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Deep Income

This repository is part of a guest lecture for CS598RK: HCI for ML offered in Fall 2019 at UIUC. The goal is to familiarize students with Pytorch and different components of Deep Learning through a Not-So-Big-Data ML problem -- learning to predict annual income using UCI Census Income Dataset (a.k.a UCI Adult Dataset).


We will create a conda environment and install all dependencies in that environment. environment.yml lists all dependencies. If conda is already installed on your system the following command will create an environment called income (specified in the YAML file) and install dependencies in that environment:

conda env create -f environment.yml

Commands in the subsequent section need to be run with the environment activated. To activate the environment run

conda activate income

To deactivate run

conda deactivate

For more information on conda please refer to conda docs.

Note: The environment.yml file lists a lot of dependencies. But most of them are requirements of just a handful of packages that can be found in This script also shows steps used to create the conda environment from scratch. Ideally executing this script using bash should produce a similar environment but may result in packages with different version numbers.

Specify file paths

income.yml lists all global constants that will be used in the repository. These constants include:

  • urls: URLs to download data from
  • download_dir: where data will be downloaded to on your machine
  • proc_dir: where preprocessed data will be saved
  • exp_dir: where experiment data will be saved
  • train_val_split: fraction of the provided train data to be used for training (the remaining will be used for validation)
  • Names of various .npy files used for training/validation/testing. These are all saved in proc_dir and will be read by dataloaders.

You will need to modify download_dir,proc_dir, and exp_dir according to your own machine.

Download data

python -m download

This will download the following files in your download_dir

  • Train samples
  • adult.test: Test samples
  • adult.names: Info on attributes and performance of several baselines
  • Possibly an older version of adult.names?

Preprocess data

python -m preprocess

This converts the samples provided with 14 attributes (8 categorical and 6 continuous) into real valued vectors. Samples with missing values are dropped. Features are normalized by subtracting the mean and dividing by the standard deviation computed using training set samples. The training data is also divided into train and val sets.


python -m train

This trains a model with default arguments. To see the arguments and their default values run

python -m train --help

which should show the following

  --exp_name TEXT               Name of the experiment  [default: default_exp]
  --loss [cross_entropy|focal]  Loss used for training  [default: cross_entropy]
  --num_hidden_blocks INTEGER   Number of hidden blocks in the classifier [default: 2]

Any outputs generated during training are saved in proc_dir/exp_name

To visualize loss and accuracy curves on tensorboard, go to the experiment directory and run

tensorboard --logdir=./


The model with the best validation performance during training can be loaded up and evaluated on the test set using

python -m test

Note that this would work only when default arguments were used during training. For training with non-default arguments use

python -m test --exp_name <experiment name> --num_hidden_blocks <number of hidden blocks in the classifier>

For default arguments the accuracies on various data subsets should be in the ballpark of the following

Train Val Test
86.17 85.05 84.65

A note on reproducibility: Reproducing the above numbers is possible only if all of the following are true:

  • random seeds in the and scripts are set to 0
  • train_val_split in income.yml is set to 0.8
  • default arguments are used during training


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