Despite the tremendous efforts to democratize machine learning, especially in applied-science, the application is still often hampered by the lack of coding skills. As we consider programmatic understanding key to building effective and efficient machine learning solutions, we argue for a novel educational approach that builds upon the accessibility and acceptance of graphical user interfaces to convey programming skills to an applied-science target group. We outline a proof-of-concept, open-source web application, the PHOTON Wizard, which dynamically translates GUI interactions into valid source code for the Python machine learning framework PHOTON. Thereby, users possessing theoretical machine learning knowledge gain key insights into the model development workflow as well as an intuitive understanding of custom implementations. Specifically, the PHOTON Wizard integrates the concept of Educational Machine Learning Code Generators to teach users how to write code for designing, training, optimizing and evaluating custom machine learning pipelines.
This article describes the implementation and use of PHOTON, a high-level Python API designed to simplify and accelerate the process of machine learning model development. It enables designing both basic and advanced machine learning pipeline architectures and automatizes the repetitive training, optimization and evaluation workflow. PHOTON offers easy access to established machine learning toolboxes as well as the possibility to integrate custom algorithms and solutions for any part of the model construction and evaluation process. By adding a layer of abstraction incorporating current best practices it offers an easy-to-use, flexible approach to implementing fast, reproducible, and unbiased machine learning solutions.