An Exploratory Study on Machine Learning Model Stores

by   Minke Xiu, et al.

Recent advances in Artificial Intelligence, especially in Machine Learning (ML), have brought applications previously considered as science fiction (e.g., virtual personal assistants and autonomous cars) into the reach of millions of everyday users. Since modern ML technologies like deep learning require considerable technical expertise and resource to build custom models, reusing existing models trained by experts has become essential. This is why in the past year model stores have been introduced, which, similar to mobile app stores, offer organizations and developers access to pre-trained models and/or their code to train, evaluate, and predict samples. This paper conducts an exploratory study on three popular model stores (AWS marketplace, Wolfram neural net repository, and ModelDepot) that compares the information elements (features and policies) provided by model stores to those used by the two popular mobile app stores (Google Play and Apple's App Store). We have found that the model information elements vary among the different model stores, with 65 information elements with mobile app stores, while eight elements are unique to model stores and four elements unique to app stores. Only few models were available on multiple model stores. Our findings allow to better understand the differences between ML models and "regular" source code components or applications, and provide inspiration to identify software engineering practices (e.g., in requirements and delivery) specific to ML applications.


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