The ability to create and use Neural Networks on business data has been available in Oracle Database since Oracle 18c (18c and 19c are just slightly extended versions of Oracle 12c). With each minor database release we get some small improvements and minor features added. I’ve written other blog posts about other 20c new machine learning features (see here, here and here).
With Oracle 20c they have added a new neural network solver. This is called Adam Solver and the original research was conducted by Diederik Kingma from OpenAI and Jimmy Ba from the University of Toronto and they presented they work at ICLR 2015. The name Adam is derived from ‘adaptive moment estimation‘. This algorithm, research and paper has gathered some attention in the research community over the past few years. Most of this has been focused on the benefits of using it.
But care is needed. As with most machine learning (and deep learning) algorithms, they work up to a point. They may be good on certain problems and input data sets, and then for others they may not be as good or as efficient at producing an optimal outcome. Although using this solver may be beneficial to your problem, using the concept of ‘No Free Lunch’, you will need to prove the solver is beneficial for your problem.
With Oracle Machine Learning there are two Optimization Solver available for the Neural Network algorithm. The default solver is call L-BFGS (Limited memory Broyden-Fletch-Goldfarb-Shanno). This is one of the most popular solvers in use in most algorithms. The is a limited version of BFGS, using less memory (hence the L in the name) This solver finds the descent direction and line search is used to find the appropriate step size. The solver searches for the optimal solution of the loss function to find the extreme value (maximum or minimum) of the loss (cost) function
The Adam Solver uses an extension to stochastic gradient descent. It uses the squared gradients to scale the learning rate and it takes advantage of momentum by using moving average of the gradient instead of gradient. This allows the solver to work quickly by seeing less data and can work well with larger data sets.
With Oracle Data Mining the Adam Solver has the following parameters.
- ADAM_ALPHA : Learning rate for solver. Default value is 0.001.
- ADAM_BATCH_ROWS : Number of rows per batch. Default value is 10,000
- ADAM_BETA1 : Exponential decay rate for 1st moment estimates. Default value is 0.9.
- ADAM_BETA2 : Exponential decay rate for the 2nd moment estimates. Default value is 0.99.
- ADAM_GRADIENT_TOLERANCE : Gradient infinity norm tolerance. Default value is 1E-9.
The parameters ADAM_ALPHA and ADAM_BATCH_ROWS can have an effect on the timing for the neural network algorithm to produce the model. Some exploration is needed to determine the optimal values for this parameters based on the size of the data set. For example having a larger value for ADAM_ALPHA results in a faster initial learning before the rates is updated. Small values than the default slows learning down during training.
To tell Oracle Machine Learning to use the Adam Solver the DMSSET_NN_SOLVER parameter needs to be set. The default setting for a neural network is DMSSET_NN_SOLVER_LGFGS. But to use the Adam solver set it to DMSSET_NN_SOLVER_ADAM.
The following is an example of setting the parameters for the Adam solver and creating a neural network.
BEGIN DELETE FROM BANKING_NNET_SETTINGS; INSERT INTO BANKING_NNET_SETTINGS (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.algo_name, dbms_data_mining.algo_neural_network); INSERT INTO BANKING_NNET_SETTINGS (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.prep_auto, dbms_data_mining.prep_auto_on); INSERT INTO BANKING_NNET_SETTINGS (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.nnet_nodes_per_layer, '20,10,6'); INSERT INTO BANKING_NNET_SETTINGS (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.nnet_iterations, 10); INSERT INTO BANKING_NNET_SETTINGS (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.NNET_SOLVER, 'NNET_SOLVER_ADAM'); END; The addition of the last parameter overrides the default solver for building a neural network model.
To build the model we can use the following.
DECLARE v_start_time TIMESTAMP; BEGIN begin DBMS_DATA_MINING.DROP_MODEL('BANKING_NNET_72K_1'); exception when others then null; end; v_start_time := current_timestamp; DBMS_DATA_MINING.CREATE_MODEL( model_name. => 'BANKING_NNET_72K_1', mining_function => dbms_data_mining.classification, data_table_name => 'BANKING_72K', case_id_column_name => 'ID', target_column_name => 'TARGET', settings_table_name => 'BANKING_NNET_SETTINGS'); dbms_output.put_line('Time take to create model = ' || to_char(extract(second from (current_timestamp-v_start_time))) || ' seconds.'); END;
For me on my Oracle 20c Preview Database, this takes 1.8 seconds to run and create the neural network model ob a data set of 72,000 records.
Using the default solver, the model is created in 5.2 seconds. With using a small data set of 72,000 records, we can see the impact of using an Adam Solver for creating a neural network model.
These timings and the timings shown below (in seconds) are based on the Oracle 20c Preview Database, using a minimum VM sizing and specification available.
In a previous post I showed how to use the partition option in Oracle Data Mining to create many sub-models. This gives one overall driving model with each sub-model created on a different subset or partition of the training data set.
That blog post also showed the timing for creating the models and how this compares to creating one overall model for your data set, while achieving greater accuracy with model predictions.
This is all good. But can it scale more. What if I have significantly more data! How does this scale and how?
My previous blog post showed how the you can quickly partition the data into different subsets and some care is needed on choosing the attributes carefully for the partition key.
What if I want to run these different sub-models on the different data partitions in parallel on different slaves.
This is simple to do and can be achieved by adding one additional parameter to the Model Settings table. This parameter is called ODMS_PARTITION_BUILD_TYPE. This parameter has three possible values:
ODMS_PARTITION_BUILD_INTRA — Each partition is built in parallel using all slaves.
ODMS_PARTITION_BUILD_INTER — Each partition is built entirely in a single slave, but multiple partitions may be built at the same time since multiple slaves are active.
ODMS_PARTITION_BUILD_HYBRID — It is a combination of the other two types and is recommended for most situations to adapt to dynamic environments.
The default mode is
Although by default the model will try to run in parallel, I’ve found this is not necessarily the case. In my previous post I showed the timing to create a model on 72K records using different models. These timings are
One over all Model = 5.23 seconds
Partitioned Model (4 partitions/models) = 8.3 seconds
Partitioned Model (48 partitions/models) = 37 seconds
Now let’s change/set the ODMS_PARTITION_BUILD_TYPE parameter. The following code is the complete code to set the parameters and build upon those shown in the previous blog post.
BEGIN DELETE FROM BANKING_RF_SETTINGS; INSERT INTO banking_RF_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.algo_name, dbms_data_mining.algo_random_forest); INSERT INTO banking_RF_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.prep_auto, dbms_data_mining.prep_auto_on); INSERT INTO banking_RF_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.odms_partition_columns, 'MARITAL, JOB’); INSERT INTO banking_RF_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.odms_partition_build_type, 'ODMS_PARTITION_BUILD_INTER'); COMMIT; END;
The code to create the Model using CREATE_MODEL does not change.
So, how long this this take to run? In my DBaaS preview 20c database (basic setup) it too 6.6 seconds.
Remember that was for an input data set consisting of 72K records and the partition key creates 48 partitions and in-turn creates 48 different machine learning models.
This 6.6 seconds compares to 37 seconds when this parameter was not set or using the default.
No that is fast and available to everyone to use 🙂
Building machine learning models can be a relatively trivial task. But getting to that point and understanding what to do next can be challenging. Yes the task of creating a model is simple and usually takes a few line of code. This is what is shown in most examples. But when you try to apply to real world problems we are faced with other challenges. Some of which include volume of data is larger, building efficient ML pipelines is challenging, time to create models gets longer, applying models to new data in real-time takes longer (not possible in real-time), etc. Yes these are typically challenges and most of these can be easily overcome.
When building ML solutions for real-world problem you will be faced with building (and deploying) many 10s or 100s of ML models. Why are so many models needed? Almost every example we see for ML takes the entire data set and build a model on that data. When you think about it, not everyone in the data set can be considered in the same grouping (similar characteristics). If we were to build a model on the data set and apply it to new data, we will get a generic prediction. A prediction comparing the new data item (new customer, purchase, etc) with everyone else in the data population. Maybe this is why so many ML project fail as they are building generic solution that performs badly when run on new (and evolving) data.
To overcome this we start to look at the different groups of data in the data set. Can the data set be divided into a number of different parts based on some characteristics. If we could do this and build a separate model on each group (or cluster), then we would have ML models that would be more accurate with their predictions. This is where we will end up creating 10s or 100s of models. As you can imagine the work involved in doing this with be LOTs. Then think about all the coding needed to manage all of this. What about the complexity of all the code needed for making the predictions on new data.
Yes all of this gets complex very, very quickly!
Ideally we want a separate model for each group
But how can you do that efficiently? is it possible?
- make the building of models simple
- scales as the data and number of partitions increase
- includes all the steps part of the ML pipeline (all the data prep, transformations, etc)
- make predicting new data using the ML model simple
- make the deployment of the ML model easy
- make the MLOps process simple
- make the use of ML model easy to use by all developers no matter the programming language
- make the ML model build and ML model scoring quick and with better, more accurate predictions.
Let us work through an example. In this example lets start by creating a Random Forest ML model using the entire data set. The following code shows setting up the Parameters settings table. The second code segment creates the Random Forest ML model. The training data set being used in this example contains 72,000 records.
BEGIN DELETE FROM BANKING_RF_SETTINGS; INSERT INTO banking_RF_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.algo_name, dbms_data_mining.algo_random_forest); INSERT INTO banking_RF_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.prep_auto, dbms_data_mining.prep_auto_on); COMMIT; END; / -- Create the ML model DECLARE v_start_time TIMESTAMP; BEGIN DBMS_DATA_MINING.DROP_MODEL('BANKING_RF_72K_1'); v_start_time := current_timestamp; DBMS_DATA_MINING.CREATE_MODEL( model_name => 'BANKING_RF_72K_1', mining_function => dbms_data_mining.classification, data_table_name => 'BANKING_72K', case_id_column_name => 'ID', target_column_name => 'TARGET', settings_table_name => 'BANKING_RF_SETTINGS'); dbms_output.put_line('Time take to create model = ' || to_char(extract(second from (current_timestamp-v_start_time))) || ' seconds.'); END; /
This is the basic setup and the following table illustrates how long the CREATE_MODEL function takes to run for different sizes of training datasets and with different number of trees per model. The default number of trees is 20.
To run this model against new data we could use something like the following SQL query.
SELECT cust_id, target, prediction(BANKING_RF_72K_1 USING *) predicted_value, prediction_probability(BANKING_RF_72K_1 USING *) probability FROM bank_test_v;
This is simple and straight forward to use.
For the 72,000 records it takes just approx 5.23 seconds to create the model, which includes creating 20 Decision Trees. As mentioned earlier, this will be a generic model covering the entire data set.
To create a partitioned model, we can add new parameter which lists the attributes to use to partition the data set. For example, if the partition attribute is MARITAL, we see it has four different values. This means when this attribute is used as the partition attribute, Oracle Machine Learning will create four separate sub Random Forest models all until the one umbrella model. This means the above SQL query to run the model, does not change and the correct sub model will be selected to run on the data based on the value of MARITAL attribute.
To create this partitioned model you need to add the following to the settings table.
BEGIN DELETE FROM BANKING_RF_SETTINGS; INSERT INTO banking_RF_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.algo_name, dbms_data_mining.algo_random_forest); INSERT INTO banking_RF_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.prep_auto, dbms_data_mining.prep_auto_on); INSERT INTO banking_RF_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.odms_partition_columns, 'MARITAL’); COMMIT; END; /
The code to create the model remains the same!
The code to call and use the model remains the same!
This keeps everything very simple and very easy to use.
When I ran the CREATE_MODEL code for the partitioned model, it took approx 8.3 seconds to run. Yes it took slightly longer than the previous example, but this time it is creating four models instead of one. This is still very quick!
What if I wanted to add more attributes to the partition key? Yes you can do that. The more attributes you add, the more sub-models will be be created.
For example, if I was to add JOB attribute to the partition key list. I will now get 48 sub-models (with 20 Decision Trees each) being created. The JOB attribute has 12 distinct values, multiplied by the 4 values for MARITAL, gives us 48 models.
INSERT INTO banking_RF_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.odms_partition_columns, 'MARITAL,JOB');
How long does this take the CREATE_MODEL code to run? approx 37 seconds!
Again that is quick!
Again remember the code to create the model and to run the model to predict on new data does not change. This means our applications using this ML model does not change. This shows us we can very easily increase the predictive accuracy of our models with only adding one additional model, and by improving this accuracy by adding more attributes to the partition key.
But you do need to be careful with what attributes to include in the partition key. If the attributes have a very high number of distinct values, will result in 100s, or 1000s of sub models being created.
An important benefit of using partitioned models is when a new distinct value occurs in one of the partition key attributes. You code to create the parameters and models does not change. OML will automatically will pick this up and do all the work under the hood.
Oracle Machine Learning has 30+ different machine learning algorithms built into the database. This means you can use SQL to create machine learning models and then use these models to score or label new data stored in the database or as the data is being created dynamically in the applications.
One of the most commonly used machine learning algorithms, over the past few years, is can RandomForest. This post will take a closer look at this algorithm and how you can build & use a RandomForest model.
Random Forest is known as an ensemble machine learning technique that involves the creation of hundreds of decision tree models. These hundreds of models are used to label or score new data by evaluating each of the decision trees and then determining the outcome based on the majority result from all the decision trees. Just like in the game show. The combining of a number of different ways of making a decision can result in a more accurate result or prediction.
Random Forest models can be used for classification and regression types of problems, which form the majority of machine learning systems and solutions. For classification problems, this is where the target variable has either a binary value or a small number of defined values. For classification problems the Random Forest model will evaluate the predicted value for each of the decision trees in the model. The final predicted outcome will be the majority vote for all the decision trees. For regression problems the predicted value is numeric and on some range or scale. For example, we might want to predict a customer’s lifetime value (LTV), or the potential value of an insurance claim, etc. With Random Forest, each decision tree will make a prediction of this numeric value. The algorithm will then average these values for the final predicted outcome.
Under the hood, Random Forest is a collection of decision trees. Although decision trees are a popular algorithm for machine learning, they can have a tendency to over fit the model. This can lead higher than expected errors when predicting unseen data. It also gives just one possible way of representing the data and being able to derive a possible predicted outcome.
Random Forest on the other hand relies of the predicted outcomes from many different decision trees, each of which is built in a slightly different way. It is an ensemble technique that combines the predicted outcomes from each decision tree to give one answer. Typically, the number of trees created by the Random Forest algorithm is defined by a parameter setting, and in most languages this can default to 100+ or 200+ trees.
The Random Forest algorithm has three main features:
- It uses a method called bagging to create different subsets of the original training data
- It will randomly section different subsets of the features/attributes and build the decision tree based on this subset
- By creating many different decision trees, based on different subsets of the training data and different subsets of the features, it will increase the probability of capturing all possible ways of modeling the data
For each decision tree produced, the algorithm will use a measure, such as the Gini Index, to select the attributes to split on at each node of the decision tree.
To create a RandomForest model using Oracle Data Mining, you will follow the same process as with any of the other algorithms, the core of these are:
- define the parameter settings
- create the model
- score/label new data
Let’s start with the first step, defining the parameters. As with all the classification algorithms the same or similar parameters are set. With RandomForest we can set an additional parameter which tells the algorithm how many decision trees to create as part of the model. By default, 20 decision trees will be created. But if you want to change this number you can use the RFOR_NUM_TREES parameter. Remember the larger the value the longer it will take to create the model. But will have better accuracy. On the other hand with a small number of trees the quicker the model build will be, but might night be as accurate. This is something you will need to explore and determine. In the following example I change the number of trees to created to ten.
CREATE TABLE BANKING_RF_SETTINGS ( SETTING_NAME VARCHAR2(50), SETTING_VALUE VARCHAR2(50) ); BEGIN DELETE FROM BANKING_RF_SETTINGS; INSERT INTO banking_RF_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.algo_name, dbms_data_mining.algo_random_forest); INSERT INTO banking_RF_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.prep_auto, dbms_data_mining.prep_auto_on); INSERT INTO banking_RF_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES (dbms_data_mining.RFOR_NUM_TREES, 10); COMMIT; END;
Other default parameters used include, for creating each decision tree, use random 50% selection of columns and 50% sample of training data.
Now for step 2, create the model.
DECLARE v_start_time TIMESTAMP; BEGIN DBMS_DATA_MINING.DROP_MODEL('BANKING_RF_72K_1'); v_start_time := current_timestamp; DBMS_DATA_MINING.CREATE_MODEL( model_name => 'BANKING_RF_72K_1', mining_function => dbms_data_mining.classification, data_table_name => 'BANKING_72K', case_id_column_name => 'ID', target_column_name => 'TARGET', settings_table_name => 'BANKING_RF_SETTINGS'); dbms_output.put_line('Time take to create model = ' || to_char(extract(second from (current_timestamp-v_start_time))) || ' seconds.'); END;
The above code measures how long it takes to create the model.
I’ve run this same parameters and create models for different training data set sizes. I’ve also changed the number of decision trees to create. The following table shows the timings.
You can see it took 5.23 seconds to create a RandomForest model using the default settings for a data set of 72K records. This increase to just over one minute for a data set of 2 million records. Yo can also see the effect of reducing the number of decision trees on how long it takes the create model to run.
For step 3, on using the model on new data, this is just the same as with any of the classification models. Here is an example:
SELECT cust_id, target, prediction(BANKING_RF_72K_1 USING *) predicted_value, prediction_probability(BANKING_RF_72K_1 USING *) probability FROM bank_test_v;
That’s it. That’s all there is to creating a RandomForest machine learning model using Oracle Machine Learning.
It’s quick and easy 🙂
Oracle 20c Database comes with some new in-database Machine Learning algorithms.
The short name for one of these is called MSET or Multivariate State Estimation Technique. That’s the simple short name. The more complete name is Multivariate State Estimation Technique – Sequential Probability Ratio Test. That is a long name, and the reason is it consists of two algorithms. The first part looks at creating a model of the training data, and the second part looks at how new data is statistical different to the training data.
What are the use cases for this algorithm? This algorithm can be used for anomaly detection.
Anomaly Detection, using algorithms, is able identifying unexpected items or events in data that differ to the norm. It can be easy to perform some simple calculations and graphics to examine and present data to see if there are any patterns in the data set. When the data sets grow it is difficult for humans to identify anomalies and we need the help of algorithms.
The images shown here are easy to analyze to spot the anomalies and it can be relatively easy to build some automated processing to identify these. Most of these solutions can be considered AI (Artificial Intelligence) solutions as they mimic human behaviors to identify the anomalies, and these example don’t need deep learning, neural networks or anything like that.
Other types of anomalies can be easily spotted in charts or graphics, such as the chart below.
There are many different algorithms available for anomaly detection, and the Oracle Database already has an algorithm called the One-Class Support Vector Machine. This is a variant of the main Support Vector Machine (SVD) algorithm, which maps or transforms the data, using a Kernel function, into space such that the data belonging to the class values are transformed by different amounts. This creates a Hyperplane between the mapped/transformed values and hopefully gives a large margin between the mapped/transformed points. This is what makes SVD very accurate, although it does have some scaling limitations. For a One-Class SVD, a similar process is followed. The aim is for anomalous data to be mapped differently to common or non-anomalous data, as shown in the following diagram.
Getting back to the MSET algorithm. Remember it is a 2-part algorithm abbreviated to MSET. The first part is a non-linear, nonparametric anomaly detection algorithm that calibrates the expected behavior of a system based on historical data from the normal sequence of monitored signals. Using data in time series format (DATE, Value) the training data set contains data consisting of “normal” behavior of the data. The algorithm creates a model to represent this “normal”/stationary data/behavior. The second part of the algorithm compares new or live data and calculates the differences between the estimated and actual signal values (residuals). It uses Sequential Probability Ratio Test (SPRT) calculations to determine whether any of the signals have become degraded. As you can imagine the creation of the training data set is vital and may consist of many iterations before determining the optimal training data set to use.
MSET has its origins in computer hardware failures monitoring. Sun Microsystems have been were using it back in the late 1990’s-early 2000’s to monitor and detect for component failures in their servers. Since then MSET has been widely used in power generation plants, airplanes, space travel, Disney uses it for equipment failures, and in more recent times has been extensively used in IOT environments with the anomaly detection focused on signal anomalies.
How does MSET work in Oracle 20c?
An important point to note before we start is, you can use MSET on your typical business data and other data stored in the database. It isn’t just for sensor, IOT, etc data mentioned above and can be used in many different business scenarios.
The first step you need to do is to create the time series data. This can be easily done using a view, but a Very important component is the Time attribute needs to be a DATE format. Additional attributes can be numeric data and these will be used as input to the algorithm for model creation.
-- Create training data set for MSET CREATE OR REPLACE VIEW mset_train_data AS SELECT time_id, sum(quantity_sold) quantity, sum(amount_sold) amount FROM (SELECT * FROM sh.sales WHERE time_id <= '30-DEC-99’) GROUP BY time_id ORDER BY time_id;
The example code above uses the SH schema data, and aggregates the data based on the TIME_ID attribute. This attribute is a DATE data type. The second import part of preparing and formatting the data is Ordering of the data. The ORDER BY is necessary to ensure the data is fed into or processed by the algorithm in the correct time series order.
The next step involves defining the parameters/hyper-parameters for the algorithm. All algorithms come with a set of default values, and in most cases these are suffice for your needs. In that case, you only need to define the Algorithm Name and to turn on Automatic Data Preparation. The following example illustrates this and also includes examples of setting some of the typical parameters for the algorithm.
BEGIN DELETE FROM mset_settings; -- Select MSET-SPRT as the algorithm INSERT INTO mset_sh_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES(dbms_data_mining.algo_name, dbms_data_mining.algo_mset_sprt); -- Turn on automatic data preparation INSERT INTO mset_sh_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES(dbms_data_mining.prep_auto, dbms_data_mining.prep_auto_on); -- Set alert count INSERT INTO mset_sh_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES(dbms_data_mining.MSET_ALERT_COUNT, 3); -- Set alert window INSERT INTO mset_sh_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES(dbms_data_mining.MSET_ALERT_WINDOW, 5); -- Set alpha INSERT INTO mset_sh_settings (setting_name, setting_value) VALUES(dbms_data_mining.MSET_ALPHA_PROB, 0.1); COMMIT; END;
To create the MSET model using the MST_TRAIN_DATA view created above, we can run:
BEGIN -- DBMS_DATA_MINING.DROP_MODEL(MSET_MODEL'); DBMS_DATA_MINING.CREATE_MODEL ( model_name => 'MSET_MODEL', mining_function => dbms_data_mining.classification, data_table_name => 'MSET_TRAIN_DATA', case_id_column_name => 'TIME_ID', target_column_name => '', settings_table_name => 'MSET_SETTINGS'); END;
The SELECT statement below is an example of how to call and run the MSET model to label the data to find anomalies. The PREDICTION function will return a values of 0 (zero) or 1 (one) to indicate the predicted values. If the predicted values is 0 (zero) the MSET model has predicted the input record to be anomalous, where as a predicted values of 1 (one) indicates the value is typical. This can be used to filter out the records/data you will want to investigate in more detail.
-- display all dates with Anomalies SELECT time_id, pred FROM (SELECT time_id, prediction(mset_sh_model using *) over (ORDER BY time_id) pred FROM mset_test_data) WHERE pred = 0;
When you comes to working with R to access and process your data there are a number of little features and behaviors you need to look out for.
One of these is the DATE datatype.
The main issue that you have to look for is the TIMEZONE conversion that happens then you extract the data from the database into your R environment.
There is a datatype conversions from the Oracle DATE into the POSIXct format. The POSIXct datatype also includes the timezone. But the Oracle DATE datatype does not have a Timezone part of it.
When you look into this a bit more you will see that the main issue is what Timezone your R session has. By default your R session will inherit the OS session timezone. For me here in Ireland we have the time timezone as the UK. You would time that the timezone would therefore be GMT. But this is not the case. What we have for timezone is BST (or British Standard Time) and this takes into account the day light savings time. So on the 26th May, BST is one hour ahead of GMT.
OK. Let’s have a look at a sample scenario.
As mentioned above, when I select date of type DATE from Oracle into R, using ROracle, I end up getting a different date value than what was in the database. Similarly when I process and store the data.
The following outlines the data setup and some of the R code that was used to generate the issue/problem.
Create a table that contains a DATE field and insert some records.
CREATE TABLE STAFF (STAFF_NUMBER VARCHAR2(20), FIRST_NAME VARCHAR2(20), SURNAME VARCHAR2(20), DOB DATE, PROG_CODE VARCHAR2(6 BYTE), PRIMARY KEY (STAFF_NUMBER)); insert into staff values (123456789, 'Brendan', 'Tierney', to_date('01/06/1975', 'DD/MM/YYYY'), 'DEPT_1'); insert into staff values (234567890, 'Sean', 'Reilly', to_date('21/10/1980', 'DD/MM/YYYY'), 'DEPT_2'); insert into staff values (345678901, 'John', 'Smith', to_date('12/03/1973', 'DD/MM/YYYY'), 'DEPT_3'); insert into staff values (456789012, 'Barry', 'Connolly', to_date('25/01/1970', 'DD/MM/YYYY'), 'DEPT_4');
You can query this data in SQL without any problems. As you can see there is no timezone element to these dates.
Selecting the data
I now establish my connection to my schema in my 12c database using ROracle. I won’t bore you with the details here of how to do it but check out point 3 on this post for some details.
When I select the data I get the following.
> res<-dbSendQuery(con, "select * from staff") > data <- fetch(res) > data$DOB  "1975-06-01 01:00:00 BST" "1980-10-21 01:00:00 BST" "1973-03-12 00:00:00 BST"  "1970-01-25 01:00:00 BST"
As you can see two things have happened to my date data when it has been extracted from Oracle. Firstly it has assigned a timezone to the data, even though there was no timezone part of the original data. Secondly it has performed some sort of timezone conversion to from GMT to BST. The difference between GMT and BTS is the day light savings time. Hence the 01:00:00 being added to the time element that was extract. This time should have been 00:00:00. You can see we have a mixture of times!
So there appears to be some difference between the R date or timezone to what is being used in Oracle.
To add to this problem I was playing around with some dates and different records. I kept on getting this scenario but I also got the following, where we have a mixture of GMT and BST times and timezones. I’m not sure why we would get this mixture.
> data$DOB  "1995-01-19 00:00:00 GMT" "1965-06-20 01:00:00 BST" "1973-10-20 01:00:00 BST"  "2000-12-28 00:00:00 GMT"
This is all a bit confusing and annoying. So let us look at how you can now fix this.
Fixing the problem : Setting Session variables
What you have to do to fix this and to ensure that there is consistency between that is in Oracle and what is read out and converted into R (POSIXct) format, you need to define two R session variables. These session variables are used to ensure the consistency in the date and time conversions.
These session variables are TZ for the R session timezone setting and Oracle ORA_SDTZ setting for specifying the timezone to be used for your Oracle connections.
The trick there is that these session variables need to be set before you create your ROracle connection. The following is the R code to set these session variables.
> Sys.setenv(TZ = "GMT") > Sys.setenv(ORA_SDTZ = "GMT")
So you really need to have some knowledge of what kind of Dates you are working with in the database and if a timezone if part of it or is important. Alternatively you could set the above variables to UDT.
Selecting the data (correctly this time)
Now when we select our data from our table in our schema we now get the following, after reconnecting or creating a new connection to your Oracle schema.
> data$DOB  "1975-06-01 GMT" "1980-10-21 GMT" "1973-03-12 GMT" "1970-01-25 GMT"
Now you can see we do not have any time element to the dates and this is correct in this example. So all is good.
We can now update the data and do whatever processing we want with the data in our R script.
But what happens when we save the data back to our Oracle schema. In the following R code we will add 2 days to the DOB attribute and then create a new table in our schema to save the updated data.
> data$DOB  "1975-06-01 GMT" "1980-10-21 GMT" "1973-03-12 GMT" "1970-01-25 GMT" > data$DOB <- data$DOB + days(2) > data$DOB  "1975-06-03 GMT" "1980-10-23 GMT" "1973-03-14 GMT" "1970-01-27 GMT"
> dbWriteTable(con, "STAFF_2", data, overwrite = TRUE, row.names = FALSE)  TRUE
I’ve used the R package Libridate to do the date and time processing.
When we look at this newly created table in our Oracle schema we will see that we don’t have DATA datatype for DOB, but instead it is created using a TIMESTAMP data type.
If you are working with TIMESTAMP etc type of data types (i.e. data types that have a timezone element that is part of it) then that is a slightly different problem.
When working with Oracle Machine Learning (OML) you are creating notebooks which focus on a particular data exploration and possibly some machine learning. Despite it’s name, OML is used extensively for data discovery and data exploration.
One of the aims of using OML, or notebooks in general, is that these can be easily shared with other people either within the same team or beyond. Something to consider when sharing notebooks is what you are allowing other people do with your notebook. Without any permissions you are allowing people to inspect, run and modify the notebooks. This can be a problem because those people you are sharing with may or may not be allowed to make modification. Some people should be able to just view the notebook, and others should be able to more advanced tasks.
With OML Notebooks there are four primary types of people who can access Notebooks and these can have different privileges. These are defined as
- Developer : Can create new notebooks withing a project and workspace but cannot create a workspace or a project. Can create and run a notebook as a scheduled job.
- Viewer : They can just view projects, Workspaces and notebooks. They are not allowed to create or run anything.
- Manager : can create new notebooks and projects. But only view Workspaces. Additionally they can schedule notebook jobs.
- Administrators : Administrators of the OML environment do not have any edit capabilities on notebooks. But they can view them.
Oracle Autonomous Database (ADW) has been out a while now and have had several, behind the scenes, improvements and new/additional features added.
If you have used the Oracle Machine Learning (OML) component of ADW you will have seen the various sample OML Notebooks that come pre-loaded. These are easy to open, use and to try out the various OML features.
The above image shows the top part of the login screen for OML. To see the available sample notebooks click on the Examples icon. When you do, you will get the following sample OML Notebooks.
But what if you have a notebook you have used elsewhere. These can be exported in json format and loaded as a new notebook in OML.
To load a new notebook into OML, select the icon (three horizontal line) on the top left hand corner of the screen. Then select Notebooks from the menu.
Then select the Import button located at the top of the Notebooks screen. This will open a File window, where you can select the json file from your file system.
A couple of seconds later the notebook will be available and listed along side any other notebooks you may have created.
You have now imported a new notebook into OML and can now use it to process your data and perform machine learning using the in-database features.