1, precision, recall, roc_auc, f1_micro, f1_macro, f1_weighted, recall_micro, recall_macro, recall_weighted, precision_micro, precision_macro, precision_weighted
  • parallel: degree of parallelism to use,  None or a number.

Having defined ModelSelection settings, we can move onto using it to preform (black box) AutoML, using the ‘select’ function. Oracle doesn’t tell us what it does inside this black box except that it uses ML and meta-learning techniques to work out which algorithms to use, what subsets of the original data set to use to give use a optimal outcome. It’s there secret recipe!

The ‘select’ function elevates all the available algorithms, creating models for each or a subset of them based on the meta-learning, and returns the “best” one. The function returns just one model, which is the “best”. The value set for ‘k’ tells the function how many of the “best” or top models created, how many of these to tune before returning the “best” one.

Now, let’s run an example of the ‘select’ function and what parameters is can have

  • X: input data set consisting of the columns to use for Training.
  • y: the column containing the Target variable.
  • case_id: columns name of case_id, default is None. If supplied can be used for data sampling
  • k: the number of (best) models to tune. Default is 3, but can be set to any number between one and eight, as setting it higher than that has no effect as there aren’t any more than that number of algorithms in the database!
  • solver: allowed values are fast (default) and exhaustive. fast uses internal ML and meta-learning thereby reducing the search space.  exhaustive will be slower as it will evaluate all algorithms and options for creating a model.
  • cv: cross validation. Default is auto, but can be set to a number or set to None uses inputs defined in X_valid and y_valid defined below. auto will determine the number based on size of input data set, and when a number is provided will perform that number cross validation.
  • adaptive_sampling: use adaptive sampling to reduce data set size to speed up runtime of ‘select’ function. Default is True, otherwise use False.
  • X_valid: validation data set, default is None.
  • y_valid: validation target column, default is None.
  • time_budget: defines a time constraint on how how long, in seconds, to spend working out the solution. Default is None, or number for number of seconds. Useful for large data sets or for when you need a quicker results, and can be increased based on experimentation.

Here is a basic example of using the ‘select’ function, using the data frames created above as input, ‘k’ is set to five telling the function to tune the top five models created based on doing five fold cross-validation ‘cv’.

best_model = ms_bank.select(oml_bank_X, oml_bank_y, k=5, cv=5) 
best_model

This returns the following model information. We are told the algorithm used (RandomForest), the tuned algorithm settings, and what attributes from the input data frame are used in the tuned model.

(
Algorithm Name: Random Forest

Mining Function: CLASSIFICATION

Target: TARGET_Y

Settings: 
setting name setting value
0 ALGO_NAME ALGO_RANDOM_FOREST
1 CLAS_MAX_SUP_BINS 32
2 CLAS_WEIGHTS_BALANCED OFF
3 ODMS_DETAILS ODMS_DISABLE
4 ODMS_MISSING_VALUE_TREATMENT ODMS_MISSING_VALUE_AUTO
5 ODMS_RANDOM_SEED 0
6 ODMS_SAMPLING ODMS_SAMPLING_DISABLE
7 PREP_AUTO ON
8 RFOR_MTRY 10
9 RFOR_NUM_TREES 20
10 RFOR_SAMPLING_RATIO 0.5
11 TREE_IMPURITY_METRIC TREE_IMPURITY_ENTROPY
12 TREE_TERM_MAX_DEPTH 16
13 TREE_TERM_MINPCT_NODE 0.05
14 TREE_TERM_MINPCT_SPLIT 0.1
15 TREE_TERM_MINREC_NODE 10
16 TREE_TERM_MINREC_SPLIT 20

Attributes: 
AGE
CAMPAIGN
CONS_CONF_IDX
CONS_PRICE_IDX
CONTACT
DEFAULT_VALUE
DURATION
EDUCATION
EMP_VAR_RATE
EURIBOR3M
JOB
MARITAL
MONTH
NR_EMPLOYED
PDAYS
POUTCOME
PREVIOUS

Partition: NO

, 'rf')

[I’ve found the Oracle Documentation for (initial release of) OML4Py lacking with information. Hopefully the documentation will be updated]

I’ve mentioned before you need to exercise some caution with using AutoML due to various potential legal and moral issues. Can they be used as a quick way get an idea if ML will produce useful insights for your data. But the results from it should never be used for making business decisions and never deployed in production. Use it as a starting point, from which to build out an ML solutions with humans making the decisions on what to use and why to use them.

For a more detailed, step-by-step approach to AutoML check out this next post for more.

[Warning: Based on the functionality currently available in this early release of OML4Py, you will be limited in what you can do, not just with AutoML but with other features of OML4Py. Maybe check back at a later time when it has matured and has way more functionality, allowing you to do something useful with it!]