Advancements in Machine Learning technology have the power to revolutionize various fields. These advancements range from helping us in protecting the Great Barrier Reef to assisting amputees in reclaiming mobility. All these, though, often require ML experience, expertise, and time.
To make machine learning (ML) accessible to everyone rather than limiting it to ML experts, the Google research team has been working on Simple ML for sheets. Simple ML was developed by the same Google teams that created TensorFlow, a popular open-source AI tool released by Google in 2015. Simple ML is a beta add-on for Google Sheets from the TensorFlow team that aims to make machine learning more accessible to everyone.
Anyone without any prior experience in Machine Learning and programming can experience and experiment the power of ML on their data which is present in their Google Sheets, in a few clicks. This add-on will help scientists, students, small business owners, business analysts working at large corporations, and anyone who can work with google sheets to automatically make valuable predictions. A Scientist, for example, can use this on molecular data and predict their age based on their DNA methylation. So it can be said that these ML-powered add-ons can be used to make predictions easily within a fingertip via the familiar Google Sheet interface that we keep using every day.
All we have to do is open the data in Google Sheets, and choose and execute the task that best describes what we want to accomplish, such as predicting missing values or detecting abnormal ones. The tasks are organized so you can use them even if you are unfamiliar with Machine Learning. After some time, once the model has made a prediction, you can investigate using the outcome to improve business decisions, automate tasks, or perform any of the seemingly limitless applications that ML enables. If you are new to machine learning, keep in mind that these are only statistical predictions and may be incorrect.
Even those who are already familiar with training and using Machine Learning models can use Simple ML in sheets as this can make their life easier. Simple ML in Sheets is built on state-of-the-art ML technology that also powers TensorFlow Decision Forests, and because it is pre-optimized, you may even get better models.
But of course, succeeding with ML is not just training and predicting a model; it is also important to focus on other aspects of the problem. Simple ML detects data anomalies by generating 10 AI models that automatically assess the accuracy of the information in a spreadsheet. Simple ML can also be used for the identification of anomalous data points. For example, this add-on can determine if a text snippet has been accidentally entered into a spreadsheet field that should have a numerical value. Simple ML also has the ability to analyze data that is stored in Google’s BigQuery, a cloud data warehouse through Google Sheets. This tool also helps users to process billions of rows without the hassle of writing any SQL queries.
The models are also saved to Google Drive automatically, allowing you to easily share them with the rest of your team. Because Simple ML is built on TensorFlow Decision Forests, you can also export Simple ML models to the TensorFlow ecosystem.
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Avanthy Yeluri is a Dual Degree student at IIT Kharagpur. She has a strong interest in Data Science because of its numerous applications across a variety of industries, as well as its cutting-edge technological advancements and how they are employed in daily life.