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What is AutoML in Machine Learning?

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Automated Machine Learning (automl) addresses the challenge of democratizing machine learning by automating the complex model development process. With applications in various sectors, AutoML aims to make machine learning accessible to those lacking expertise.

The article highlights the growing significance and implementation of machine learning across diverse sectors Automated Machine Learning (AutoML).

What is AutoML?

AutoML, short for automated machine learning, is the process of automating various machine learning model development processes so that machine learning can be more accessible for individuals and organizations with limited expertise in data science and machine learning. It has a set of techniques and tools that automate the process of selecting and fine-tuning machine learning models. The goal of automl is to make it easier for people with limited data science expertise to build and deploy high-performing machine learning models.

How does AutoML work?

AutoML, or Automated Machine Learning, refers to the use of automated tools and processes to make machine learning (ML) more accessible to individuals and organizations with limited expertise in data science and machine learning. The goal of AutoML is to automate the end-to-end process of applying machine learning to real-world problems.


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AutoML Cycle

The end-to-end automation facilitated by AutoML is geared towards making machine learning more practical and accessible for real-world problem-solving. It enables users to apply machine learning techniques to diverse domains, from simple tabular data analysis to more complex tasks like image recognition, natural language processing, and forecasting. AutoML doesn’t just stop at model training; it encompasses the entire lifecycle, including evaluation, validation, deployment, and ongoing monitoring and maintenance.

AutoML Systems

Automation Targets in AutoML systems can automate several steps involved in building a machine-learning model. Some of them are as follows:

  • Data preparation: Handling missing values, scaling features, encoding categorical variables, and splitting data into training and testing sets.
  • Feature engineering: Extracting useful features from raw data.
  • Model selection & Training: Choosing an appropriate machine learning algorithm and hyperparameters.
  • Hyperparameter tuning: Fine-tuning the settings of a machine learning model to optimize performance.
  • Ensemble modelling: Combining multiple models to improve performance.
  • Deployment: Putting a trained model into production
  • Monitoring and Maintenance: After the deployement model can be maintained and monitered based the new data.

What is AutoML used for?

AutoML, or Automated Machine Learning, is used to simplify and automate the end-to-end process of applying machine learning to real-world problems.

  • AutoML make machine learning accessible to a broader audience, including individuals with limited machine learning expertise. By automating complex tasks, it lowers the entry barrier for users who may not be experts in data science.
  • AutoML reduce the time and effort required to develop effective machine-learning models. Its tools often offer intuitive, user-friendly interfaces or APIs that let users provide their data and receive optimized machine-learning models without needing in-depth knowledge of the underlying algorithms and techniques.
  • Machine learning involves dealing with a variety of algorithms, hyperparameters, and data preprocessing techniques. Automayet machine learning automates the selection of the most suitable algorithm and hyperparameters for a specific task, reducing the complexity for users.
  • AutoML excels in the automatic optimization of hyperparameters, which are critical for achieving optimal model performance. This process can be time-consuming and requires expertise, making automation highly beneficial.

AutoML approaches may be used to perform a wide range of machine learning tasks, including classification, regression, clustering, deep learning, and even forecasting. They are capable of performing tasks ranging from simple tabular data analysis to more complicated picture recognition or natural language processing.

AutoML for Different Data Types

AutoML approaches may be used to perform a wide range of machine learning tasks, including classification, regression, clustering, deep learning, and even forecasting, Computer Vision.

They are capable of performing tasks ranging from simple tabular data analysis to more complicated picture recognition or natural language processing.

Tabular Data: Classification and Regression

AutoML systems are equipped to explore a variety of machine learning models suitable for tabular data. These may include decision trees, random forests, support vector machines, and more. The process involves automatically selecting the most appropriate model architecture based on the characteristics of the data.

Classification

In classification tasks, AutoML streamlines the workflow by automating the identification of patterns within the data.

  • It considers different classification algorithms, adjusts hyperparameters, and evaluates their performance to choose the most effective model.
  • The goal is to create a model that accurately categorizes new instances into predefined classes based on the patterns learned from labeled data.
  • It is particularly useful when you have limited expertise in machine learning, enabling faster and more accurate model deployment.

Regression

  • For regression tasks, where the objective is to predict numerical values, AutoML takes a similar approach, and automates the model selection and hyperparameter tuning process, saving time and resources.
  • Aims to optimize the model’s performance in predicting values within a given range, making it suitable for tasks like sales forecasting, price prediction, or any scenario involving numerical predictions.

AutoML’s automation of the model selection and tuning processes accelerates the analysis of quantitative relationships within tabular data. AutoML can be used also be used for Time Series Forecasting, by automatically exploring and evaluating multiple time series forecasting algorithms including traditional methods like ARIMA (AutoRegressive Integrated Moving Average).

Image Data: Computer Vision

AutoML broadens its scope to include image data, democratizing the application of machine learning in computer vision tasks. AutoML automates the process of selecting the most suitable model architectures for image recognition tasks.

  • Instead of manually defining features, AutoML algorithms can autonomously identify and extract essential patterns, textures, and structures from images.
  • AutoML optimizes models to categorize images into predefined classes or labels.
  • Applications including image tagging, content moderation, and automated sorting based on visual content are automated.
  • AutoML aids in automating object detection tasks, where the objective is to identify and locate specific objects within an image.
  • The system can choose or fine-tune models capable of detecting and outlining objects, contributing to applications like autonomous vehicles, surveillance, and robotics , optimizing hyperparameters specific to image recognition tasks, such as learning rates, batch sizes, and dropout rates.

Text Data: Natural Language Processing (NLP)

AutoML automates the process of extracting meaningful insights from text data, eliminating the need for manual feature engineering analyzing linguistic patterns, relationships, and structures within the text, facilitating the extraction of relevant information.

  • One of the key applications of AutoML in NLP is sentiment analysis, where the system evaluates and categorizes the sentiment expressed in textual content.
  • AutoML optimizes models for sentiment classification, distinguishing between positive, negative, or neutral sentiments within the text and condensing lengthy pieces of text into concise and informative summaries.
  • Leveraging AutoML, NLP tasks like language translation are streamlined.
  • AutoML contributes to NLP by automating Named Entity Recognition, identifying and classifying entities (such as names, locations, and organizations) within text.
  • This is valuable in extracting structured information from unstructured text, aiding in tasks like information extraction and document summarization.

AutoML models can be optimized to work seamlessly with multiple languages, providing a versatile solution for businesses and applications with global audiences.

Example of AutoML

Automated Machine Learning (automl) is a comprehensive approach aimed at automating the end-to-end process of applying machine learning to real-world problems. Traditionally, building a machine learning model involves several manual steps, including data preprocessing, feature engineering, model selection, hyperparameter tuning, and deployment. AutoML seeks to automate these steps to make machine learning more accessible to individuals with varying levels of expertise.

Top AutoML Tools

Auto ml systems automatically find, select, and optimize the best machine-learning model for a given dataset using sophisticated methods and techniques. It uses a variety of techniques to automate these tasks, such as genetic algorithms, Bayesian optimization, and reinforcement learning.

There are different tools and software available that are used to automate the machine learning processes. Some of them are as follows:

  • Auto Sklearn:
    AutoSklearn is an open-source auto ml framework that builds on the well-known scikit-learn library. It offers a simple interface for automating the process of creating machine learning models. AutoSklearn searches for the optimum model architecture, hyperparameters, and preprocessing procedures using a combination of Bayesian optimization and meta-learning.
  • Google AutoML
    Google Cloud auto ml offers a set of auto ml services for applications such as image recognition, natural language processing, and tabular data analysis. It provides a simple interface for creating and deploying bespoke machine-learning models. Google has also a Google auto ml Tables, which is a specialized automl tool for tabular data processing. It allows users to create and deploy machine learning models for applications like classification, regression, and time series forecasting that are specially optimized for tabular datasets.
  • H2O.ai
    H2O.ai provides H2O Driverless AI, an automl platform that automates the whole machine learning workflow. It consists of data preparation, feature engineering, model selection, and hyperparameter tuning. It can handle both structured and unstructured data.
  • Microsoft Azure AutoML
    The Microsoft Azure machine learning platform includes Azure automl. It supports for applications including classification, regression, and time series forecasting. It has a simple UI and works nicely with other Azure services.
  • Databricks AutoML
    Databricks automl is a utility that simplifies the process of developing machine learning models on huge datasets. It can handle a variety of tasks and offers an interactive environment for model building and assessment.
  • TIBCO Data Science
    TIBCO Data Science is a machine learning (ML) platform that allows users to create, deploy, and manage machine learning models. It automates many steps of the machine learning process and includes collaboration features for team-based development.
  • AutoKeras
    AutoKeras is an open-source automl package based on Keras and TensorFlow. It provides an easy-to-use interface for automating the process of generating deep learning models. AutoKeras offers image classification, regression, and text classification, among other things. It makes use of neural architecture search (NAS) to find the optimum neural network architecture and hyperparameters for a given dataset. AutoKeras automates model construction by managing architectural design, hyperparameter tuning, and model training.
  • Auto-PyTorch
    Auto-PyTorch is another open-source auto ml package that was created primarily to automate the process of generating deep-learning models using PyTorch. It offers a user-friendly interface for automated architectural search and hyperparameter optimization. To discover the optimum model architecture and hyperparameters, Auto-PyTorch uses Bayesian optimization and combines it with ensemble selection. It can perform image classification, tabular data classification, and time series forecasting, among other things. Auto-PyTorch allows users to focus on high-level problem formulation while it handles the model search and optimization processes.

Some automl platforms are specifically designed to work with certain types of data or tasks, such as image classification or natural language processing. Others are more general-purpose and can be applied to a wide range of problems.

AutoML vs Standard Approach

Automated Machine Learning (AutoML) represents a paradigm shift for machine learning, offering a stark departure from the traditional or standard approach.

The conventional methodology, data scientists typically navigate a labor-intensive process involving data preparation, feature engineering, model selection, and hyperparameter tuning, requiring a deep understanding of various algorithms and their intricate configurations, demanding considerable time, expertise, and manual effort to iteratively refine and optimize models.

In contrast, AutoML streamlines this complex workflow by automating many of these steps, making machine learning more accessible to a broader audience. AutoML tools handle tasks such as feature engineering, algorithm selection, and hyperparameter tuning automatically, reducing the need for extensive domain knowledge and expediting the model development cycle.

AutoML Model

Example For image Classification using AutoKeras. Let’s learn auto artificial intelligence.

Install AutoKeras using the following command:

!pip install autokeras

Step 1: Import the necessary libraries.

Python3

import os
import pathlib
import numpy as np
import tensorflow as tf
import autokeras as ak
 
import warnings
warnings.filterwarnings('ignore')

                    

Step 2: Load the flower dataset

Python3

# importing flower dataset
   
data_dir = tf.keras.utils.get_file('flower_photos',
                                   origin=dataset_url,
                                   untar=True)
data_dir = pathlib.Path(data_dir)

                    

Step 3: Split train, test and validation set

Python3

batch_size = 32
img_height = 240
img_width = 240
 
train_data = ak.image_dataset_from_directory(
    data_dir,
    # Use 15% data as testing data.
    validation_split=0.15,
    subset="training",
    # Set seed to ensure the same split when loading testing data.
    seed=23,
    image_size=(img_height, img_width),
    batch_size=batch_size,
)
 
test_data = ak.image_dataset_from_directory(
    data_dir,
    validation_split=0.15,
    subset="validation",
    seed=23,
    image_size=(img_height, img_width),
    batch_size=batch_size,
)

                    

Output:

Found 3670 files belonging to 5 classes.
Using 3120 files for training.
Found 3670 files belonging to 5 classes.
Using 550 files for validation.

Step 4: Build the automl model.

Python3

# Image classifier model
image_classifier = ak.ImageClassifier(num_classes = 5,
                                      multi_label = True,
                                      overwrite=True,
                                      max_trials=1)
# Train the model
image_classifier.fit(train_data, epochs=5)

                    

Output:

Search: Running Trial #1
Value |Best Value So Far |Hyperparameter
vanilla |vanilla |image_block_1/block_type
True |True |image_block_1/normalize
False |False |image_block_1/augment
3 |3 |image_block_1/conv_block_1/kernel_size
1 |1 |image_block_1/conv_block_1/num_blocks
2 |2 |image_block_1/conv_block_1/num_layers
True |True |image_block_1/conv_block_1/max_pooling
False |False |image_block_1/conv_block_1/separable
0.25 |0.25 |image_block_1/conv_block_1/dropout
32 |32 |image_block_1/conv_block_1/filters_0_0
64 |64 |image_block_1/conv_block_1/filters_0_1
flatten |flatten |classification_head_1/spatial_reduction_1/reduction_type
0.5 |0.5 |classification_head_1/dropout
adam |adam |optimizer
0.001 |0.001 |learning_rate
Trial 1 Complete [00h 08m 02s]
val_loss: 0.3753296434879303
Best val_loss So Far: 0.3753296434879303
Total elapsed time: 00h 08m 02s
INFO:tensorflow:Oracle triggered exit
Epoch 1/5
98/98 [==============================] - 110s 1s/step - loss: 0.9031 - accuracy: 0.4234
Epoch 2/5
98/98 [==============================] - 114s 1s/step - loss: 0.3507 - accuracy: 0.6224
Epoch 3/5
98/98 [==============================] - 109s 1s/step - loss: 0.2060 - accuracy: 0.8490
Epoch 4/5
98/98 [==============================] - 112s 1s/step - loss: 0.0995 - accuracy: 0.9497
Epoch 5/5
98/98 [==============================] - 106s 1s/step - loss: 0.0795 - accuracy: 0.9686

Step 5: Evaluate the model

Python3

# Evaluate the model
image_classifier.evaluate(test_data)

                    

Output:

18/18 [==============================] - 5s 276ms/step - loss: 0.5662 - accuracy: 0.5600
[0.5662239789962769, 0.5600000023841858]

Step 6: Load the image and Make Prediction

Image link used in the article

Python3

from PIL import Image
 
# Provide the path to the image file
image_path = "sunflower.jpeg"
 
# Load and preprocess a new image for prediction
new_image = Image.open(image_path)
# Resize the image
resized_image = new_image.resize((img_height, img_width))
resized_image

                    

Output:

Sunflower-Geeksforgeeks

Sunflower

Prediction

Python3

# Expand dimensions to match the expected shape (1, 240, 240, 3)
preprocessed_image = np.expand_dims(resized_image, axis=0)
 
# Make predictions
predictions = image_classifier.predict(preprocessed_image)
print(predictions)

                    

Output:

1/1 [==============================] - 0s 48ms/step
1/1 [==============================] - 0s 16ms/step
[['sunflowers']]

Advantages of AutoML

  1. Time-saving: automl eliminates the need for manual trial and error, which saves a significant amount of time in model building and optimization.
  2. Ease of use: automl requires less expertise in machine learning, making it accessible to a wider range of users.
  3. Scalability: automl can handle large datasets and complex machine-learning tasks, enabling the creation of more accurate models.
  4. Reduced bias: automl can help reduce bias in machine learning models by automating feature engineering and model selection processes.

Disadvantages of AutoML

  1. Limited customization: AutoML can produce models with high accuracy, but they may not always meet the specific requirements of a project or domain.
  2. Black box models: AutoML may generate models that are difficult to interpret, making it challenging to understand how a model arrived at its predictions.
  3. Cost: AutoML tools can be expensive, especially when used for large-scale machine-learning projects.
  4. Overfitting: AutoML can overfit the data if not carefully monitored, leading to poor generalization performance.
    Overall, AutoML can be a powerful tool for streamlining the machine-learning workflow and producing accurate models. However, it’s important to be aware of its limitations and ensure that the resulting models are appropriate for the given task and domain.

Conclusion

In conclusion, AutoML streamlines machine learning, offering a user-friendly approach for diverse applications. Its automated processes, exemplified by tools like AutoSklearn and Google AutoML, significantly reduce the barriers to entry for non-experts. While advantageous for time efficiency, it’s crucial to understand AutoML’s limitations for optimal and responsible use.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on AutoML

Q. Is AutoML part of MLOps?

Yes, AutoML (Automated Machine Learning) is often considered part of MLOps (Machine Learning Operations) for automated model deployment and management.

Q. Will AutoML replace machine learning?

No, AutoML simplifies model development, but expertise in machine learning is essential for complex tasks and problem-solving.

Q. Which AutoML is best?

No one-size-fits-all answer. Popular choices include Google AutoML, H2O.ai, and DataRobot. Selection depends on specific needs and preferences.

Q. Who uses AutoML?

Individuals with limited ML expertise, business analysts, and domain experts who seek streamlined model development processes.

Q. Is AutoML the future?

Yes, AutoML is poised to play a crucial role in democratizing machine learning, making it more accessible and efficient.



Last Updated : 08 Feb, 2024
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