Lambda and Scale Nucleus: Empowering Your Model Training with Better Data

byon October 19, 2021

Editor’s note:

This post originally appeared on You can find a link to

it here.

Training accurate models typically requires a deep understanding of your

training data. Through visualization, it’s important to both identify

potential flaws in your ground truth labels, and to look for insights that

will guide model development. Thus, visualizing your training data is the

foundation of every successful deep learning project.

Nucleus is a tool from Scale that allows you to visualize and debug your

training data. It provides an intuitive web interface to visualize and explore

a wealth of different types of data and their labels. It also gives you the

tools to explore and understand the relationship between your data and the

model predictions that you generate.

In this post, we'll show you how you can get started with Nucleus by training

a pedestrian detection model. To do this, we will use Nucleus to visualize an

object detection dataset containing images of common street scenes, and

compare the ground truth to the predictions from a trained neural network.

This loop of inspecting your training data and looking for failure modes in a

network's predictions is a crucial process in refining both your training

dataset and your neural network.

Getting Started

The example model in this post was trained on a

Lambda Vector workstation


Lambda Stack. If you want to follow along, please see the

example notebook here.

To start, we’ll download the publicly available

Penn-Fudan Dataset,

which consists of photographs of pedestrian data with labeled bounding boxes.

To load these into Nucleus, we need to do two things: first, sign up for a

free Scale account and corresponding API key, and second, install the Nucleus

client on our Lambda workstation from a command prompt or shell:

pip install scale-nucleus

Training Data

Once we've installed the Nucleus client and downloaded the dataset, we can

upload the images and ground truth labels to a new Dataset we created in

Nucleus. (For the full details of how to do this, see

this section

of the notebook.) Now that we’ve uploaded the data, we can visualize the

ground truth labels in the Nucleus web dashboard without writing any code.

PennFudan pedestrian dataset with bounding boxes in Nucleus

Model Predictions

Now that we've "become one with our data," we can start thinking about training a neural network for object

detection. For this example we fine-tuned a

Faster R-CNN model

pre-trained on the COCO dataset.

Training it for 10 epochs only takes a few minutes on an


in a Lambda Vector Workstation.

After training is finished we can see that our model has reached an Average

Precision (AP@IoU=0.50:0.95) of 0.83. This sounds OK. It's not too far from

1, but what does it mean? Do we have a good pedestrian detector yet? The AP

metric of object detection is notoriously hard to get your head around, and

there are endless

blog posts

that aim to provide an intuition for it, but you’ll ultimately need to look

at our results to see how we're doing.

Nucleus allows us to upload our model predictions and compare them to the

ground truth. Here we can see that blue boxes predicted by our model match

pretty well with the green ground truths from the dataset:

Image Grid, Ground Truth versus Fast-RCNN Bounding Boxes

Nucleus Annotation, Classification, and IoU Detail

What to Try Next?

Nucleus also gives some nice tools to help us figure out what else we should

try to improve our accuracy results. Here we visualize the ground truth

labels with the model predictions so that we can get a feel for where our

model is going off the rails.

Correcting the Ground Truth Bounding Box in Nucleus

In many cases, it looks like our model is already doing a pretty good job,

and it's the ground truth labels that have actually missed some pedestrians!

For anyone who has worked on a practical machine learning project, this is

probably a familiar story—finding and fixing errors and problems in your

dataset is just as much part of deep learning as designing and training

models. In this case, we’ll need to go back to our data labels and fix the

ground truth errors in order to get a more accurate evaluation of our model.

This is also something we can do directly in Nucleus with its convenient

annotation tools.


Nucleus is a convenient way to visualize and organize your training data for

a machine learning project, as we showed in our object detection example.

Most importantly, it makes it easy to inspect and track the predictions from

your trained models, and helps you establish the virtuous cycle of training

networks, evaluating predictions, identifying failure cases, and improving

both data and models: all of these steps prove to be crucial in developing

an effective deep learning project.

To learn more about Lambda workstations,

check out Lambda’s website, or to get

started managing and improving your dataset,

sign up for Scale Nucleus here. If you want to try this workflow out on your own

Lambda workstation

or Lambda

Cloud instance, you

can explore the

example notebook here.

The future of your industry starts here.