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C# bindings for BigML.io

These bindings expose a full LINQ provider, a strongly typed projection of all the JSON objects exposed by the REST API, as well as the ability to compile models to .NET assemblies.

The implementation of the LINQ provider may be an interesting topic of study by itself, and follows the pattern outlined in The World According to LINQ.

Adding JSON Library

This bindings uses the Newtonsoft.Json dll (See reference). So, its common to add it mannually. In order to add it you should use the package manager. In your visual studio enviroments go to the package manager console (Tools > Library packages manager > Package manager console) and type:

Install-Package Newtonsoft.Json -Version 12.0.3 BigML

you should see a message like this

'Newtonsoft.Json 12.0.3' was successfully added to BigML.

The NuGet of this library is available at https://www.nuget.org/packages/BigML/ . Last released version is 2.5.1. Previous versions (<2.0) use Microsoft's System.Json deprecated package and we encourage to update to a 2.0 version or higher.

Accessing BigML.io

To access BigML using the bindings, you first create a new client object by passing your user name and API key. The client object provides methods for most of the operations provided by the BigML API such as listing, filtering, and sorting your resources using LINQ queries. For instance, to list the sources in your account:

// New BigML client using username and API key.
Console.Write("user: "); var User = Console.ReadLine();
Console.Write("key: "); var ApiKey = Console.ReadLine();
var client = new Client(User, ApiKey);

Ordered<Source.Filterable, Source.Orderable, Source> result
      = (from s in client.ListSources()
	     orderby s.Created descending
	     select s);

var sources = await result;
foreach(var src in sources) Console.WriteLine(src.ToString());

Modeling steps and resources

The C# bindings allow you to create resources in BigML. The first resource that you will need to create is a source- Sources can be created from an in-memory collection. BigML (and the .NET bindings) also supports creating sources from local files, Amazon S3, or Azure Blob store. Creating a resource is an asynchronous operation that can take a while. We'll need to repeatedly poll until we get the resource in a finished status code.

// New source from in-memory stream, with separate header.
var source = await client.Create(iris, "Iris.csv", "sepal length, sepal width, petal length, petal width, species");
// No push, so we need to busy wait for the source to be processed.
while ((source = await client.Get(source)).StatusMessage.StatusCode != Code.Finished) await Task.Delay(10);
Console.WriteLine(source.StatusMessage.ToString());

The following step towards modeling would be creating a dataset. Datasets summarize the information in your data.

// Default dataset from source
var dataset = await client.Create(source);
// No push, so we need to busy wait for the source to be processed.
while ((dataset = await client.Get(dataset)).StatusMessage.StatusCode != Code.Finished) await Task.Delay(10);
Console.WriteLine(dataset.StatusMessage.ToString());

And now we would be ready to create a model from the dataset.

// Default model from dataset
var model = await client.Create(dataset);
// No push, so we need to busy wait for the source to be processed.
while ((model = await client.Get(model)).StatusMessage.StatusCode != Code.Finished) await Task.Delay(10);
Console.WriteLine(model.StatusMessage.ToString());

Using models locally

Models, like the rest of resources in BigML, are downloadable JSON objects. Each type of model has a particular scheme whose properties are described in the corresponding API documentation

Decision trees, for instance, contain a root property which is a JSON object that represents the rules that the algorithm has found in your data. The ModelStructure method of the Model class maps these rules into a tree of Nodes in memory. That is the Model.LocalModel. Given a new test input, you can use the local model to run the input through the rules and produce a prediction for the value of the model's target field (the objective field):

// Transforms JSON in tree structure
Model.LocalModel localModel = model.ModelStructure();

// --- Specify prediction inputs and calculate the prediction ---
// input data can be provided by fieldID or by name
Dictionary<string, dynamic> inputData = new Dictionary<string, dynamic>();
inputData.Add("sepal width", 5);
inputData.Add("00003", 2.5);
// Other values are ommited or unknown
Model.Node prediction = localModel.predict(inputData);

Console.WriteLine("result = {0}, expected = {1}", prediction.Output, "setosa");

The same can be done for ensembles using the EnsembleStructure method of the Ensemble class to create a LocalEnsemble.

Development and Testing

The BigML.Tests project in the repo contains some tests that can be run to ensure the bindings CRUD functionality. In order to connect to BigML you will need to set your credentials in BigML as properties in the app.config file.

The Iris project in the repo can be run on an external shell and will ask for your credentials in the command line prompt. It also tests a basic model creation workflow.

The WFormAppproject in the repo creates a form with two buttons that retrieve the list of sources in your environement and shows the number of them by using two different methods. In order to work, you need to set your credentials as environment variables: BIGML_USERNAME and BIGML_API_KEY.

Also, the Gists directory contains some examples of utilities to create local and remote predictions. All of them ask for your credentials using the command prompt.

Support

Please, refer to the information in Read the Docs to understand the use of these bindings.

Please, report problems and bugs to our BigML.io issue tracker.

You can also join us in our Campfire chatroom.

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