View publication

In this paper, we present a purpose-built data management system, MLdp, for all machine learning (ML) datasets. ML applications pose some unique requirements different from common conventional data processing applications, including but not limited to: data lineage and provenance tracking, rich data semantics and formats, integration with diverse ML frameworks and access patterns, trial-and-error driven data exploration and evolution, rapid experimentation, reproducibility of the model training, strict compliance and privacy regulations, etc. Current ML systems/services, often named MLaaS, to-date focus on the ML algorithms, and offer no integrated data management system. Instead, they require users to bring their own data and to manage their own data on either blob storage or on file systems. The burdens of data management tasks, such as versioning and access control, fall onto the users, and not all compliance features, such as terms of use, privacy measures, and auditing, are available. MLdp offers a minimalist and flexible data model for all varieties of data, strong version management to guarantee re-producibility of ML experiments, and integration with major ML frameworks. MLdp also maintains the data provenance to help users track lineage and dependencies among data versions and models in their ML pipelines. In addition to table-stake features, such as security, availability and scalability, MLdp's internal design choices are strongly influenced by the goal to support rapid ML experiment iterations, which cycle through data discovery, data exploration, feature engineering, model training, model evaluation, and back to data discovery. The contributions of this paper are: 1) to recognize the needs and to call out the requirements of an ML data platform, 2) to share our experiences in building MLdp by adopting existing database technologies to the new problem as well as by devising new solutions, and 3) to call for actions from our communities on future challenges.

Related readings and updates.

Symphony: Composing Interactive Interfaces for Machine Learning

Interfaces for machine learning (ML), information and visualizations about models or data, can help practitioners build robust and responsible ML systems. Despite their benefits, recent studies of ML teams and our interviews with practitioners (n=9) showed that ML interfaces have limited adoption in practice. While existing ML interfaces are effective for specific tasks, they are not designed to be reused, explored, and shared by multiple…
See paper details

Understanding and Visualizing Data Iteration in Machine Learning

Successful machine learning (ML) applications require iterations on both modeling and the underlying data. While prior visualization tools for ML primarily focus on modeling, our interviews with 23 ML practitioners reveal that they improve model performance frequently by iterating on their data (e.g., collecting new data, adding labels) rather than their models. We also identify common types of data iterations and associated analysis tasks and…
See paper details