Machine Learning with AutoAI

For this part of the workshop, we'll learn how to use AutoAI. AutoAI is a capability that automates machine learning tasks to ease the tasks of data scientists. It automatically prepares your data for modeling, chooses the best algorithm for your problem, and creates pipelines for the trained models.

This section is broken up into the following steps:

Note: The lab instructions below assume you have a project already with the assets necessary to build a model. If not, follow the instructions in the pre-work section to create a project.

1. Run AutoAI Experiment

  • Go the (☰) navigation menu and click on the Projects link and then click on your analytics project.

  • To start the AutoAI experiment, click the Add to Project button from the top of the page and select the AutoAI experiment option.

Adding a project
  • Name your AutoAI experiment asset and leave the default compute configuration option listed in the drop-down menu. Then, click the Create button.

Naming your services
  • To configure the experiment, we must first give it the dataset that will be used to train the machine learning model. We will be using one of the CSV file datasets we have preloaded into the project. Click on the Select from project option.

  • In the dialog, select the Telco-Customer-Churn.csv file and click the Select asset button.

Select file
  • Once the dataset is read in, we will need to indicate what we want the model to predict. Under Select prediction column, find and click on the Churn row.

  • AutoAI will set up defaults values for the experiment based on the dataset and the column selected for the prediction. This includes the type of model to build, the metrics to optimize against, the test/train split, etc. You could view/change these values under 'Experiment settings', however, for now we will accept the defaults and click the Run experiment button.

Choose Churn column and run
  • The AutoAI experiment will now run. AutoAI will run through steps to prepare the dataset, split the dataset into training / evaluation groups and then find the best performing algorithms / estimators for the type of model. It will then build the following series of candidate pipelines for each of the top N performing algorithms (where N is a number chosen in the configuration which defaults to 2):

    • Baseline model (Pipeline 1)

    • Hyperparameter optimization (Pipeline 2)

    • Automated feature engineering (Pipeline 3)

    • Hyperparameter optimization on top of engineered features(Pipeline 4)

  • The UI will show progress as different algorithms/evaluators are selected and as different pipelines are created & evaluated. You can view the performance of the pipelines that have completed by expanding each pipeline section in the leaderboard.

autoai progress
  • The experiment can take several minutes to run. Upon completion you will see a message that the pipelines have been created. Do not proceed to the next section until the experiment completes.

2. Save AutoAI Model

  • Once the experiment completes, you can explore the various pipelines and options in the UI. Some of the options available are to see a comparison of the pipelines, to change the ranking based on a different performance metric, to see a log of the experiment, or to see the ranked listing of the pipelines (ranking based on the optimization metric in your experiment, in this case accuracy.)

autoai pipelines created
  • Scroll down to see the Pipeline leaderboard. The top performing pipeline is in the first rank.

  • The next step is to select the model that gives the best result by looking at the metrics. In this case, Pipeline 4 gave the best result with the metric "Accuracy(Optimized)." You can view the detailed results by clicking the corresponding pipeline from the leaderboard.

pipeline leaderboard
  • The model evaluation page will show metrics for the experiment, confusion matrix, feature transformations that were performed (if any), which features contribute to the model, and more details of the pipeline. Optionally, feel free to click through these views of the pipeline details.

Model evaluation
  • In order to deploy this model, click on the Save as button and select the Model option to save it.

  • In the 'Save as model' window you can accept the default values or give your model a meaningful name/description and then click the Save button.

Save model name
  • You receive a notification to indicate that your model is saved to your project. Go back to your project main page by clicking on the project name on the navigator on the top left:

Model notification
  • You will see the new model under Models section of the Assets page:

3. Promote the model

  • Now that we have saved our model, we will next need to make the model available in our deployment space so it can be deployed. Under the Models section of the Assets page, click the name of your saved model.

choose AI model
  • To make the model available to be deployed, we need to make it available in the deployment space we previously set up. Click on the Promote to deployment space button.

Deploying the model
  • You will receive a message that assets can not yet be promoted, until you associate a deployment space to your project. In order to associate your project with a deployment space. Click the Associate Deployment Space button.

Associate Deployment Space
  • Click on the Existing tab and choose your deployment space and then click the Associate button.

Select Deployment Space

Note: This is assuming you have already created a deployment space in the pre-work section of the workshop. Also that you have not associated that deployment space with any other project, since there default screen will not show deployment spaces that are already associated.

  • Once the deployment space is associated, you will be brought back to the same model page, once again click on the Promote to deployment space.

  • Click on the Promote to space button.

Promote Deployment Space
  • This time you will see a notification that the model was promoted to the deployment space succesfully.

View Deployment
  • We've successfully built and saved a machine learning model using AutoAI. Congratulations!


In this section we covered one approach to building machine learning models on Cloud Pak for Data. We have seen how AutoAI helps find an optimal model by automating tasks such as:

  • Data Wrangling

  • Model Algorithm Evaluation & Selection

  • Feature Engineering

  • Hyperparameter Optimization.