Drawing from discussions at the inaugural DMLR workshop at ICML 2023 and meetings prior, in this report we outline the relevance of community engagement and infrastructure development for the creation of next-generation public datasets that will advance machine learning science. We chart a path forward as a collective effort to sustain the creation and maintenance of these datasets and methods towards positive scientific, societal and business impact.
* This editorial report accompanies the inaugural Data-centric Machine
Learning Research (DMLR) Workshop that took place at ICML 2023
Machine learning (ML) research has generally focused on models, while the most prominent datasets have been employed for everyday ML tasks without regard for the breadth, difficulty, and faithfulness of these datasets to the underlying problem. Neglecting the fundamental importance of datasets has caused major problems involving data cascades in real-world applications and saturation of dataset-driven criteria for model quality, hindering research growth. To solve this problem, we present DataPerf, a benchmark package for evaluating ML datasets and dataset-working algorithms. We intend it to enable the "data ratchet," in which training sets will aid in evaluating test sets on the same problems, and vice versa. Such a feedback-driven strategy will generate a virtuous loop that will accelerate development of data-centric AI. The MLCommons Association will maintain DataPerf.
Medical AI has tremendous potential to advance healthcare by supporting the evidence-based practice of medicine, personalizing patient treatment, reducing costs, and improving provider and patient experience. We argue that unlocking this potential requires a systematic way to measure the performance of medical AI models on large-scale heterogeneous data. To meet this need, we are building MedPerf, an open framework for benchmarking machine learning in the medical domain. MedPerf will enable federated evaluation in which models are securely distributed to different facilities for evaluation, thereby empowering healthcare organizations to assess and verify the performance of AI models in an efficient and human-supervised process, while prioritizing privacy. We describe the current challenges healthcare and AI communities face, the need for an open platform, the design philosophy of MedPerf, its current implementation status, and our roadmap. We call for researchers and organizations to join us in creating the MedPerf open benchmarking platform.
Many active learning and search approaches are intractable for industrial settings with billions of unlabeled examples. Existing approaches, such as uncertainty sampling or information density, search globally for the optimal examples to label, scaling linearly or even quadratically with the unlabeled data. However, in practice, data is often heavily skewed; only a small fraction of collected data will be relevant for a given learning task. For example, when identifying rare classes, detecting malicious content, or debugging model performance, the ratio of positive to negative examples can be 1 to 1,000 or more. In this work, we exploit this skew in large training datasets to reduce the number of unlabeled examples considered in each selection round by only looking at the nearest neighbors to the labeled examples. Empirically, we observe that learned representations effectively cluster unseen concepts, making active learning very effective and substantially reducing the number of viable unlabeled examples. We evaluate several active learning and search techniques in this setting on three large-scale datasets: ImageNet, Goodreads spoiler detection, and OpenImages. For rare classes, active learning methods need as little as 0.31% of the labeled data to match the average precision of full supervision. By limiting active learning methods to only consider the immediate neighbors of the labeled data as candidates for labeling, we need only process as little as 1% of the unlabeled data while achieving similar reductions in labeling costs as the traditional global approach. This process of expanding the candidate pool with the nearest neighbors of the labeled set can be done efficiently and reduces the computational complexity of selection by orders of magnitude.
Machine-learning (ML) hardware and software system demand is burgeoning. Driven by ML applications, the number of different ML inference systems has exploded. Over 100 organizations are building ML inference chips, and the systems that incorporate existing models span at least three orders of magnitude in power consumption and four orders of magnitude in performance; they range from embedded devices to data-center solutions. Fueling the hardware are a dozen or more software frameworks and libraries. The myriad combinations of ML hardware and ML software make assessing ML-system performance in an architecture-neutral, representative, and reproducible manner challenging. There is a clear need for industry-wide standard ML benchmarking and evaluation criteria. MLPerf Inference answers that call. Driven by more than 30 organizations as well as more than 200 ML engineers and practitioners, MLPerf implements a set of rules and practices to ensure comparability across systems with wildly differing architectures. In this paper, we present the method and design principles of the initial MLPerf Inference release. The first call for submissions garnered more than 600 inference-performance measurements from 14 organizations, representing over 30 systems that show a range of capabilities.
Machine learning is experiencing an explosion of software and hardware solutions, and needs industry-standard performance benchmarks to drive design and enable competitive evaluation. However, machine learning training presents a number of unique challenges to benchmarking that do not exist in other domains: (1) some optimizations that improve training throughput actually increase time to solution, (2) training is stochastic and time to solution has high variance, and (3) the software and hardware systems are so diverse that they cannot be fairly benchmarked with the same binary, code, or even hyperparameters. We present MLPerf, a machine learning benchmark that overcomes these challenges. We quantitatively evaluate the efficacy of MLPerf in driving community progress on performance and scalability across two rounds of results from multiple vendors.
Data selection methods such as active learning and core-set selection are useful tools for machine learning on large datasets, but they can be prohibitively expensive to apply in deep learning. Unlike in other areas of machine learning, the feature representations that these techniques depend on are learned in deep learning rather than given, which takes a substantial amount of training time. In this work, we show that we can significantly improve the computational efficiency of data selection in deep learning by using a much smaller proxy model to perform data selection for tasks that will eventually require a large target model (e.g., selecting data points to label for active learning). In deep learning, we can scale down models by removing hidden layers or reducing their dimension to create proxies that are an order of magnitude faster. Although these small proxy models have significantly higher error, we find that they empirically provide useful rankings for data selection that have a high correlation with those of larger models. We evaluate this "selection via proxy" (SVP) approach on several data selection tasks. For active learning, applying SVP to Sener and Savarese 's recent method for active learning in deep learning gives a 4x improvement in execution time while yielding the same model accuracy. For core-set selection, we show that a proxy model that trains 10x faster than a target ResNet164 model on CIFAR10 can be used to remove 50% of the training data without compromising the accuracy of the target model, making end-to-end training time improvements via core-set selection possible.
The deep learning community has proposed optimizations spanning hardware, software, and learning theory to improve the computational performance of deep learning workloads. While some of these optimizations perform the same operations faster (e.g., switching from a NVIDIA K80 to P100), many modify the semantics of the training procedure (e.g., large minibatch training, reduced precision), which can impact a model's generalization ability. Due to a lack of standard evaluation criteria that considers these trade-offs, it has become increasingly difficult to compare these different advances. To address this shortcoming, DAWNBENCH and the upcoming MLPERF benchmarks use time-to-accuracy as the primary metric for evaluation, with the accuracy threshold set close to state-of-the-art and measured on a held-out dataset not used in training; the goal is to train to this accuracy threshold as fast as possible. In DAWNBENCH , the winning entries improved time-to-accuracy on ImageNet by two orders of magnitude over the seed entries. Despite this progress, it is unclear how sensitive time-to-accuracy is to the chosen threshold as well as the variance between independent training runs, and how well models optimized for time-to-accuracy generalize. In this paper, we provide evidence to suggest that time-to-accuracy has a low coefficient of variance and that the models tuned for it generalize nearly as well as pre-trained models. We additionally analyze the winning entries to understand the source of these speedups, and give recommendations for future benchmarking efforts.