Machine learning is a process driven by iteration and experimentation which requires fast and easy access to relevant features of the data being processed. In order to reduce friction in the process of developing and delivering models there has been a recent trend toward building a dedicated feature. In this episode Simba Khadder discusses his work at StreamSQL building a feature store to make creation, discovery, and monitoring of features fast and easy to manage. He describes the architecture of the system, the benefits of streaming data for machine learning, and how a feature store provides a useful interface between data engineers and machine learning engineers to reduce communication overhead.
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- Your host is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Simba Khadder about his views on the importance of ML feature stores, and his experience implementing one at StreamSQL
- How did you get involved in the areas of machine learning and data management?
- What is StreamSQL and what motivated you to start the business?
- Can you describe what a machine learning feature is?
- What is the difference between generating features for training a model and generating features for serving?
- How is feature management typically handled today?
- What is a feature store and how is it different from the status quo?
- What is the overall lifecycle of identifying useful features, defining and generating them, using them for training, and then serving them in production?
- How does the usage of a feature store impact the workflow of ML engineers/data scientists and data engineers?
- What are the general requirements of a feature store?
- What additional capabilities or tangential services are necessary for providing a pleasant UX for a feature store?
- How is discovery and documentation of features handled?
- What is the current landscape of feature stores and how does StreamSQL compare?
- How is the StreamSQL feature store implemented?
- How is the supporting infrastructure architected and how has it evolved since you first began working on it?
- Why is streaming data such a focal point of feature stores?
- How do you generate features for training?
- How do you approach monitoring of features and what does remediation look like for a feature that is no longer valid?
- How do you handle versioning and deploying features?
- What’s the process for integrating data sources into StreamSQL for processing into features?
- How are the features materialized?
- What are the most challenging or complex aspects of working on or with a feature store?
- When is StreamSQL the wrong choice for a feature store?
- What are the most interesting, challenging, or unexpected lessons that you have learned in the process of building StreamSQL?
- What do you have planned for the future of the product?
- From your perspective, what is the biggest gap in the tooling or technology for data management today?
- Thank you for listening! Don’t forget to check out our other show, Podcast.__init__ to learn about the Python language, its community, and the innovative ways it is being used.
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