Section: New Software and Platforms


Keywords: Benchmarking - Competition

Functional Description: Challenges in machine learning and data science are competitions running over several weeks or months to resolve problems using provided datasets or simulated environments. Challenges can be thought of as crowdsourcing, benchmarking, and communication tools. They have been used for decades to test and compare competing solutions in machine learning in a fair and controlled way, to eliminate “inventor-evaluator" bias, and to stimulate the scientific community while promoting reproducible science. See our slide presentation.

As of december 2017 there are 145 public competitions on Codalab and over 10000 users. Some of the areas in which Codalab is used include Computer vision and medical image analysis, natural language processing, time series prediction, causality, and automatic machine learning. Codalab was selected for the million Euro challenge See.4C that was awarded a H2020 EU grant for its organization.

TAU is going to continue expanding Codalab to accommodate new needs. One of our current focus is to support use of challenges for teaching (i.e. include a grading system as part of Codalab) and support for hooking up data simulation engines in the backend of Codalab to enable Reinforcement Learning challenges and simulate interactions of machines with an environment. For the third year, we are using Codalab for student projects. M2 AIC students create mini data science challenges in teams of 6 students. L2 math and informatics students then solve them as part of their mini projects. We are collaborating with RPI (New York, USA) to use this platform as part of a curriculum of medical students. Our PhD. students are involved in co-organizing challenges to expose the research community at large with the topic of their PhD. This helps them formalizing a task with rigor and allows them to disseminate their research.