“The two biggest challenges with this project is: 1) Getting your kids more interested in the project over their video games. 2) Convincing your child’s science teacher they did most of the work for the school science fair”
Before I start delving into the technical rigors of building a self-driving car. I want to talk about kids. As parents, we want our kids to be excited about things we get excited about. When I thought up this project, I realized it was above what a fifth grader could do. A self-driving car involves a multitude of technical subjects: Advanced calculus, statistics, probability, linear algebra, deep learning, machine learning, electronics, computer science, telemetry, data science, mechanics, physics,…These are subjects kids are not expected to be good at. But, I thought to myself “It’s about the Journey…”.
As a parent, I want to expose my kids to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). This project is STEM³, meaning, it’s several factors above what is typically taught in grade school level STEM curriculum. So how do you incorporate this into a child’s STEM education without frustrating your child and yourself in the process?
Divide things up into simpler lessons
So when my child and I started thinking about building a self-driving car, we started small. We converted a radio controlled car into a self driving robot using the following components:
Raspberry Pi 3 microcomputer.
OpenCV computer vision software.
Chassis of an old RC car.
Electric 9V Motor
We then said, “What are the major components that a self-driving car would need”. What we listed were:
Doing our research into companies like Waymo, Google, Volvo, Tesla among others who are investing millions into autonomous technology, we began learning that among these pioneering companies are a community of tinkerers who are using open source code and open hardware to build autonomous RC cars. Many of whom are blogging about it. To learn more about these communities, I recommend the blog series. Becoming Human AI.
With then focused on specific topics, that children could research and learn about.
For the Motor: Pulse Width Modification.
For the Steering: Controlling sweeper servo moters.
For the Computer: Programming Raspberry PI with Python.
For the Camera: Using OpenCV for image processing.
School Science Fair Skepticism
When we attended my child’s science fair, we had spent weeks going over Pulse Width Modification, which is a way to control an electronic motor speed and building a sweeper motor for our prototype RC autonomous car. We stuck on a Raspberry PI 3 computer which is basically a very cheep microcomputer that you can program and load up with an open source software package called OpenCV. OpenCV can detect images from a camera be recognize what that object is at least detect things in an image. When we were done our science fair project looked like this:
We spent weeks putting this together, and I made certain my child understood each component in the car and had the knowledge to talk about it. What I quickly noticed was among the baking soda volcanoes, and the dyed flower petal experiments, was a lot of skepticism that a fifth grader could put something like a “self driving robot”-thingy together.
My child put the poster together and did all the calculations as I stood by and asked “So what can you include from those findings?” The scientific method, which is the most important tool in science, was reiterated throughout the experiment:
What are observations?
What is your hypothesis?
What methodology did you use?
What is your experiment?
What were you conclusions (what did you learn)?
This is what needs to be the basis for a child’s work in STEM projects in order for him or her to learn from the successes and failures of doing science and technology.
The picture above is my child’s science fair poster. We worked pretty hard on it. But my child did all of analysis and calculations and took all of the notes and typed it up. I gave him a test to make certain that he understood everything. The goal wasn’t to win (he didn’t) it was to get him interested in science and technology and show him that there are others that are excited as well…And many people were!
I was never really a “car” guy. I always saw them as transportation from point A to point B. I’ve abhorred walking into a car dealership to negotiate car purchases; and as a parent, keeping my car clean seemed like an constant battle. Driving long distances, even if the car was clean, was especially arduous for me. America is a huge country, so driving from my home in North Carolina to South Carolina or Tennessee is a five to seven hour odyssey without any of reward or enlightenment.
However, I was always enjoyed NASCAR (being from North Carolina), and I enjoyed watching YouTube videos of DIY rebuilders who take wrecks of cars and give them a new life. So when I first learned about self-driving cars and the amount of tech and data that goes into making these autonomous machines, I started to take notice…
In this series, I will be discussing all the successes, failures and lessons learned building a life-size self-driving car…with my sons. Subscribe and follow me on my blog to see how we’re doing. I suspect it will be years before we are done (or give up) with it all. It’ll be a lesson on how to build it, but also how to get your kids excited by a challenging STEM project.
“The goal is to have databases in the Cloud run autonomously. The Cloud should be about scale, elasticity, statelessness and ease of operation and interoperability. Cloud infrastructures are about moving processes into microservices and the agile deployment of business services. Deep Learning has the potential to give databases innovative and powerful level autonomy in a multitenant environment, allowing DBAs the freedom to offer expertise in system architecture and design…”.
This article details initial research performed using deep learning algorithms to detect anomalies in Oracle performance. It does not serve as a “deep” dive into deep learning and machine learning algorithms. Currently, there are many really good resources available from experts on the subject matter and I strongly recommend those who are interested in learning more about these topics to check out the list of references at the end of this article. Mathematical terminology is used throughout this article (it’s almost impossible to avoid), but I attempted to keep the descriptions brief, as it’s best that people interested in these topics seek to out the rich resources available online to get a better breadth of information on individual subjects.
In this final article on Oracle performance tuning and machine learning, I will discuss the application of deep learning models in predicting performance and detecting anomalies in Oracle. Deep Learning is a branch of Machine Learning method that uses intensive Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques with data to learn iteratively; while deploying optimization and minimization functions. Applications for these techniques include natural language processing, image recognition, self-driving cars, anomaly and fraud detection. With the number of applications for deep learning models growing substantially in the last few years, it was only a matter of time that it would find its way into relational databases. Relational databases have sort of become the workhorses of the IT industry and still generate massive amounts of revenue. Many data-driven applications still use some type of relational database; even with the growth of Hadoop and NoSQL databases. It’s been a business goal of Oracle Corporation, one of the largest relational database software companies in the world, to create database services that are easier manage, secure and operate.
As I mentioned in my previous article, Oracle Enterprise Edition has a workload data repository that it already uses to produce great analysis for performance and workload. Microsoft SQL-Server also has a warehouse that can store performance data, but I’ve decided to devote my research into Oracle.
For this analysis, the focus was specifically on the Oracle Program Global Area (PGA).
Oracle Program Global Area
The Program Global Area (PGA) is a private memory in the database that contains information for server processes. Each user session gets a private memory region within the PGA. Oracle will read and write information to the PGA based on requests from server processes. The PGA performance metrics accessed for this article are based on Oracle Automatic Shared Memory Management (ASMM).
As a DBA, when troubleshooting PGA performance, I typically look at the PGA advisor, which are a series of modules that collects monitoring and performance data from PGA. It recommends how large the PGA should be in order to fulfill process requests for private memory and is based on the Cache Hit Percentage value.
The database was staged in a Microsoft Azure virtual machine processing large scale data from a data generator. Other data was compiled from public portals such as EAI (Energy Administration Institute) and PJM Interconnection, an eastern regional transmission organization.
Tools used to perform the analysis include SAS Enterprise Miner, Azure Machine Learning studio and the SciKit Learn with TensorFlow machine learning libraries. I’ve focused my research on a few popular techniques for which I continuously do research. These include
Recurrent Neural Networks
Principal Component Analysis
Support Vector Machines
Convolutional Neural Network
For this research into databases, I focused primarily on SVM, PCA and CNN. The first step was to look at the variable worth (the variables that had the greatest weight on the model) for data points per sample.
The analysis of Oracle Performance data on Process Memory within dedicated process memory in Oracle in the program global area of the database.
Once the data was collected, cleaned, imputed and partitioned, Azure ML studio was used to build two types of classifiers for anomaly detection.
Support Vector Machine (SVM): Implements a binary classifier where the training data consists of examples of only one class (normal data). The model attempts to separate the collection of training data from the origin using maximum margin.
Principal Component Analysis (PCA): Create subspace spanned by orthonormal eigenvectors associated with the top eigenvalues of the data covariance matrix for approximation of classifiers.
For prediction, I compared Artificial Neural Networks and Regression models. For Deep Learning, I researched the use of CNN specifically for anomaly detection.
Deep Learning and Oracle Database Performance Tuning
My article Using Machine Learning and Data Science for Performance Tuning in Oracle discusses the use of Oracle’s automated workflow repository, a data warehouse which stores snapshots of views for SQL, O/S and system state and active session history among many other areas of system performance. Standard data science methods require having a strong understanding of business processes through qualitative and quantitative methods, cleaning data to find outliers and missing values, and applying data partitioning strategies to get better data validation and scoring of models. As a final step, a review of the results would be required to determine its hypothetical testing accuracy.
Deep Learning has changed these methodologies a bit by applying artificial intelligence into building models. These models learn from iteratively training as data moves from hidden layers with activation functions from input to output. The hidden layers in this article are convolutional and are specific to spatial approximations such as convolution, pooling and fully connected layers (FCL). This has opened many opportunities to automate a lot of the steps typically used in typical data science models. If there is data generated which would require interpretation by a human operator, this can now be interpreted using deep neural networks at much higher rates that can possibly be done by a human operator.
Deep Learning is a subset of Machine Learning which is loosely based on how neurons learn in in the brain. Neural networks have been around for decades but have just recently gained popularity in the information technology for its ability to identify and classify images. Image data has exploded with the increase in social media platforms, digital images and image data storage. Imaging data, along with text data how a multitude of applications in the real world, so there is no shortage of work being done in this area. The latest popularity of neural networks can be attributed to Alexnet, a deep neural network that on the ImageNet classification challenge for achieving low error rates on the ImageNet dataset.
With anomaly detection, the idea is to train a deep learning models to detect anomalies without overfitting data. As the model iterates through the layers of a deep neural network, cost functions help to determine how close it is classifying real-world data. The model should have no prior knowledge of the processes and should be iteratively trained in the data for the cost functions from input arrays and activation functions of other previous layers .
Anomaly detection is the process of detecting outliers in the data streams such as financial transactions and network traffic. It can also be applied to deviations in system performance for the purpose of this article.
Predictive Analysis versus Anomaly Detection
Using predictive analytics to model targets through supervised learning techniques is most useful in planning for capacity and performing aggregated analysis of resource consumption and database performance. For the model, we analyzed regression and neural network models to determine how well each one scored based on inputs from PGA metrics.
Predictive analysis requires cleansing of data, supervised and non-supervised classification, imputation and variable worth selection to create model. Most applications can be scored best with linear or logistic regression. In the analysis on PGA performance, I found a logistic regression model scored better than an artificial neural network for predictive ability.
In my previous article, I mentioned the role that machine learning and data science can play in Oracle performance data.
Capacity Planning and IT Asset Planning.
Business Process Analysis
The fourth application for data science and machine learning in Oracle is anomaly detection. Which specifically means applying artificial intelligence to the training of algorithms mostly used in image recognition and language processing and credit fraud detection. It’s also a possibly less efficient way of detecting performance problems in Oracle performance. To attempt to obtain accuracy in the algorithm presents a risk itself, since such models could result in overfitting and high dimensionality that you want to avoid in deep neural networks. Getting accuracy that is comparable to what I human operator can do, works better because basically you don’t want the process to overthink things. The result of an overfitting model is a lot of false positives. You want the most accurate signs of an anomaly, not a model that is oversensitive. Deep Learning techniques also perform intense resource consumption to generate output in a neural network. Most business scale applications require GPUs to build them efficiently.
Convolutional Neural Networks
Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) are designed for high dimensional data such as images and signals. It’s used for computer vision as well as network intrusion detection and anomaly detection. Oracle performance data is designed as normal text (ASCII) data and contains many different ranges of metrics like seconds versus bytes of memory. Using a mathematical normalization formula, text data can be converted in vector arrays that can be mapped, pooled and compressed. Convolutional Neural Networks are good distinguishing features in an image matrix. Computationally, it is efficient to represent images as multi-dimensional arrays.
The first step is to normalize the PGA data, which contains multiple scales and features. Below is a sample of the data.
Normalizing the data can be done with the following formula:
The second step is to convert this data into image format. This would require building a dimensional array of all the features. Filtering the array can be done by removing small variances and nonlinear features to generate an overall neutral vector. The goal is to normalize and create a multidimensional array of the data.
CNN is often used to identify the NMIST data, which is a set of handwritten numbers. It contains 60,000 training images and 10,000 testing images. Researchers have used CNN to get an error rate on the NMIST data of less than 1%.
Convolution Neural Networks have five basic components, input layer, convolution layer, pooling layer, fully connected layer and output layer. Below is a visual of how CNN works to recognize an image of a bird versus and image of a cat.
The activation function uses a popular rectified linear unit ReLU, which is typical used for CNN. Popular activation functions include logistic sigmoid and hyperbolic tangents. ReLU is defined as a linear y=x for positive values and linear y=0 for negative values. It’s great as an activation function for CNN, due to it’s simplicity and because it helps the time it takes to iterate in the neural network.
Comparing Support Vector Machines (SVM) and Principal Component Analysis (PCA)
Support Vector Machines or SVM are good for finding large margin classifications and identifying vectors of data that are related. The nice thing about SVM is that it has features to deal with outliers built into it. Support Vector Machines is a feature-rich supervised machine learning technique used for classification of observations by their coordinates. I compared the SVM with principal component analysis (PCA) to approximate. PCA creates subspaces spanned by orthonormal eigenvectors associated with the top eigenvalues of the data covariance matrix. PCA based methods help to remove redundancy and reduce dimensionality that is persistent in performance data. Once data was split into training and testing, we used SVM and PCA to optimize multiple dimensions in the data.
Evaluation of Machine Learning Models for Oracle Workloads
For this test, we compared neural networking regression models and ANN. Deep Learning of patterns concerned with anomalies within a database require AI style learning techniques. Finding the correct classifier for performance metrics to improve the accuracy of an Oracle anomaly detection system can include ANN, naive Bayes, k-nearest neighbors and general algorithms.
There are several classification methods that can be used when evaluating anomaly detection models
Area under RoC
Mean average precision (mAP)
Accuracy of classification
Below is a RoC chart used to score PCA and SVM models. RoC charts plot false positive rates against true positive rates. When comparing the PCA and the SVM model, PCA had a higher true positive rate.
Summary: The Future of Autonomous Databases
Oracle has released its first deep learning database, marketed as “The world’s first self-driving database”. Oracle has announced 18c as a new autonomous database that requires no human labor for daily operational task, can provide more security, and automate most database processes. The database will self-tune, self-upgrade and self-patch – all while maintaining %99.995 availability with machine learning. For many companies, especially those working on cloud and PaaS infrastructures, this will mean lower costs. With Exadata, this would include compression techniques that would add further benefits to very large and enterprise level workloads.
Will there be more databases that will be completely run by Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning algorithms? As a DBA, maintaining a database can be arduous, but many of my DBA colleagues enjoy the respect and prestige of database management and database tuning. With the role of a DBA evolving rapidly, autonomous database may provide the freedom for DBAs to provide database design and development to corporate teams.
It remains to be seen if databases as a service (DBaaS) will reach the reality of full autonomy. It’s bound to happen before automobiles become level 5 autonomous. Selecting the service on this platform could provide opportunities of minimal configurations – and you’re done. Everything else is taken care of. There would be no operator, either in the hosted environment or on premise, nor would anyone ever touch the database for any reason except for application and software development.
In summary, this is a very high-level article on techniques for using deep learning and machine learning on Oracle performance data. I hope that this cursory introduction will inspire DBAs and operators to do their own research and apply it to their toolbox.
8“A Novel Intrusion Detection Model for Massive Network Using Convolutional Neural Networks” Kehe Wu; Zuge Chen; Wei Li. IEEE Access. Received July 29, 2018.
9“Enhanced Network Anomaly Detection Based on Deep Neural Networks”. Naseer, Sheraz; Saleem, Yasir; Khalid, Shezad, Bashir, Muhammad Khawar; Jihun Han, Iqbal, Muhammad Munwar; Kijun Han. IEEE Acwwwcess Received June 3, 2018. Accepted July 16, 2018.
“Big Data” is everywhere. It powers business solutions as well as drives economic opportunity. Is it possible that “Big Data” will become the next major utility? By utility, I don’t mean its usefulness to businesses. Can data be a utility like electricity, gas or water which is distributed reliably through major cities for customer demand? With the Smart City initiatives, that certainly appears to becoming more and more a reality, but smart cities programs do not necessarily build the B2C model that major utilities do. Autonomous vehicles (AV) and Machine Learning (ML) may fill the gap that makes “Big Data” a utility. One possible business model includes customers who pay for how much data they use and the times they use it. Since AV technology will have data from internal and external sensors to evaluate road conditions and anomalies, the utility business model may come into play as a way to pay for such computation and classification. Machine learning algorithms will help create reinforcement of anomaly and object detection scenarios for AV.
Currently, cars on the market have Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) development and includes driver assist technology such as accident avoidance sensors, drowsiness warnings, pedestrian detection, and lane departure warnings. Today’s driver-less cars are actually vehicles that are retrofitted with components that allow drivers to remove their hands from the steering wheel. To have fully autonomous vehicles, there must be a supply of historical and near real-time data to train ML models that will guide future AV. Like the generation of electrical power from a turbine, there has to be a supply and distribution approach to ML systems that is continuously providing reinforcement learning to AV. The generation of AV data must be ongoing every hour of the day for years in order to continuously train the ML models to build reliability in future AV algorithms and models.
The future on Autonomous Vehicles
CASE stands for Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electrification (Vehicles). In many regards, its the evolution of modern transportation: A vehicle that doesn’t need a human operator, but transports people or goods to different destinations effectively, safely and efficiently with little or no impact on the environment. But not only will this vehicle be able to transport, but it will serve as a data collector and generator that could be used to determine road conditions, connect with businesses and establish business to customer or customer to business relationships.
The development of AV must be based on electrification (electric vehicles). Direct digital control and feedback systems of electrical consumption is ideal for clean and efficient generation of power. The autonomous capabilities of vehicles would not only control direction and speed but also the granularity of electrical consumption needed by the AV that would be imperceptible to a live human operator. Metrics could then be displayed to the passenger, owner or the manufacturer of the AV as feedback of its efficiency.
The main focus of the future generation of fully autonomous vehicles will be the ability keep a driver safe and successfully navigate any condition or obstacle as the AV transports its passengers to their destination…from leaving their home to getting into the vehicle, to walking into the destination. Services will be available to businesses that will allow AVs to follow exact directions where the business is and have approved parking spaces that the vehicle will navigate to. Most interfacing will be conducted through the passenger(s) smart phone(s).
Here is an example. David picks up his smart phone and clicks on an app to request reservations at a restaurant for his wedding anniversary. The service request is paired with an AV smart phone application that also sends the request to the cloud and the restaurant reservation API. The ML system in the cloud then programs the AV to navigate to the restaurant as well as park in a designated parking space (no valet needed). When the dinner is complete, David clicks on the app to pick up him and his wife and return home.
Future autonomous vehicles will not have manual overrides or speed up to make it to that movie on time.
In order for autonomous vehicles to build trust within the driving community, it must maintain consistent patterns and make decisions that ensure the safety and comfort of all its passengers. What you don’t want is the AV to immediately speed up to make a light or make sharp or quick turns to avoid oncoming traffic. This mean the automobile needs to have AI and machine learning capabilities that obeys all traffic laws and makes correct predictions on any anomaly or object. Future AV and CASE will not have steering wheels or brake pedals because that represents a manual override which in turn erodes trust with the occupants.
The future generations of AV should not have steering wheels. Most modern cars rely on a steering system that includes a “rack and pinion” assembly by which a live operator (driver) can turn the car right or left when needed. Removing the steering mechanism will allow for passenger only occupancy and create a system that is principally controlled by computerized systems instead of mechanisms that require human intervention. In the event that the vehicle requires override control by an operator, that operator will be in a vehicle control and command operations center (VOC). The center will be maned by trained commercial drivers. Such command operation centers would be third-party, provided by the manufacturer of the vehicle, or by a municipality.
Future autonomous vehicles will be fully connected mobile platforms.
Think of a smart phone and everything that it does. Now, imagine an autonomous vehicle as essentially a large smart phone that can transport passengers who are connected to what’s happening outside the car. These riders will expect to map the course to their destination through connected devices, data, cloud computing and sensors that will then be shared with businesses and users before, during and after they reach their destination. The applications for such connectivity are tremendous.
The impact of Big Data on autonomous vehicles.
As 5G wireless networks come online, smart cities and autonomous vehicles will fully utilize data to the cloud and back. 5G will facilitate unprecedented communication speed from the vehicle to the outside world allowing sensing and tracking of nearly 5,000 GBs of data per vehicle per day, making vehicles more efficient and safe. New computer processor architectures will test, train and build Machine Learning and Deep Learning models faster than in the past and help train AVs to become better equipped to conditions in cities and on highways.
Maintaining a competitive advantage has become a important business strategy.
One of the things I love about data science and data analytics is that most of the innovation done in this area has been shared in open data and open source communities. Internet sites like Kaggle, Amazon and Google have offered public data to anyone wanting to perform Machine Learning, Predictive Analysis and Deep Learning (see my review of DataSciCon.Tech). Open Source software and platforms has grown quickly as well.
This is not the case for vendors invested in the future of AV. The data collected from sensors and IoT devices in the vehicle as well as in big data cloud systems are a well guarded secret. Development SDKs for AV technology is accessible only to clients of these AV manufacturers and their partners. What this will mean to the future for AV innovation is still up for debate; However, companies certainly have the right to safeguard their proprietary research in this area. It’s not completely known what impact this strategy will have on long-term adoption of AV.
DataSciCon.Tech is a data science conference held in Atlanta, Georgia Wednesday November 29th to Friday, December 1st and includes both workshops and conference lectures. It took place at the Global Learning Center on the campus of Georgia Tech. This was the first year of this conference, and I attended to get a sense of the data science scene in Atlanta. Overall, the experience was very enlightening and introduced me to the dynamic and intensive work being conducted in the area of data science.
Keynote speaker Rob High, CTO of IBM Watson, discussing IBM Watson and Artificial Intelligence (DataSciCon.Tech 2017).
Four workshop tracks were held Wednesday including Introduction to Machine Learning with Python and TensorFlow, Tableau Hands-on Workshop, Data Science for Discover, Innovation and Value Creation and Data Science with R Workshop. I elected to attend the Machine Learning with Python with TensorFlow track. TensorFlow is an open source software library for numerical computations using data flow graphs for Machine Learning.
To prepare for the conference, I installed the TensorFlow module downloaded from https://www.tensorflow.org/install. In addition to TensorFlow, I downloaded Anaconda (https://www.anaconda.com/), a great Python development environment for those practicing data science programming and includes many of the Python data science packages such as Numpy and SciKit-Learn.
Among the predictive and classification modeling techniques discussed in the workshop:
k -nearest neighbor (kNN) analysis
These modeling techniques are popular for classifying data and predictive analysis. Few training sessions on Python, SciKit-Learn or Numpy go into these algorithms in detail due to the various math educational levels of the audience members. For the course, we used Jupyter Notebook, a web-based python development environment which allows you to share and present your code and results using web services. Jupyter Notebook can also be hosted in Microsoft Azure, as well as, in other cloud platforms such as Anaconda Cloud and AWS. To host Python Jupyter Notebook in Azure sign into https://notebooks.azure.com.
TensorFlow has a series of functions that uses neural networks and machine learning to test, train and score models. The advantage of TensorFlow is its ability to train models faster than other modules, which is a very big advantage since splitting data for training models is a process intensive operation. It is particularly powerful on the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) architecture popular for Machine Learning and Deep Learning.
I’m going to break down the sessions I attended into the main topics that were covered. So this is a very high level, one hundred foot point-of-view of the topics covered at the conference. My plan is to create a few more blogs on the topic that will go into my work as an aspiring data scientist/data architect. All the information in this blog is based on information presented at the DataSciCon.Tech 2017 conference.
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
The conference emphasized Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning pretty heavily. Artificial Intelligence was discussed more in theory and direct applications than design and development. There were a few demonstrations of the popular IBM Watson Artificial Intelligence system; but I want to focus this blog primarily on Machine Learning, as it’s something that interests me and other data architects. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are both based on computerized learning algorithms. Machine Learning uses past data to learn, predict events or identify anomalies.
Another key fact presented at the conference is the number of open source projects and companies that have produced software modules, libraries and packages devoted to the use and implementation of Machine Learning in business applications. I strongly recommend anyone interested in learning more to research the software solutions discussed in this blog and how they can be implemented.
For those who are new to the concept of Machine Learning (like me), essentially it is defined as follows:
Machine Learning is a subset of Artificial Intelligence that focuses on creating models that learn and predict events based on past data without a human computer programmer having to change code to adapt to new events. An example would be a spam filter learning new exploits and then blocking those exploits.