Generating Images with Just Noise using GANs

Generating Images with Just Noise using GANs


Using GAN networks for satellite image quality augmentation to identify trees next to power stations more accurately. The solution from this project helps to prevent power outages and fires sparked by falling trees and storms.


Using Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) for Data Augmentation


The GAN stands for Generative Adversarial Network, which is essentially applying game theory and put a couple of artificial neural networks to compete with each other while they are trained at the same time. One network tries to generate the image and the other tries to detect if it is real or fake. Actually, it is something very simple, but pretty effective too. This is clearer with an image:


But again, how can we use this to accomplish our goal? It turns out that there is a kind of GAN Network named pix2pix for Data Augmentation. This kind of GAN can be used as an input, a pre-defined sketch of the real one. Like take a doodle and from there build a picture like a landscape or anything you want. An example of this is the application that Nvidia did to generate artificial landscapes. The Link for the video is given here.

Ok, so maybe this can work. At that moment the label team has already labeled some images, so if we use these labels to build some doodles, then we can use this to train a GAN to generate the images. It actually works!




So now we just need to find a way to generate random doodles to feed the pix2pix GAN. So here is another GAN to the rescue, a DCGAN in this case. So, in this case, the idea was to generate a random doodle from random noise. Getting something like this:



And finally putting all the pieces together, with the help of some Python and Opencv code, we end up with a script that generates a 100% random image from pure noise with the corresponding labels. At the moment we can generate thousands of synthetic images with their corresponding labels in a JSON file in coco format. For the labels, we use the doodle to get labels by masking the colors and then build the synthetic images from the doodle.





For now, the results look promising, but they are just preliminary results and can be enhanced, for example, the labels that we use, only had labels for trees or not trees, this can be enhanced by another label to make the model more specific and accurate, like for example also label roads, fields, buildings, lakes, rivers and so on, to make the model generate this stuff.



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Omdena is an innovation platform for building AI solutions to real-world problems through the power of bottom-up global collaboration

Neural Transfer Learning in NLP for Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder Assessment

Neural Transfer Learning in NLP for Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder Assessment

The main goal of the project was to research and prototype technology and techniques suitable to create an intelligent chatbot to mitigate/assess PTSD in low resource settings.


The Problem Statement

“The challenge is to build a chatbot where a user can answer some questions and the system will guide the person with a number of therapy and advice options.”

We were allocated to the ML modeling team of the challenge. Our initial scope was nailing the problem to the most relevant specific use case. After some iterations and consultations among the team, we decided to tackle among multiple possible avenues (e.g. conversational natural language algorithms, expert system, etc.) the problem with a risk a binary assessment classifier suggestion based on labeled DSM5 criteria. The working hypothesis was that the classifier could be used as a backend of a chatbot in a low resource device that could detect the risk and refer the user to more specialized information or as a screening mechanism (in a refugee camp, in a resource depleted health facility, etc.).

The frontend of the system would be a chatbot ( potentially conversational mixed with open-ended questions) and one of the classifiers would be a risk assessment based on the conversation.

The tool is strictly informational/educational and in no circumstances, the intent is to replace health practitioners.

Our team Psychologist guided the annotation process. After a couple of iterations in the process, we ended up on a streamlined process that allowed us to classify ~50 transcripts (each with the transcripts of conversations).


The Baseline

Baseline algorithm implementation by different team members demonstrated that without further data-preprocessing with traditional ML methods accuracy rate was around 75%. Given the fact that we had a serious category imbalance issue, this is definitely not a metric to consider. An article is in the works with the details of the baseline infrastructure and traditional ML techniques applied to text classification problems ( ).


The Data

The annotation team ended up having access to 1,700 transcripts of sessions. After careful inspection, the team realized that only around 48 transcripts were for actual PTSD issues.

Training Examples: #48 PTSD transcripts each with an average of 2k+ lines

Example of an excerpt of a transcript available in [3]:



Target Definition: No-Risk Detected-> 0 or Risk Detected: 1



From an NLP/ML problem taxonomy perspective, the number of datasets is extremely limited. So this problem would be classified as a few shots of classification problems [4].

Prior art on using these techniques when the data is limited prompted the team to explore the Transfer Learning avenue in NLP with recent encouraging results in a few shots training and data augmentation through back-translation techniques.

The picture below elucidates a pandas data frame resulted in an intense data munging process and target calculations ( based on DSM5 manual recommendations) and the amazing work of our annotation team:




The Solution




The ULMFit algorithm was one of the initial techniques to provide effective neural transfer learning with success for the state of the art NLP benchmarks[1]

The algorithm and the paper introduce a myriad of techniques to improve the efficiency of RNNs training. We will delve below in the most fundamental ones.

The pre-assumption on modern transfer learning in NLP problems is that all the inputs of all the text will be transformed in numeric values based on word embeddings[8]. In that way, we ensure semantic representation and at the same time numeric inputs to feed the neural network architecture at hand.

From a context perspective. Traditional ML relies solely on the data that you have for the learning task while Transfer Learning trains on top of weights of neural networks (NLP) pre-trained on a large corpus (examples: Wikipedia, public domain books). Successes for transfer learning in NLP and Computer Vision are widespread in the last decade.


Copied from [5]



Transfer learning is a good candidate when you have few training examples and can leverage existing pre-trained powerful networks.

UMLFit works as shown by the diagram below:


Copied from [5]



  • Pre-trained Language Model (for example with Wikipedia data)
  • Data is fine-tuned with your corpus (not annotated)
  • A classifier layer is added to the end of your network.

A simple narrative for our case is the following: The model learns the general mechanics of the English language with the Wikipedia corpus. We specialize in the model with the available transcripts both annotated and not annotated and in the end, we are able to classify this model by chopping the sequence component final layer with a regular Softmax based classifier.


LSTM & AWD Regularization Technique

At the core of UMLFit implementation is a bidirectional LSTM’s and a technique called ASGD WD ( Average Stochastic Gradient Descent Weight Dropped).

LSTM ( Long Short Term Memory) networks are the basic block of state of the art deep learning approaches to solve Transfer Learning in NLP sequence 2 sequence prediction problems. A sequence prediction problem consists of predicting the next word given the previous text:


Copied from [6]



LSTM’s are ideal for language modeling and sequence prediction(increasingly being used in Time Series Forecasting as well ) because they maintain a memory of previous input elements. Each X element in our particular situation would be a token that would generate an output (sequence) and would be sent to the next block so it’s considered during the ht output calculation. Optimal weights will be backpropagated through the network-driven by the appropriate loss function.

One component of this regularization technique (WD) involves introducing dropouts on the weights of the hidden<->hidden states connections, which is quite unique compared with the drop out techniques.


Copied from [7]



Another component of the regularization is the Average Stochastic Gradient Descent, that basically instead of just including the current step it also takes into consideration the previous step and returns an average[7]. More details about the implementation can be found here.

A more detailed ULMFit Diagram can be seen below where the LSTM’s components are described with the different steps of the implementation of the algorithm:


Copied from [5]



General-Domain LM (Language Model) Pretraining

This is the initial phase of the algorithm where a Language model is pre-trained in powerful machines with a public corpus of data-set. The language model problem is very simple: given a phrase the set of probabilities of the next word (probably one of the most oblivious use of Deep Learning in our daily lives):



We will use for this problem, in particular, the available FastAI implementation of ULMFit to elucidate the process in practical terms:

In order to choose the ULMFit implementation in fastai, you will have to specify the language model AWD_LSTM as mentioned before.


language_model_learner(data_lm, AWD_LSTM, drop_mult=0.5)


The code above does a lot in the good style of using the libraries FastAI and sklearn is being used to produce a train and validation set and fastai is being used to instantiate and UMLFit language model learner.


Target task LM Fine-Tuning

On the code presented on LM model section, we basically instantiate a pre-trained ULMFit language model with the right configuration of the algorithm ( there are other options for language models TransformersXL + QNNs ):


from fastai import language_model_learner 
from fastai import TextLMDataBunch
from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_split
# split data into training and validation set
df_trn, df_val = train_test_split(final_dataset, 
stratify = df['label'], test_size = 0.3, random_state = 12)
data_lm = TextLMDataBunch.from_df(train_df = df_trn, 
valid_df = df_val, path = "")
learn = language_model_learner(data_lm, AWD_LSTM, drop_mult=0.5)


The (pseudo)/code above basically retrieves our training and validation datasets stratified and creates a language_model_learner based on our own model. The important detail of the language model is that it doesn’t need annotated data ( perfect of our situation with limited annotated data but a bigger corpus of non annotated transcripts). Basically, we are creating a language model for our own specialized domain on top of the huge general Wikipedia kind of language model.


language_model_learner.fit_one_cycle(1, 1e-2)


The code above basically unfreezes the pre-trained language model and executes one cycle of training on top of the new data with the specified learning rate.

Part of the process of ULMFit is applying discriminative learning rates through the different cycles of learning :


For a neural language model, the accuracy of around 30% is considered acceptable given the size of the corpus and possibilities [1].


After this point we are able to generate text from our very specific language model:


Excerpt from text generated from our language model.


At this point, we have a reasonable text generator for our specific context. The ultimate value of UMLFit is on the ability to transform a language model in a relatively powerful text classifier.'ft')

The code above saves the model for further reuse.


Target Task Classifier:

The last step of the ULMFit algorithm is to replace the last component of the language model with a classifier softmax “head” and train on top of it the specific labeled data on our project. It means the PTSD annotated transcripts.


classifier = text_classifier_learner(data_clas, 
AWD_LSTM, drop_mult=0.5).to_fp16()
classifier.fit_one_cycle(1, 1e-2)
#Unfreezing a train a bit more
classifier.fit_one_cycle(3, slice(1e-4, 1e-2))


The same technique of discriminative learning rates was used above for the classifier with much better accuracy rates. Results on the classifier specifically were not the main goal for this article a subsequent article will delve into finetuning UMLFit comparison and addition of classifier specific metrics ranking and use of data augmentation techniques such us back-translation and different re-sampling techniques.


Initial Results of the UMLFit based classifier.


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Using Neural Networks to Predict Droughts, Floods and Conflict Displacements in Somalia

Using Neural Networks to Predict Droughts, Floods and Conflict Displacements in Somalia


The Problem


Millions of people are forced to leave their current area of residence or community due to resource shortage and natural disasters such as droughts, floods. Our project partner, UNHCR, provides assistance and protection for those who are forcibly displaced inside Somalia.

The goal of this challenge was to create a solution that quantifies the influence of climate change anomalies on forced displacement and/or violent conflict through satellite imaging analysis and neural networks for Somalia.


The Data 

The UNHCR Innovation team provided the displacement dataset, which contains:

Month End, Year Week, Current (Arrival) Region, Current (Arrival) District, Previous (Departure) Region, Previous (Departure) District, Reason, Current (Arrival) Priority Need, Number of Individuals. These internal displacements are weekly recorded since 2016.

While searching for how to extract the data we learned about NDVI (Normalized difference vegetation index), and NDWI (Normalized Difference Water Index).

Our focus was on finding a way to apply NDVI and NDWI on Satellite Imaging and Neural Networks to prevent Climate Change disasters.

Landsat (EarthExplorer) and MODIS, Hydrology (e.g. river levels, river discharge, an indication of floods/drought), Settlement/shelters GEO (GEO portal). These images have 13 bands and take up around 1GB of storage space per image.

Also, the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offer very interesting data like Somalia Vegetation Health print screens taken from STAR — Global Vegetation Health Products.




By looking at the above picture points I figured that the Vegetation Health Index (VHI) could be having a correlation with people displacement.


We found an interesting chart, which captured my attention,

  • Go to STAR’s web page.
  • Click on Data type and select which kind of data you want
  • Check the following image




  •  Click on the region of interest and follow the steps below





VHI index’s weekly since 1984



STAR’s web page provides SMN, SMT, VCI, TCI, VHI index’s weekly since 1984 split in provinces.

SMN= Provincial mean NDVI with noise reduced
SMT=Provincial mean brightness Temperature with noice reduced
VCI = Vegetation cond index ( VCI <40 indicates moisture stress; VCI >60: favorable condition)
TCI= thermal condition Index (TCI <40 indicates thermal stress; TCI >60: favorable condition)
VHI =vegetation Health Index (VHI <40 indicates vegetation stress; VHI >60: favorable condition))

Drought vegetation

VHI<15 indicates drought from severe-to-exceptional intensity

VHI<35 indicates drought from moderate-to-exceptional intensity

VHI>65 indicates good vegetation condition

VHI>85 indicates very good vegetation condition

In order to derive insights from the findings, the following questions needed to be answered.

Does vegetation health correlate to displacements? And is there a lag between vegetation health and observed displacement? Below visualizations provide answers.


Correlation between Vegetation Health Index values of Shabeellaha Hoose and the number of individuals registered due to Conflict/Insecurity.



Correlation between the Number of Individuals from Hiiraan Displacements caused by flood and VHI data.



Correlation between the Number of Individuals from Sool Displacements caused by drought.



The Solution: Building the Neural Network

We developed a neural network that predicts the weekly VHI of Somalia using historical data as described above. You can find the model here.

The model produces a validation loss of 0.030 and training loss of 0.005, Below is the prediction of the neural network using test data.


Prediction versus the original value




More about Omdena

Omdena is an innovation platform for building AI solutions to real-world problems through the power of bottom-up collaboration.


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