Apple ML

Machine Learning and more with Apple

An open notebook to my experiments with Apple’s CoreML and other frameworks, as well as Swift, Xcode and more Apple goodies.

Take a look and enjoy.

CoreML - iOS App Implementation for the Boston Price Model (Part 1)

Hey! How are things? I hope the beginning of the year is looking great for you all. As promised, I am back to continue the open notebook for the implementation of a Core ML model in a simple iOS app. In one of the previous post we created a linear regression model to predict prices for Boston properties (1970 prices that is!) based on two inputs: the crime rate per capita in the area and the average number of rooms in the property. Also, we saw (in a different post) the way in which Core ML implements the properties of the model to be used in an iOS app to carry out the prediction on device!

In this post we will start building the iOS app that will use the model to enable our users to generate a prediction based on input values for the parameters used in the model. Our aim is to build a simple interface where the user enters the values and the predicted price is shown. Something like the following screenshot:

You will need to have access to a Mac with the latest version Xcode. At the time of writing I am using Xcode 9.2. We will cover the development of the app, but not so much the deployment (we may do so in case people make it known to me that there is interest).

In Xcode we will select the "Create New Project" and in the next dialogue box, from the menu at the top make sure that you select "iOS" and from the options shown, please select the "Single View App" option and then click the "Next" button.

This will create an iOS app with a single page. If you need more pages/views, this is still a good place to start, as you can add further "View Controllers" while you develop the app. Right, so in the next dialogue box Xcode will be asking for options to create the new project. Give your project a name, something that makes it easier to elucidate what your project is about. In this case I am calling the project "BostonPricer". You can also provide the name of a team (team of developers contributing to your app for instance) as well as an organisation name and identifier. In our case these are not that important and you can enter any suitable values you desire. Please note that this becomes more important in case you are planning to send your app for approval to Apple. Anyway, make sure that you select "Swift" as the programming language and we are leaving the option boxes for "Use Core Data", "Include Unit Tests" and "Include UI Tests" unticked. I am redacting some values below:

On the left-hand side menu, click on the "Main.storyboard". This is the main view that our users will see and interact with. It is here where we will create the design, look-and-feel and interactions in our app.

 

We will start placing a few objects in our app, some of them will be used simple to display text (labels and information), whereas others will be used to create interactions, in particular to select input values and to generate the prediction. To do that we will use the "Object Library". In the current window of Xcode, on the bottom-right corner you will see an icon that looks like a little square inside a circle; this is the "Show the Object Library" icon. When you select it, at the bottom of the area you will see a search bar. There you will look for the following objects:

  • Label
  • Picker View
  • Button

You will need three labels, one picker and one button. You can drag each of the elements from the "Object Library" results shown and into the story board. You can edit the text for the labels and the button by double clicking on them. Do not worry about the text shown for the picker; we will these with these values in future posts.  Arrange the elements as shown in the screenshot below:

OK, so far so good. In the next few posts we will start creating the functionality for each of these elements and implement the prediction generated by the model we have developed. Keep in touch.

You can look at the code (in development) in my github site here.

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CoreML - Model properties

If you have been following the posts in this open notebook, you may know that by now we have managed to create a linear regression model for the Boston Price dataset based on two predictors, namely crime rate and average number of rooms. It is by no means the best model out there ad our aim is to explore the creation of a model (in this case with Python) and convert it to a Core ML model that can be deployed in an iOS app.

Before move on to the development of the app, I thought it would be good to take a look at the properties of the converted model. If we open the PriceBoston.mlmodel we saved in the previous post (in Xcode of course) we will see the following information:

We can see the name of the model (PriceBoston) and the fact that it is a "Pipeline Regressor". The model can be given various attributes such as Author, Description, License, etc. We can also see the listing of the Model Evaluation Parameters in the form of Inputs (crime rate and number of rooms) and Outputs (price). There is also an entry to describe the Model Class (PriceBoston) and without attaching this model to a target the class is actually not present. Once we make this model part of a target inside an app, Xcode will generate the appropriate code

Just to give you a flavour of the code that will be generated when we attach this model to a target, please take a look at the screenshot below:


You can see that the code was generated automatically (see the comment at the beginning of the Swift file). The code defines the input variables and feature names, defines a way to extract values out of the input strings, sets up the model output and other bits and pieces such as defining the class for model loading and prediction (not shown). All this is taken care of by Xcode, making it very easy for us to use the model in our app. We will start building that app in the following posts (bear with me, I promise we will get there).

Enjoy!

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CoreML - Building the model for Boston Prices

In the last post we have taken a look at the Boston Prices dataset loaded directly from Scikit-learn. In this post we are going to build a linear regression model and convert it to a .mlmodel to be used in an iOS app.

We are going to need some modules:

import coremltools
import pandas as pd
from sklearn import datasets, linear_model
from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_split
from sklearn import metrics
import numpy as np

The cormeltools is the module that will enable the conversion to use our model in iOS.

Let us start by defining a main function to load the dataset:

def main():
    print('Starting up - Loading Boston dataset.')
    boston = datasets.load_boston()
    boston_df = pd.DataFrame(boston.data)
    boston_df.columns = boston.feature_names
    print(boston_df.columns)

In the code above we have loaded the dataset and created a pandas dataframe to hold the data and the names of the columns. As we mentioned in the previous post, we are going to use only the crime rate and the number of rooms to create our model:

    print("We now choose the features to be included in our model.")
    X = boston_df[['CRIM', 'RM']]
    y = boston.target

Please note that we are separating the target variable from the predictor variables. Although this dataset in not too large, we are going to follow best practice and split the data into training and testing sets:

    X_train, X_test, y_train, y_test = train_test_split(
        X, y, test_size=0.2, random_state=7)

We will only use the training set in the creation of the model and will test with the remaining data points.

    my_model = glm_boston(X_train, y_train)

The line of code above assumes that we have defined the function gym_boston as follows:

def glm_boston(X, y):
    print("Implementing a simple linear regression.")
    lm = linear_model.LinearRegression()
    gml = lm.fit(X, y)
    return gml

Notice that we are using the LinearRegression implementation in Scikit-learn. Let us go back to the main function we are building and extract the coefficients for our linear model. Refer to the CoreML - Linear Regression post to remember that type of model that we are building is of the form  y=\alpha + \beta_1 x_1 + \beta_2 x_2 + \epsilon:

    coefs = [my_model.intercept_, my_model.coef_]
    print("The intercept is {0}.".format(coefs[0]))
    print("The coefficients are {0}.".format(coefs[1]))

We can also take a look at some metrics that tell let us evaluate our model against the test data:

    # calculate MAE, MSE, RMSE
    print("The mean absolute error is {0}.".format(
        metrics.mean_absolute_error(y_test, y_pred)))
    print("The mean squared error is {0}.".format(
        metrics.mean_squared_error(y_test, y_pred)))
    print("The root mean squared error is {0}.".format(
        np.sqrt(metrics.mean_squared_error(y_test, y_pred))))

CoreML conversion

And now for the big moment: We are going to convert our model to an .mlmodel object!! Ready?

    print("Let us now convert this model into a Core ML object:")
    # Convert model to Core ML
    coreml_model = coremltools.converters.sklearn.convert(my_model,
                                        input_features=["crime", "rooms"],
                                        output_feature_names="price")
    # Save Core ML Model
    coreml_model.save("PriceBoston.mlmodel")
    print("Done!")

We are using the sklearn.convert method of coremltools.converters to create the my_model model with the necessary inputs (i.e. crime and rooms) and output (price). Finally we save the model in a file with the name PriceBoston.mlmodel.

Et voilà! In the next post we will start creating an iOS app to use the model we have just built.

You can look at the code (in development) in my github site here.

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CoreML - Boston Prices exploration

In the previous post of this series we described some of the basics of linear regression, one of the most well-known models in machine learning. We saw that we can relate the values of input parameters x_i to the target variable y to be predicted. In this post we are going to create a linear regression model to predict the price of houses in Boston (based on valuations from 1970s). The dataset provides information such as Crime (CRIM), areas of non-retail business in the town (INDUS), the age of people who own the house (AGE), average number of rooms (RM) as well as the median value of homes in $1000s (MEDV) as well as other attributes.

Let us start by exploring the data. We are going to use Scikit-learn and fortunately the dataset comes with the module. The input variables are included in the data method and the price is given by the target. We are going to load the input variables in the dataframe boston_df and the prices in the array y:

from sklearn import datasets
import pandas as pd 
boston = datasets.load_boston()
boston_df = pd.DataFrame(boston.data)
boston_df.columns = boston.feature_names
y = boston.target

We are going to build our model using only a limited number of inputs. In this case let us pay attention to the average number of rooms and the crime rate:

X = boston_df[['CRIM', 'RM']]
X.columns = ['Crime', 'Rooms']
X.describe()

The description of these two attributes is as follows:

            Crime       Rooms
count  506.000000  506.000000
mean     3.593761    6.284634
std      8.596783    0.702617
min      0.006320    3.561000
25%      0.082045    5.885500
50%      0.256510    6.208500
75%      3.647423    6.623500
max     88.976200    8.780000

As we can see the minimum number of rooms is 3.5 and the maximum is 8.78, whereas for the crime rate the minimum is 0.006 and the maximum value is 88.97, nonetheless the median is 0.25. We will use some of these values to define the ranges that will be provided to our users to find price predictions.

Finally, let us visualise the data:

We shall bear these values in mind when building our regression model in subsequent posts.

You can look at the code (in development) in my github site here.

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CoreML - Linear Regression

Hello again, where were we? ... Oh yes, we have been discussing CoreML and have even set up an appropriate python 2 environment to work with CoreML. In this post we are going to cover some of the most basic aspects of the workhorse of machine learning: the dependable linear regression model.

We are indeed all familiar with a line of best fit, and I am sure that many of us remember doing some by hand (you know who you are) and who hasn't played with Excel's capabilities? In a nutshell, a linear regression is a model that relates a variable  y to one or more explanatory (or independent) variables  X. The parameters that define the model are estimated from the available data and there are a number of assumptions about the explanatory variables and you can find more information in my Data Science and Analytics with Python book. We can think of the goal of a linear regression model to draw a line though the data as exemplified in the plot below:

Let us take the case of 2 independent variables  x_1 and x_2. The linear regression model to predict our target variable  y is given by:

 y = \alpha + \beta_1 x_1 + \beta_2 x_2 + \epsilon,

where  \alphaand  \beta_i are the parameters to be estimated to help us generate predictions. With the aid of techniques such as least squares can estimate the parameters  \alpha, \beta_1 and  \beta_2 by minimising the sum of the squares of the residuals, i,.e the difference between an observed value, and the fitted value provided by a model. Once we have determined the parameters, we are able to score new (unseen) data for  x_1 and  x_2 to predict the value of  y.

In the next post we will show how we can do this for the Boston House Prices dataset using a couple of variables such as number of bedrooms in the property and a crime index for the area. Remember that the aim will be to show how to build the model to be used with CoreML and not a perfect model for the prediction.

Keep in touch.

-j

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Core ML - Preparing the environment

Hello again! In preparation to training a model to be converted by Core ML to be used in an application, I would like to make sure we have a suitable environment to work on. One of the first things that came to my attention looking at the coreml module is the fact that it only supports Python 2! Yes, you read correctly, you will have to make sure you use Python 2.7 if you want to make this work. As you probably know, Python 2 will be retired in 2020, so I hope that Apple is considering in their development cycles. In the meantime you can see the countdown to Python 2's retirement here, and thanks Python 2 for the many years of service...

Anyway, if you are a Python 2 user, then you are good to go. If on the other hand you have moved with the times you may need to make appropriate installations. I am using Anaconda (you may use your favourite distro) and I will be creating a conda environment (I'm calling it coreml) with Python 2.7 and some of the libraries I will be using:

> conda create --name coreml python=2.7 ipython jupyter scikit-learn

> source activate coreml

(coreml) > pip install coremltools

I am sure there may be other modules that will be needed, and I will make appropriate installations (and additions to this post) as that becomes clearer.

You can get a look at Apple's coremltools github repo here.

ADDITIONS: As I mentioned, there may have been other modules that needed installing in the new environment here is a list:

  • pandas
  • matplotlib
  • pillow
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Core ML - What is it?

In a previous post I mentioned that I will be sharing some notes about my journey with doing data science and machine learning by Apple technology. This is the firsts of those posts and here I will go about what Core ML is...

Core ML is a computer framework. So what is a framework?  Well, in computer terms is a software abstraction that enables generic functionality to be modified as required by the user to transform it into software for specific purposes to enable the development of a system or even a humble project.

Core ML integrates a trained machine learning model into your app.

 

So Core ML is an Apple provided framework to speed apps that use trained machine learning models. Notice that word in bold - trained - is part of the description of the framework. This means that the model has to be developed externally with appropriate training data for the specific project in mind. For instance if you are interested in building a classifier that distinguishes cats from cars, then you need to train the model with lots of cat and car images.

As it stands Core ML supports a variety of machine learning models, from generalised linear models (GLMs for short) to neural nets. Furthermore it helps with the tests of adding the trained machine learning model to your application by automatically creating a custom programmatic interface that supplies an APU to your model. All this within the comfort of Xcode!

There is an important point to remember. The model has to be developed externally from Core ML, in other words you may want to use your favourite machine learning framework (that word again), computer language and environment to cover the different aspects of the data science workflow. You can read more in that in Chapter 3 of my "Data Science and Analytics with Python" book. So whether you use Scikit-learnm, Keras or Caffe, the model you develop has to be trained (tested and evaluated) beforehand. Once you are ready, then Core ML will support you in bringing it to the masses via your app.

As mentioned in the Core ML documentation:

Core ML is optimized for on-device performance, which minimizes memory footprint and power consumption. Running strictly on the device ensures the privacy of user data and guarantees that your app remains functional and responsive when a network connection is unavailable.

OK, so in the next few posts we will be using Python and coreml tools to generate a so-called .mlmodel file that Xcode can use and deploy. Stay tuned!

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Apple ML

Machine Learning with Apple - An Open Notebook

We all know how cool machine learning, predictive analytics and data science concepts and problems are. There are a number of really interesting technologies and frameworks to use and choose from. I have been a Python and R user for some time now and they seem to be pretty good for a lot of the things I have to do on a day-to-day basis.

As many of you know, I am also a mac user and have been for quite a lot time. I remember using early versions of Mathematica on PowerMacs back at Uni... I digress..

power-mac-8500-with-screen.jpg

Apple has also been moving into the machine learning arena and has made available a few interesting goodies that help people like me make the most of the models we develop.

I am starting a series of posts that I hope can be seen as an "open notebook" of my experimentation and learning with Apple technology. One that comes to mind is CoreML, a new framework that makes running various machine learning and statistical models on macOS and iOS natively supported. The idea is that the framework helps data scientists and developers bridge the gap between them by integrating trained models into our apps. Sounds cool, don't you think? Ready... Let's go!

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