Understanding the semantics of relational tables is instrumental for automation in data exploration and preparation systems. A key source for understanding a table is the semantics of its columns. With the rise of deep learning, learned table representations are now available, which can be applied for semantic type detection and achieve good performance on benchmarks. Nevertheless, we observe a gap between this performance and its applicability in practice. In this paper, we propose AdaTyper to address one of the most critical deployment challenges: adaptation. AdaTyper uses weak-supervision to adapt a hybrid type predictor towards new semantic types and shifted data distributions at inference time, using minimal human feedback. The hybrid type predictor of AdaTyper combines rule-based methods and a light machine learning model for semantic column type detection. We evaluate the adaptation performance of AdaTyper on real-world database tables hand-annotated with semantic column types through crowdsourcing and find that the f1-score improves for new and existing types. AdaTyper approaches an average precision of 0.6 after only seeing 5 examples, significantly outperforming existing adaptation methods based on human-provided regular expressions or dictionaries.
We recently proposed a new cluster operating system stack, DBOS, centered on a DBMS. DBOS enables unique support for ML applications by encapsulating ML code within stored procedures, centralizing ancillary ML data, providing security built into the underlying DBMS, co-locating ML code and data, and tracking data and workflow provenance. Here we demonstrate a subset of these benefits around two ML applications. We first show that image classification and object detection models using GPUs can be served as DBOS stored procedures with performance competitive to existing systems. We then present a 1D CNN trained to detect anomalies in HTTP requests on DBOS-backed web services, achieving SOTA results. We use this model to develop an interactive anomaly detection system and evaluate it through qualitative user feedback, demonstrating its usefulness as a proof of concept for future work to develop learned real-time security services on top of DBOS.
The fundamental goal of business data analysis is to improve business decisions using data. Business users such as sales, marketing, product, or operations managers often make decisions to achieve key performance indicator (KPI) goals such as increasing customer retention, decreasing cost, and increasing sales. To discover the relationship between data attributes hypothesized to be drivers and those corresponding to KPIs of interest, business users currently need to perform lengthy exploratory analyses, considering multitudes of combinations and scenarios, slicing, dicing, and transforming the data accordingly. For example, analyzing customer retention across quarters of the year or suggesting optimal media channels across strata of customers. However, the increasing complexity of datasets combined with the cognitive limitations of humans makes it challenging to carry over multiple hypotheses, even for simple datasets. Therefore mentally performing such analyses is hard. Existing commercial tools either provide partial solutions whose effectiveness remains unclear or fail to cater to business users. Here we argue for four functionalities that we believe are necessary to enable business users to interactively learn and reason about the relationships (functions) between sets of data attributes, facilitating data-driven decision making. We implement these functionalities in SystemD, an interactive visual analysis system enabling business users to experiment with the data by asking what-if questions. We evaluate the system through three business use cases: marketing mix modeling analysis, customer retention analysis, and deal closing analysis, and report on feedback from multiple business users. Overall, business users find SystemD intuitive and useful for quick testing and validation of their hypotheses around interested KPI as well as in making effective and fast data-driven decisions.
Understanding the semantics of tables at scale is crucial for tasks like data integration, preparation, and search. Table understanding methods aim at detecting a table's topic, semantic column types, column relations, or entities. With the rise of deep learning, powerful models have been developed for these tasks with excellent accuracy on benchmarks. However, we observe that there exists a gap between the performance of these models on these benchmarks and their applicability in practice. In this paper, we address the question: what do we need for these models to work in practice? We discuss three challenges of deploying table understanding models and propose a framework to address them. These challenges include 1) difficulty in customizing models to specific domains, 2) lack of training data for typical database tables often found in enterprises, and 3) lack of confidence in the inferences made by models. We present SigmaTyper which implements this framework for the semantic column type detection task. SigmaTyper encapsulates a hybrid model trained on GitTables and integrates a lightweight human-in-the-loop approach to customize the model. Lastly, we highlight avenues for future research that further close the gap towards making table understanding effective in practice.
Despite rapid developments in the field of machine learning research, collecting high-quality labels for supervised learning remains a bottleneck for many applications. This difficulty is exacerbated by the fact that state-of-the-art models for NLP tasks are becoming deeper and more complex, often increasing the amount of training data required even for fine-tuning. Weak supervision methods, including data programming, address this problem and reduce the cost of label collection by using noisy label sources for supervision. However, until recently, data programming was only accessible to users who knew how to program. To bridge this gap, the Data Programming by Demonstration framework was proposed to facilitate the automatic creation of labeling functions based on a few examples labeled by a domain expert. This framework has proven successful for generating high-accuracy labeling models for document classification. In this work, we extend the DPBD framework to span-level annotation tasks, arguably one of the most time-consuming NLP labeling tasks. We built a novel tool, TagRuler, that makes it easy for annotators to build span-level labeling functions without programming and encourages them to explore trade-offs between different labeling models and active learning strategies. We empirically demonstrated that an annotator could achieve a higher F1 score using the proposed tool compared to manual labeling for different span-level annotation tasks.
The practical success of deep learning has sparked interest in improving relational table tasks, like data search, with models trained on large table corpora. Existing corpora primarily contain tables extracted from HTML pages, limiting the capability to represent offline database tables. To train and evaluate high-capacity models for applications beyond the Web, we need additional resources with tables that resemble relational database tables. Here we introduce GitTables, a corpus of currently 1.7M relational tables extracted from GitHub. Our continuing curation aims at growing the corpus to at least 20M tables. We annotate table columns in GitTables with more than 2K different semantic types from Schema.org and DBpedia. Our column annotations consist of semantic types, hierarchical relations, range types and descriptions. The corpus is available at https://gittables.github.io. Our analysis of GitTables shows that its structure, content, and topical coverage differ significantly from existing table corpora. We evaluate our annotation pipeline on hand-labeled tables from the T2Dv2 benchmark and find that our approach provides results on par with human annotations. We demonstrate a use case of GitTables by training a semantic type detection model on it and obtain high prediction accuracy. We also show that the same model trained on tables from theWeb generalizes poorly.
Inferring meta information about tables, such as column headers or relationships between columns, is an active research topic in data management as we find many tables are missing some of this information. In this paper, we study the problem of annotating table columns (i.e., predicting column types and the relationships between columns) using only information from the table itself. We show that a multi-task learning approach (called Doduo), trained using pre-trained language models on both tasks outperforms individual learning approaches. Experimental results show that Doduo establishes new state-of-the-art performance on two benchmarks for the column type prediction and column relation prediction tasks with up to 4.0% and 11.9% improvements, respectively. We also establish that Doduo can already perform the previous state-of-the-art performance with a minimal number of tokens, only 8 tokens per column.
Data programming is a programmatic weak supervision approach to efficiently curate large-scale labeled training data. Writing data programs (labeling functions) requires, however, both programming literacy and domain expertise. Many subject matter experts have neither programming proficiency nor time to effectively write data programs. Furthermore, regardless of one's expertise in coding or machine learning, transferring domain expertise into labeling functions by enumerating rules and thresholds is not only time consuming but also inherently difficult. Here we propose a new framework, data programming by demonstration (DPBD), to generate labeling rules using interactive demonstrations of users. DPBD aims to relieve the burden of writing labeling functions from users, enabling them to focus on higher-level semantics such as identifying relevant signals for labeling tasks. We operationalize our framework with Ruler, an interactive system that synthesizes labeling rules for document classification by using span-level annotations of users on document examples. We compare Ruler with conventional data programming through a user study conducted with 10 data scientists creating labeling functions for sentiment and spam classification tasks. We find that Ruler is easier to use and learn and offers higher overall satisfaction, while providing discriminative model performances comparable to ones achieved by conventional data programming.
With the increase in scale and availability of digital text generated on the web, enterprises such as online retailers and aggregators often use text analytics to mine and analyze the data to improve their services and products alike. Text data analysis is an iterative, non-linear process with diverse workflows spanning multiple stages, from data cleaning to visualization. Existing text analytics systems usually accommodate a subset of these stages and often fail to address challenges related to data heterogeneity, provenance, workflow reusability and reproducibility, and compatibility with established practices. Based on a set of design considerations we derive from these challenges, we propose Leam, a system that treats the text analysis process as a single continuum by combining advantages of computational notebooks, spreadsheets, and visualization tools. Leam features an interactive user interface for running text analysis workflows, a new data model for managing multiple atomic and composite data types, and an expressive algebra that captures diverse sets of operations representing various stages of text analysis and enables coordination among different components of the system, including data, code, and visualizations. We report our current progress in Leam development while demonstrating its usefulness with usage examples. Finally, we outline a number of enhancements to Leam and identify several research directions for developing an interactive visual text analysis system.