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Roadmap

This is the list of features we are considering for the next few feature releases of Tribuo. As always, we're interested in the community's feedback, and Tribuo's development will be informed by what our users want.

Tribuo conforms to semantic versioning, so some of these features may be held back until the next major release, while others will land in minor releases.

We've broken this list up into several categories: API changes, internals, new ML algorithms, performance and documentation.

API Changes

  • Support for ranking and other structured outputs. Tribuo's sequence example support is great for structured prediction on text, but doesn't integrate well with the rest of the type system. We'd like to refactor it to make the structure flexible and user controlled, and then extend out support for ranking tasks and other multi-example tasks.
  • Online learning. Tribuo doesn't currently support online learning, and it could be simply extended to support it when the feature and output domains do not change size (i.e., observing new data drawn i.i.d. from the same training distribution). We'd also like to support online learning in environments with concept drift and dataset shift, but those problems are harder and so further down the roadmap.
  • Add hypothesis testing support to the evaluations.
  • Add alternate indexes to Dataset. Currently Dataset is indexed by an integer id, its position in the underlying list. It would be useful to have a Map view of a dataset to subsample it for specific operations (though this can be achieved today using DatasetView and predicates).
  • Make Examples immutable after they've been added to a Dataset. This is likely to be a breaking change.
  • Add support for global feature transformations, like normalizing to a unit vector, applying PCA and others.
  • Integrate with a plotting library.
  • ONNX format model export.
    • In 4.2 we support exporting linear models, sparse linear models, factorization machines, liblinear, libsvm and ensembles containing the previously listed models.

Internals

  • Better support different feature types. Currently the feature domain only knows of categorical and real valued features, and promotes the former to the latter when there are too many categories. This could be tied into the RowProcessor to give the user control over the feature types, which could filter down into algorithmic choices elsewhere in the package.
  • Serialization. We'd like to have alternate serialization mechanisms for models and datasets until Java's serialization mechanisms improve.
    • In 4.3 we added protobuf serialization to Tribuo and deprecated Java serialization.
  • Caching datasource. Datasources may currently perform expensive feature extraction steps (I'm looking at you RowProcessor), and it would be useful to be able to cache the output of that locally, while maintaining the link to the original data. We don't have a firm design for this feature yet, but we're in need of it for some internal work.
  • KMeans & Nearest Neighbour share very little code, but are conceptually very similar. We'd like to refactor out the shared code (while maintaining serialization compatibility).
    • In 4.3 we added a distance querying interface and refactored KMeans, KNN and HDBSCAN to use it.
  • Allow DatasetView to regenerate its feature and output domains. Currently all views of a dataset share the same immutable feature domain, but in some cases this can leak information from test time to train (e.g., when using the unselected data as an out of bag sample).
  • Fix batch prediction methods so they don't throw IllegalArgumentException in the middle of a batch, and instead return all the valid predictions and a list of the invalid predictions (i.e., ones with invalid examples, or examples which didn't have suitable features for the model).

New ML algorithms or parameters

  • Add K-Means++ initialisation for K-Means.
    • Integrated in Tribuo 4.1.
  • Add extra parameters to the tree trainers to allow for an ExtraTrees style ensemble, and to specify a minimum purity decrease requirement.
    • Integrated in Tribuo 4.1.
  • Gaussian Processes.
  • Vowpal Wabbit interface.
  • Feature selection. We already have several feature selection algorithms implemented in a Tribuo compatible interface, but the codebase isn't quite ready for release.
    • Feature selection for classification problems is integrated in Tribuo 4.3.
  • Support word embedding features.
  • Support contextualised word embeddings (through the ONNX or TensorFlow interfaces).
    • ONNX support for BERT embeddings is integrated in Tribuo 4.1.
  • More complex Multi-Label prediction algorithms.
    • A Multi-Label linear SGD is integrated in Tribuo 4.1.
    • Multi-label factorization machines are integrated in Tribuo 4.2.
    • Classifier chains and classifier chain ensembles are integrated in Tribuo 4.2.
  • More anomaly detection algorithms.
    • LibLinear based anomaly detection is integrated in Tribuo 4.1.
  • More clustering algorithms.
    • Added HDBSCAN in Tribuo 4.2.
  • Factorization machines for classification and regression.
    • Integrated in Tribuo 4.2.

Performance

  • Trees:
    • Support parallel training of trees and forests (this is mostly supported at the tree level, but needs some work at the ensemble level).
    • Reduce repeated work in the regression impurity metrics.
    • Prevent wasted computation when computing leaves (leaf nodes have their statistics computed as if they were going to be split, even when it is known they won't due to their size). Integrated and arriving in Tribuo 4.1.
  • Multithreading the various SGD based trainers using a Hogwild approach.
  • Incorporate support for a BLAS.
  • Investigate use of the Java Vector API to improve performance critical math operations.

Documentation

  • Fill out the javadoc so it exists for all public and protected methods, including constructors.
    • Javadoc for all public methods and fields is present in Tribuo 4.2.
  • Add more tutorials.
    • Tribuo 4.0.2 adds tutorials for external model loading and columnar data processing.
    • Tribuo 4.1 adds tutorials for TensorFlow and document classification.
    • Tribuo 4.2 adds tutorials for multi-label classification, HDBSCAN clustering, ONNX export, and model reproducibility.