Continuous Deployment for Deep Learning

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Continuous integration and deployment has become an increasingly standard and common practice in software development. However, doing this for machine learning models and applications introduces many challenges. Not only do we need to account for standard code quality and integration testing, but how do we best account for changes in model performance metrics coming from changes to code, deployment framework or mechanism, pre- and post-processing steps, changes in data, not to mention the core deep learning model itself?

In addition, deep learning presents particular challenges:
* model sizes are often extremely large and take significant time and resources to train
* models are often more difficult to understand and interpret making it more difficult to debug issues
* inputs to deep learning are often very different from the tabular data involved in most ‘traditional machine learning’ models
* model formats, frameworks and the state-of-the art models and architectures themselves are changing extremely rapidly
* usually many disparate tools are combined to create the full end-to-end pipeline for training and deployment, making it trickier to plug together these components and track down issues.

We also need to take into account the impact of changes on wider aspects such as model bias, fairness, robustness and explainability. And we need to track all of this over time and in a standard, repeatable manner. This talk explores best practices for handling these myriad challenges to create a standardized, automated, repeatable pipeline for continuous deployment of deep learning models and pipelines. I will illustrate this through the work we are undertaking within the free and open-source IBM Model Asset eXchange.


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About Nick Pentreath


Nick Pentreath is a principal engineer in IBM's Center for Open-source Data & AI Technology (CODAIT), where he works on machine learning. Previously, he cofounded Graphflow, a machine learning startup focused on recommendations. He has also worked at Goldman Sachs, Cognitive Match, and Mxit. He is a committer and PMC member of the Apache Spark project and author of "Machine Learning with Spark". Nick is passionate about combining commercial focus with machine learning and cutting-edge technology to build intelligent systems that learn from data to add business value.
Nick has presented at over 30 conferences, webinars, meetups and other events around the world including many previous Spark Summits.