KDD 2021

Data Quality Assessment for Machine Learning


In the past decade, AI/ML technologies have become pervasive in academia and industry, finding their utility in newer and challenging applications. While there has been a focus to build better, smarter and automated ML models little work has been done to systematically understand the challenges in the data and assess its quality issues before it is fed to an ML pipeline. Issues such as incorrect labels, synonymous categories in a categorical variable, heterogeneity in columns etc. which might go undetected by standard pre-processing modules in these frameworks can lead to sub-optimal model performance. Although, some systems are able to generate comprehensive reports with details of the ML pipeline, a lack of insight and explainability w.r.t. to the data quality issues leads to data scientists spending ~80\% time on data preparation before employing these AutoML solutions. This is why data preparation has been called out as one of the most time-consuming step in an AI lifecyle. Since the quality of data is not known at Step 0, when the data is acquired, data preparation becomes an iterative debugging process and becomes more of an art, leveraging the experience of a data scientist. Because the performance of an ML model is only as good as the training data it sees, a systematic analysis of data quality before building AI/ML models is of utmost importance.