Machine learning (ML) is revolutionizing how we do things. ML is changing the world as we know it, from diagnosing diseases to driving cars. But with this new technology comes new challenges that must be overcome if we want to continue reaping the benefits of ML. That’s where Machine Learning Operations (MLOps) comes in.
MLOps is a set of practices and tools that aim to help manage the entire ML lifecycle, i.e., data preparation through model inference and everything in between. In this article, we will explore what MLOps is, its benefits and how it helps to overcome some of the challenges with productizing Machine Learning models. But, there is much more to MLOps and they will be explored in a series of articles, starting with this. Read on to learn about MLOps, its challenges, and how they can be overturned into benefits for your enterprise.
What is Machine Learning?
Machine Learning (ML) is a subset of artificial intelligence that enables machines to accurately predict without being explicitly programmed. It is a method of letting computers learn from historical data (like photos, text, numbers, reports, etc.) to find patterns or make predictions through experience.
The primary objective of ML is to create computer models that exhibit “intelligent behaviors” like humans without their intervention. Just like how the human brain gains knowledge and understanding, the programmers feed the data into and let the computer model train itself to understand entities and the connections between them.
The challenges of productizing ML Models
As machine learning (ML) becomes more prevalent, companies are looking to use ML to create new products and services. Despite the many benefits of machine learning, there are some challenges, too — for instance, bias leading to inaccuracy, lack of clarity on ML models, and voluminous data.
- Data collection and preparation is a key challenge. In order to train an ML model, large amounts of data are needed. This data needs to be of high quality and accurately labeled. Once the data is collected, it needs to be cleaned and prepared for training. It can be a time-consuming and challenging process.
- Creating the ML model itself includes choosing the appropriate algorithms, training the model, and tuning it for performance. It can be a complex process.
- Deploying ML models includes packaging the model, deploying it to a server, and making it accessible to users. Additionally, the model needs to be monitored and updated as new data is collected.
- Machine learning algorithms can be biased if the data used to train them does not represent the real-world data they will be applied to. It can lead to biased and inaccurate results and conclusions.
- ML projects may require more work to coordinate and integrate with ML workloads. The cross-functional teams of data scientists and engineers will need to speak the same language to understand technical and business requirements.
- Model decay or drift is inevitable because it is a fallacy to assume that all future variables will remain the same as when the model was created. When the predictive ability of the model degrades, because of digital changes, ML models require retraining, i.e., refitting periodically. It is an additional challenge to know when the model has gone below a pre-defined threshold.
However, challenges notwithstanding, MLOps practices enable business transformation with a streamlined and collaborative approach to MLDC.
What is MLOps?
MLOps is a set of best practices that focuses on machine learning projects. While it may be based on DevOps principles of the continuous iterative approach, MLOps takes ML models to production to ensure high-quality models with rapid patches and releases, leading to enhanced customer satisfaction.
An MLOps platform enables collaboration between data engineers, data scientists, software engineers, and DevOps engineers to facilitate real-time feature engineering, model management, deployment, and monitoring. MLOps helps organizations speed up the process of delivering value from machine learning models by automating tasks, such as model training, tuning, deployment, and monitoring.
Some of the key capabilities of MLOps include the following:
Automated machine learning model building (AutoML)
MLOps helps automate the process of building machine learning models, from data pre-processing to model training and tuning.
Continuous integration and delivery
MLOps enables automating the process of packaging and deploying machine learning models. It ensures that models are always up-to-date and that changes can be easily rolled back if needed.
Model monitoring and management
MLOps can monitor an organization’s machine learning models in production and manage them effectively. It includes monitoring model performance, detecting drift, and managing model updates.
Model tracking and reproducibility
Model tracking helps with recording and managing model changes over time, allowing you to track the performance of your models and reproduce their results. Reproducibility helps you run the same algorithm repeatedly on specific data sets to verify the results. It helps ensure that the results are consistent, and if not the same, at least similar. The ability to replicate results also ensures that the model is scalable.
Clearly, MLOps has a lot to offer businesses. However, there are also a few challenges that must be overcome before putting them into practice.
The benefits of MLOps
MLOps helps organizations manage the end-to-end process of ML, from experimentation to deployment to performance monitoring. By helping to automate and streamline the process, MLOps helps organizations save time and resources. In addition, MLOps helps improve the quality of their ML models by making it easier to track and compare the performance of different models. With MLOps, you can
- Create reproducible ML environments, which is vital because it allows organizations to create an environment where they can experiment with different ML models and compare their performance.
- Automate the machine learning development cycle to ensure the repeatability of the model’s training, evaluation, versioning, and deployment.
- Manage ML model data, including the tracking of data sets, the versioning of data sets, and data quality management. Deploy ML models by provisioning infrastructure, creating deployment pipelines with CI/ CD practices, and monitoring deployed models.
- Manage the ML model performance by monitoring model accuracy and tuning model parameters.
- Save time with self-service environments that offer access to data sets, so data scientists and engineers work faster and more efficiently, improving productivity.
- Enforce policies to safeguard against data bias and improve model quality.
Overall, MLOps provides organizations with a set of best practices for productizing and operationalizing machine learning models. Furthermore, it helps organizations manage the end-to-end lifecycle of machine learning models.
Regardless of MLOps’s scope as a project demands, the benefits of MLOps include increased agility, improved model quality, governance, and better model management. MLOps can be leveraged to encompass everything from data pipelines to production, or it can be centered on one area, such as deployment.
MLOps is an essential solution for anyone working with machine learning, and its benefits are becoming increasingly apparent as the technology continues to evolve.
for your business?