Recently, researchers at Stanford University launched a new data library called Meerkat for working with complex machine learning datasets. The source code of the project is available on GitHub.

Data is the oxygen for machine learning. From training and validation data to future predictions, embeddings and metadata, it drives all parts of the machine learning development process. However, organising and managing data is challenging.


To that end, Stanford researchers have proposed a new Python library to help researchers and ML practitioners wrangle data. Data wrangling is a process of cleaning and unifying messy and complex datasets for easy access and analysis.

How does Meerkat work?

In a Notion Press blog, ‘Meerkat: Datapanels for machine learning,’ Stanford researchers Sabri Eyuboglu, Arjun Desai and Karan Goel talked about a few areas where Meerkat could solve the data complexity in the machine learning lifecycle.

  • **Dataset manipulation **techniques like slicing, shaping and transforming datasets have become an increasingly important part of the development process. As the quality of machine learning models and evaluations are primarily products of the data, more time goes into tuning datasets than tuning models.
  • Model evaluation is emerging as a new bottleneck when building high-performing ML systems. For instance, models have been commoditised to the extent that resources like HuggingFace’s Model Hub can give you a model for text, speech or vision in seconds. But, they are hard to get right, and their failure modes can be opaque.
  • **Multi-modal datasets **that combine multiple, complex data types are becoming more prevalent. For example, OpenAI’s CLIP combines natural language with images.

Meerkat provides the DataPanel abstraction. The DataPanel facilitates interactive dataset manipulation, where it can house diverse data modalities and lets you evaluate models carefully with Robustness Gym. “We built DataPanels like DataFrames because they are naturally interactive and work seamlessly across development contexts: Jupiter Notebooks, Python scripts, and Streamlit,” the researchers said.

The goal is to make Meerkat DataPanel an interactive data substrate for modern machine learning across the machine learning lifecycle.

Besides Robustness Gym, Meerkat can also be integrated into other popular benchmark datasets and works well with existing libraries and tools like WILDSHuggingface DatasetsDOSMAStreamlit.

#opinions #huggingface datasets #machine learning #meerkat #wrangle

Meet Meerkat, A New Data Library To Wrangle Complex ML Datasets
1.40 GEEK