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How-to

Training dataset for machine learning: a technical guide

Written by
Nicolas
Published on
2024-02-19
Reading time
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min
πŸ“˜ CONTENTS
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InΒ machine learning, the training dataset is like the foundation of a house - it's what determines the strength and stability of any AI model. Like an experienced mentor guiding a student, a well-designed dataset prepares and trains algorithms to recognize complex patterns and make informed decisions from real data. Imagine a world where AI is seamlessly integrated into our lives, improving our daily tasks and decisions. It all starts with quality data.

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Immerse yourself in this guide to understand how robust training data sets can empower algorithms to be not just functional, but intuitive and intelligent, reshaping the use of technology as we know it.

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A pictorial overview of the process of preparing data for AI... from collection to training (Source: Innovatiana)

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How do you define a training dataset?

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A training dataset is a large set of examples and data used to teach AI to make predictions or decisions. It is similar to a textbook filled with problems and answers for a student to learn. It is made up of input data that helps the AI learn, such as questions, and output data that tells the AI what the right answer is, such as the answers at the end of the textbook.

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The quality of this "manual" - that is, the quality and diversity of the examples - can make AI intelligent and capable of handling real-world tasks. This is an indispensable step in creating AI that really understands and helps us. In practice, AI needs annotated or labeled data. This data is to be distinguished from "raw" or unlabeled data. Let's start by defining these concepts.

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What is unlabeled data in AI?

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Unlabeled data is the exact opposite of labels. Raw data is unlabeled and does not identify the classification, characteristic or property of an object (image, video, audio or text). It can be used for unsupervised unsupervised machine learning in which ML models have to search for similarity patterns. In an unlabeled training example of apple, banana and grape, images of these fruits will not be labeled. The model must examine all the images and its features, including color and shape, without having any hints.

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What about tagged data?

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In the field of artificial intelligence (AI), labeled (or annotated) data is data to which additional information has been added, usually in the form of labels or tags, to indicate certain characteristics or classifications. These labels provide explicit indications of the characteristics of the data, thus facilitating the supervised learning of AI models.

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Labeled and unlabeled data... for AI models. A training dataset, raw or labeled, will be used by an AI model to learn and improve.

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Why is dataset training critical to the machine learning process?

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The importance of training with a dataset in the machine learning process should not be underestimated:

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Training for model-based learning

Training datasets form the foundation of model learning; without quality data, a model cannot understand the associations it needs to accurately predict outcomes.

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Performance measurement

Training measures a model's accuracy, showing how well it can predict new, unseen data based on what it has learned from the test data. This is iterative work, and poor-quality data or data mistakenly inserted into a dataset can degrade a model's performance.

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Bias reduction

A diverse, well-represented training dataset can minimize bias, making model decisions more fair and reliable.

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Understanding characteristics

Through training, the models discern the most predictive features, an essential step towards relevant and robust predictions.

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How do you train a dataset for machine learning models?

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To make an AI model impactful, performant, and improve the machine learning process, we run the data through different models and various procedures or steps so that the final model is exactly what we need. Here are the steps involved in training a dataset to make it good enough for the machine learning process or building a tool that uses AI to perform.

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Step 1: Select the right data

To use a dataset effectively, we start by gathering a set of relevant, high-quality test data. This data must be varied and represent the problem we aim to solve with the machine learning tool. We ensure that it includes different scenarios and outcomes that the model may encounter in real-life situations.

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Step 2: Data pre-processing

Before using data, it must be prepared. We clean it up, removing any errors or irrelevant information. Then we organize it so that the machine learning algorithm can work with it.

Step 3: Splitting the dataset

We divide our dataset into two parts: training data and test data. The training set teaches the model, while the test and validation set checks the quality of the model. This test occurs after the model has learned from the training data.

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Step 4: Model training

Next, we teach our model instructions with the training dataset. The model examines the data and tries to learn and find patterns. We use algorithms for this work - the rules that guide the model in learning and making subsequent decisions.

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Step 5: Check for data overfitting

Another important aspect of dataset training is the concept of overfitting. Overfitting occurs when a model works extremely well on the training dataset but fails to generalize to new, unseen data. This can happen if the training data set is too specific or not representative enough. To avoid over-fitting, it is necessary to have a diverse and unbiased training dataset.

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Step 6: Evaluation and adjustment

After training, we test the model with our test dataset. We see how well it predicts or decides. If it doesn't, we make changes and try again. This step is called tuning. We continue to do this until the final model fit is good at its job.

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Step 7: Ongoing improvements

Ultimately, re-training the model with new data is necessary to keep it up to date and make accurate predictions. As new patterns emerge, the model must adapt and learn from them. This process of continuous training and updating of the dataset helps to build a reliable and effective machine learning tool.

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How do you know if your machine learning training dataset is effective?

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To measure the effectiveness of our training dataset, we can observe several key factors. First, the model must perform well not only on the training data but also on validation sets of new, unseen data. This shows that the model can apply what it has learned from the split data to real-life situations.

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- Accuracy : An efficient dataset translates into performance with a high model accuracy rate when making predictions on the same data that Data Scientists have used for the test set.

- Less overfitting: If our model generalizes well, this means that our dataset has managed to avoid overfitting.

- Fairness : Our dataset must not unfairly favor one result over another. A fair and unbiased model shows that our data is diverse and representative of all scenarios.

- Continuous improvement: As new data is introduced, the model must continue to learn and improve. This adaptability indicates the ongoing relevance of a dataset.

- Cross-validation: By using a validation dataset with cross-validation techniques, where the dataset is rotated through the training and validation phases, we can check the consistency of model performance.

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An effective training dataset creates a machine learning model that is accurate, fair, adaptable and reliable. These qualities ensure that the tool is practical for real-world applications.

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How is the dataset used to train a Computer Vision model?

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Computer Vision models can be trained by supervised learning, where the model learns from labeled data. Here's an example of how we use supervised learning to train computer vision models:

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Data curation and tagging

The first step in the process of training a Computer Vision model is to collect and prepare the images it will learn. We label these images, which means we describe what each image shows with tags or annotations. This tells the model what to look for in the images.

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Teaching to the model

Next, we feed the model with labeled images. The model uses them to learn to recognize similar elements in new images. It's like showing someone lots of pictures of cats so they know what a cat looks like.

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Checking the model's work

After the model has examined numerous labeled images, we test them with new images. We see if the model can find and recognize objects on its own now. If it makes mistakes, we help it to learn from them, so that it can improve.

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Use of unknown data

Finally, we give the model images it has never seen before, without any labels. This serves to train the model and check how well it has really learned. If the model can understand these images correctly, it's ready to be used for real tasks.

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Computer Vision models learn from labeled data, so that they can then identify objects and patterns on their own. Over time, with our help and guidance, they become better at what they do.

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What are some common precautions to take when training AI models?

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When using datasets for machine learning, we need to pay attention to :

- Limiting biases: Monitor biases, which can creep in from the data we use. This keeps the model accurate.

- Use enough data: Get lots of different data so that the model learns well and can work in many different situations.

- Clean data: Correct errors or missing information in the data to ensure that the model learns the right things.

- Test with new data: Always check the model with new data not used in training, to make sure it can handle new situations.

- Keeping data secure: Ensuring that personal or private information is not used in data to protect people's privacy.

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Frequently asked questions

To ensure the quality of the validation data in your training dataset, you should: 1/ Ensure that the data are clean and free of errors or inconsistencies; 2/ Include a diverse range of examples to identify, prevent bias and improve the generalization capabilities of the model; 3/ Use sufficient data, which is essential for evaluating the effectiveness and accuracy of the model; 4/ Perform data augmentation to increase the variety of data without actually collecting new data.
A diverse and representative training dataset ensures that the machine learning model can operate accurately under a variety of conditions and demographics, preventing bias and ensuring fairness. It helps the model generalize better to new, unseen data, enhancing its practical applications.
A training dataset needs to be updated regularly to reflect new information, changing patterns or trends in the data it represents. The frequency of updates depends on how quickly the underlying data changes; rapidly evolving domains may require more frequent test set updates than more stable domains.

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Last words

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Training datasets are a mainstay in the development of any AI tool or machine learning program. It's something you can't overlook, and without it, you can't achieve your desired results with your AI models or the products you plan to program. So, look for help from this information on dataset training and let us know if you'd like us to do the same for you! We're here to help !

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