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I am excited to announce PyCaret, an open-source machine learning library in Python to train and deploy supervised and unsupervised machine learning models in a low-code environment. PyCaret allows you to go from preparing data to deploying models within seconds from your choice of notebook environment.

In comparison with the other open source machine learning libraries, PyCaret is an alternate low-code library that can be used to replace hundreds of lines of code with few words only. This makes experiments exponentially fast and efficient. PyCaret is essentially a Python wrapper around several machine learning libraries and frameworks such as scikit-learn, XGBoost, Microsoft LightGBM, spaCy, and many more.

PyCaret is simple and easy to use. All the operations performed in PyCaret are sequentially stored in a Pipeline that is fully orchestrated for deployment. Whether it’s imputing missing values, transforming categorical data, feature engineering, or even hyperparameter tuning, PyCaret automates all of it. To learn more about PyCaret, watch this 1-minute video:

YouTube video

Getting Started with PyCaret

The first stable release of PyCaret version 1.0.0 can be installed using pip. Using the command line interface or notebook environment, run the below cell of code to install PyCaret.

# install pycaret
pip install pycaret

When you install PyCaret, all dependencies are installed automatically. Click here to see the list of complete dependencies.

Step-by-Step Tutorial

Getting Data

In this step-by-step tutorial, we will use the ‘diabetes’ dataset and the goal is to predict patient outcome (binary 1 or 0) based on several factors such as Blood Pressure, Insulin Level, Age, etc. The dataset is available on PyCaret’s GitHub repository. The easiest way to import datasets directly from the repository is by using the get_data function from pycaret.datasets modules.

# loading dataset
from pycaret.datasets import get_data
diabetes = get_data('diabetes')

  • PyCaret can work directly with pandas dataframe.

Setting up Environment

The first step of any machine learning experiment in PyCaret is setting up the environment by importing the required module and initializing the setup function. The module used in this example is pycaret.classification.

Once the module is imported, the setup is initialized by defining the data frame (‘diabetes’) and the target variable (‘Class variable’).

# initialize setup
from pycaret.classification import *
exp1 = setup(diabetes, target = 'Class variable')

All the preprocessing steps are applied within setup(). With over 20 features to prepare data for machine learning, PyCaret creates a transformation pipeline based on the parameters defined in the setup function. It automatically orchestrates all dependencies in a pipeline so that you don’t have to manually manage the sequential execution of transformations on the test or unseen datasets. PyCaret’s pipeline can easily be transferred across environments to run at scale or be deployed in production with ease. Below are preprocessing features available in PyCaret as of its first release.

Data Preprocessing steps that are compulsory for machine learning such as missing values imputation, categorical variable encoding, label encoding (converting yes or no into 1 or 0), and train-test-split are automatically performed when setup() is initialized. Click here to learn more about PyCaret’s preprocessing abilities.

Compare Models

This is the first step recommended in supervised machine learning experiments (classification or regression). This function trains all the models in the model library and compares the common evaluation metrics using k-fold cross validation (by default 10 folds). The evaluation metrics used are:

  • Classification: Accuracy, AUC, Recall, Precision, F1, Kappa
  • Regression: MAE, MSE, RMSE, R2, RMSLE, MAPE

# compare baseline models

  • Metrics are evaluated using 10-fold cross-validation by default. It can be changed by changing the value of the fold parameter.
  • The table is sorted by ‘Accuracy’ (Highest to Lowest) value by default. It can be changed by changing the value of the sort parameter.

Create Model

Creating a model in any module of PyCaret is as simple as writing create_model. It takes only one parameter i.e. the model name passed as string input. This function returns a table with k-fold cross-validated scores and a trained model object.

# train model
adaboost = create_model('ada')

Variable ‘adaboost’ stores a trained model object returned by create_model function is a scikit-learn estimator. Original attributes of a trained object can be accessed by using period ( . ) after the variable. See the example below.

PyCaret has over 60 open-source ready-to-use algorithms. Click here to see a complete list of estimators/models available in PyCaret.

Tune Model

The tune_model function is used for automatically tuning hyperparameters of a machine learning modelPyCaret uses random grid search over a predefined search space. This function returns a table with k-fold cross validated scores and a trained model object.

# tune hyperparameters
tuned_adaboost = tune_model('ada')

The tune_model function in unsupervised modules can be used in conjunction with supervised modules. For example, PyCaret’s NLP module can be used to tune the number of topics parameter by evaluating an objective/cost function from a supervised ML model such as ‘Accuracy’ or ‘R2’.

Ensemble Model

The ensemble_model function is used for ensembling trained modelsIt takes only one parameter i.e. a trained model object. This function returns a table with k-fold cross-validated scores and a trained model object.

# train a model
dt = create_model('dt')

# ensemble a trained dt model
dt_bagged = ensemble_model(dt)

‘Bagging’ method is used for ensembling by default which can be changed to ‘Boosting’ by using the method parameter within the ensemble_model function.

PyCaret also provide blend_models and stack_models functionality to ensemble multiple trained models.

Plot Model

Performance evaluation and diagnostics of a trained machine learning model can be done using the plot_model function. It takes a trained model object and the type of plot as a string input within the plot_model function.

# train a model
adaboost = create_model('ada')

# plot decision boundary
plot_model(adaboost, plot = 'auc')

# plot boundary plot
plot_model(adaboost, plot = 'boundary')

# plot PR curve
plot_model(adaboost, plot = 'pr')

# plot validation curve
plot_model(adaboost, plot = 'vc')

Click here to learn more about different visualization in PyCaret.

Alternatively, you can use evaluate_model function to see plots via user interface within notebook.

# evaluate model

Interpret Model

When the relationship in data is non-linear which is often the case in real life we invariably see tree-based models doing much better than simple gaussian models. However, this comes at the cost of losing interpretability as tree-based models do not provide simple coefficients like linear models. PyCaret implements SHAP (SHapley Additive exPlanations using interpret_model function.

# train model
xgboost = create_model('xgboost')

# summary plot

# correlation plot
interpret_model(xgboost, plot = 'correlation')

Interpretation of a particular datapoint (also known as reason argument) in the test dataset can be evaluated using ‘reason’ plot. In the below example we are checking the first instance in our test dataset.

# reason plot
interpret_model(xgboost, plot = 'reason', observation = 0)

Predict Model

So far the results we have seen are based on k-fold cross-validation on the training dataset only (70% by default). In order to see the predictions and performance of the model on the test / hold-out dataset, the predict_model function is used.

# train a model
rf = create_model('rf')

# predict test / hold-out dataset
rf_holdout_pred = predict_model(rf)

The predict_model function is also used to predict unseen datasets. For now, we will use the same dataset we have used for training as a proxy for the new unseen dataset. In practice, the predict_model function would be used iteratively, every time with a new unseen dataset.

# generate predictions
predictions = predict_model(rf, data = diabetes)

  • The predict_model function can also predict a sequential chain of models which are created using stack_models and create_stacknet function.
  • The predict_model function can also predict directly from the model hosted on AWS S3 using the deploy_model function.

Deploy Model

One way to utilize the trained models to generate predictions on an unseen dataset is by using the predict_model function in the same notebooks / IDE in which the model was trained. However, making the prediction on an unseen dataset is an iterative process; depending on the use-case, the frequency of making predictions could be from real-time predictions to batch predictions. PyCaret’s deploy_model function allows deploying the entire pipeline including trained model on the cloud from notebook environment.

# deploy model
deploy_model(model = rf, model_name = 'rf_aws', platform = 'aws', authentication = {'bucket' : 'pycaret-test'})

Save Model / Save Experiment

Once training is completed the entire pipeline containing all preprocessing transformations and trained model object can be saved as a binary pickle file.

# train a model
adaboost = create_model('ada')

# save model
save_model(adaboost, model_name = 'ada_for_deployment')

You can also save the entire experiment consisting of all intermediary outputs as one binary file.

# save experiment
save_experiment(experiment_name = 'my_first_experiment')

  • You can load saved model and saved experiment using load_model and load_experiment function available in all modules of PyCaret.

Want to learn about a specific module?

As of the first release 1.0.0, PyCaret has the following modules available for use. Click on the links below to see the documentation and working examples.

Anomaly Detection
Natural Language Processing
Association Rule Mining

Important Links

User Guide / Documentation
Github Repository
Install PyCaret
Notebook Tutorials
Contribute in PyCaret