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SciKit-Learn Laboratory (SKLL) makes it easy to run machine learning experiments.
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SciKit-Learn Laboratory

Build status PyPI downloads Latest version on PyPI License DOI for citing SKLL 1.0.0

This Python package provides command-line utilities to make it easier to run machine learning experiments with scikit-learn. One of the primary goals of our project is to make it so that you can run scikit-learn experiments without actually needing to write any code other than what you used to generate/extract the features.

Command-line Interface

The main utility we provide is called run_experiment and it can be used to easily run a series of learners on datasets specified in a configuration file like:

experiment_name = Titanic_Evaluate_Tuned
# valid tasks: cross_validate, evaluate, predict, train
task = evaluate

# these directories could also be absolute paths
# (and must be if you're not running things in local mode)
train_directory = train
test_directory = dev
# Can specify multiple sets of feature files that are merged together automatically
# (even across formats)
featuresets = [["family.ndj", "misc.csv", "socioeconomic.arff", "vitals.csv"]]
# List of scikit-learn learners to use
learners = ["RandomForestClassifier", "DecisionTreeClassifier", "SVC", "MultinomialNB"]
# Column in CSV containing labels to predict
label_col = Survived
# Column in CSV containing instance IDs (if any)
id_col = PassengerId

# Should we tune parameters of all learners by searching provided parameter grids?
grid_search = true
# Function to maximize when performing grid search
objective = accuracy

# again, these can/should be absolute paths
log = output
results = output
predictions = output
models = output

For more information about getting started with run_experiment, please check out our tutorial, or our config file specs.

We also provide utilities for:

Python API

If you just want to avoid writing a lot of boilerplate learning code, you can also use our simple Python API. The main way you'll want to use the API is through the Learner and Reader classes. For more details on our API, see the documentation.

While our API can be broadly useful, it should be noted that the command-line utilities are intended as the primary way of using SKLL. The API is just a nice side-effect of our developing the utilities.

A Note on Pronunciation

SKLL logo

SciKit-Learn Laboratory (SKLL) is pronounced "skull": that's where the learning happens.



  • Simpler Machine Learning with SKLL 1.0, Dan Blanchard, PyData NYC 2014 (video | slides)
  • Simpler Machine Learning with SKLL, Dan Blanchard, PyData NYC 2013 (video | slides)


SKLL is featured in Data Science at the Command Line by Jeroen Janssens.


See GitHub releases.

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