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Domo Knowledge Base

Best Practices for AutoML

Version 1


Machine Learning process for success

What are the most common approaches in machine learning and how can I leverage them for business growth and success? The following are the most common principles used when applying machine learning to business problems. 

  1. Data Collection
    • The quantity & quality of your data dictates how accurate our model is.
    • The outcome of this step is generally a representation of data that we will use for training.
    • Using pre-collected data, by way of datasets from your business, or samples from Kaggle, UCI, etc.
  2. Data Preparation
    • Curate data and prepare it for training.
    • Clean that which may require it (remove duplicates, correct errors, deal with missing values, normalization, data type conversions, etc.)
    • Randomize data, which erases the effects of the particular order in which we collected and/or otherwise prepared our data.
    • Visualize data to help detect relevant relationships between variables or class imbalances (bias alert!), or perform other exploratory analysis.
    • Split into training and evaluation sets.
  3. Choose a Model
    • Different algorithms are for different tasks; choose the right one.
  4. Train the Model
    • The goal of training is to answer a question or make a prediction correctly as often as possible.
    • Linear regression example: algorithm would need to learn values for m (or W) and b (x is input, y is output.)
    • Each iteration of the process is a training step.
  5. Evaluate the Model
    • Uses some metric or combination of metrics to "measure" objective performance of the model.
    • Test the model against previously unseen data.
    • This unseen data is meant to be somewhat representative of model performance in the real world, but still helps tune the model (as opposed to test data, which does not.)
    • Good train/eval split? 80/20, 70/30, or similar, depending on the domain, data availability, dataset particulars, etc.
  6. Parameter Tuning
    • This step refers to hyperparameter tuning, which is an "art form" as opposed to a science.
    • Tune model parameters for improved performance.
    • Simple model hyperparameters may include: number of training steps, learning rate, initialization values, distribution, etc.
  7. Make Predictions
    • Using further (test set) data which have, until this point, been withheld from the model (and for which class labels are known), are used to test the model; a better approximation of how the model will perform in the real world.

Best practices in Machine Learning for business 

  1. A Machine Learning solution maps input→output.
    1. Always ask and explore how well your data explains (predicts) your output.
    2. If performance is better than the current process?
      1. Consider implementing.
      2. Perform cost-benefit analysis of model improvement vs cost of development to the business. (if low → keep going.)
    3. Not better than your current process?
      1. Improve your training data.
      2. Optimize your ML method.
      3. Learn more about how your data represents your domain.