· 3 min read

Lessons Learned from my first Deep Learning contest

Game of Deep Learning was an image recognition challenge on AnalyticsVidya. The task was to classify 5 different types of Ships (Cargo, Military, Carrier, Cruise, and Tankers)

Game of Deep Learning was an image recognition challenge on AnalyticsVidya. The task was to classify 5 different types of Ships (Cargo, Military, Carrier, Cruise, and Tankers)

![0_final_score]({{ site.baseurl }}/images/2019-06-23-lessons_from_first_deep_learning_competition/0_final_score.png)

My rank is 41 out of 441. (0.97 F1 Score).

Before this, I had only practiced 2 lessons from Fast.ai and watched the first 5 lessons.

After the contest, I saw other participant’s approaches and found that their approach was much clearer and cleaner than mine.

Therefore, I decided to complete Fast.ai’s Deep Learning for Coders.

The contest was a month ago from this writing. I had the time to really sit and figure out what went well and what didn’t.


Here was my approach which I did in stages:

Step 1: Make models

1. Make a simple resnet50 model. And make sure input and output submission file are correct.

2. Improve the model. I found that the images were black and old. But the number of images were less and we cannot use external data so my solution was.

  • Heavy data augmentation (warping, crops, rotations): lead to 5—7 percent increase in F1 score and accuracy.

  • Progressive increase image size.

  • I initially started with (50,70) images

  • Trained it that then increased it. Trained it again.

3. Training approach.

  • Freeze the model train for 4 epochs
  • Unfreeze the model train for 7 epochs
  • I found unfreezing was getting higher accuracy but only when done more than freeze training. 7 is what I stuck at.
  • I replicated the kernel and trained resnet18, resnet34, vgg16, vgg19 and densenet121 so that I can ensemble there outputs
  • Model Making Environment: Kaggle Code at Models directory

Step 2: Max Ensemble

After I had all the outputs from different models.

I used the output CSVs to make a max ensemble.

(You will see that I have renamed file names to be ‘modelname’.csv in ensemble folder and the output file is ‘simple.csv’)

Ensemble making environment: Local

Code: ankschoubey/AnalyticsVidya_Game_Of_Deep_Learning

Lessons and Mistakes Learned



  • I trained on Kaggle Kernel. The only way to get output files was to commit.

  • I also did not load existing models because on Kaggle you have to attach it as a dataset and then load. It’s a pain so I did not bother.

  • It would have been much easier to train on Google Cloud, Collab or Clouderizer.

Should have used discriminative learning rate.

  • Transfer learning without discriminative learning rate is stupid.

Refactor code early before replicating the kernel

  • I replicated kernels so that I can train different models on different kernels and get results faster.

  • The problem was that I had introduced a bug which got replicated. Also, making changes was a pain because I had to copy paste things multiple times.

Use metrics used in the contest

Kind of dumb to mention this: I did not use the F1 score. Rather relied on accuracy.

Save as many things as I can so that you save time later

  • Save results

  • Save model

  • Save data

Use Checkpoints

  • Did forget the idea of checkpoints entirely.

Useless Model

  • I made an ensemble which sucked because it only lead to 0.05 percent improvement.

  • The reason was I used a lot of mediocre models.

  • 1 ResNet 34/50 would have been fine.

  • Also did not know about DenseNet very well back then.

  • I believe that an ensemble of ResNet and DenseNet would have been wonderful.


Look at the data and use good augmentation

  • I saw some images were grey scale and old. I might have got a higher score if I had taken time

![1_data_augmentation]({{ site.baseurl }}/images/2019-06-23-lessons_from_first_deep_learning_competition/1_data_augmentation.png)

Using good data augmentation.

My model was not performing well. 93—94% accuracy was the limit.

I buffed up every transformation. And it started reaching 96+. Warping helped a lot.

![2_buffed_up_data_augmentationpng]({{ site.baseurl }}/images/2019-06-23-lessons_from_first_deep_learning_competition/2_buffed_up_data_augmentationpng.png)

Developer Habits

  • Start submissions early in the contest. And complete your work at least 3—4 days before the end.

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