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Manage Deep Learning Datasets

Updated: Feb 24

In deep learning, effective dataset management plays a pivotal role in ensuring the success of machine learning projects. Proper organization, accessibility, and preprocessing of data are essential steps that significantly impact the performance and efficiency of deep learning models.

Hub by Activeloop presents an innovative solution to the challenges of dataset management in deep learning. With its unique approach, Hub offers a comprehensive platform for arranging, storing, and accessing data efficiently, catering to the diverse needs of data scientists, researchers, and developers.

Deep Learning

Understanding Hub in Deep Learning

Hub by Activeloop stands as a pivotal tool in the realm of deep learning dataset management, offering a comprehensive solution to streamline data organization and utilization.

Hub is an open-source Python package designed to structure data into Numpy-like arrays, facilitating efficient handling and processing.

Its primary objective is to provide a seamless platform for managing diverse datasets, integrating with leading deep learning frameworks such as TensorFlow and PyTorch.

Core Functionalities:

Hub encompasses a range of functionalities essential for effective dataset management:

  1. Data Organization: It offers robust mechanisms to arrange data, ensuring coherence and accessibility.

  2. Integration with Deep Learning Frameworks: Hub seamlessly integrates with TensorFlow and PyTorch, enhancing GPU processing speed and training efficiency.

  3. API Capabilities: Through its API, users can update, visualize, and create machine learning pipelines with ease.

The integration with deep learning frameworks not only accelerates GPU processing but also simplifies training workflows, eliminating the need for complex data pipelines.

Facilitating Faster GPU Processing and Training:

  • Hub's architecture is optimized to leverage the computational power of GPUs, enabling accelerated data processing and model training.

  • By organizing data in Numpy-like arrays and seamlessly integrating with deep learning frameworks, Hub minimizes data transfer overheads, resulting in faster training cycles.

Hub's Versatility and Features:

  • Hub caters to a wide array of data types, including images, audio, video, and time-series data, ensuring compatibility with diverse datasets.

  • It offers flexible storage options, allowing data to be stored on GCS/S3 buckets, local storage, or Activeloop cloud, ensuring accessibility and scalability.

  • With direct integration into PyTorch training pipelines, Hub simplifies the training process, eliminating the need for manual data preprocessing and pipeline setup.

  • Additionally, Hub boasts features such as data version control, dataset search queries, and distributed workload management, further enhancing its utility and efficiency.

User Experience:

  • Testimonials attest to the remarkable user experience offered by Hub, with users reporting the ability to create and push data to the cloud within minutes.

  • The intuitive interface and robust functionality of Hub streamline the dataset management process, empowering users to focus on their Machine learning tasks.

In this blog, we will delve deeper into the practical applications of Hub, exploring how it can be utilized to initialize datasets on Activeloop cloud, process images, push data to the cloud, implement data version control, and visualize data effectively. Hub's comprehensive feature set makes it an indispensable tool for modern Machine learning workflows.

Key Features of Hub

Hub by Activeloop boasts a plethora of features that empower users to manage deep learning datasets efficiently and effectively. Let's delve into a detailed exploration of its key functionalities:

1. Storage Capabilities:

  • Hub offers robust storage capabilities for a wide range of data types, including images, audio, video, and time-series data.

  • Users can organize and store diverse datasets within Hub, ensuring accessibility and coherence.

2. Compatibility with Different Storage Options:

  • One of Hub's standout features is its compatibility with various storage options, catering to diverse user preferences and requirements.

  • Data can be stored on Google Cloud Storage (GCS) or Amazon S3 buckets, facilitating seamless integration with existing cloud infrastructure.

  • Additionally, Hub supports local storage, enabling users to manage datasets on their local machines efficiently.

3. Direct Integration with PyTorch:

  • Hub's direct integration with PyTorch simplifies the training process by eliminating the need for complex data pipelines.

  • Users can seamlessly incorporate datasets stored in Hub directly into their PyTorch training workflows, enhancing efficiency and productivity.

  • This integration streamlines the data preprocessing stage, allowing users to focus on model development and experimentation.

4. Additional Features:

  • Data Version Control: Hub offers robust version control capabilities, allowing users to track and manage different versions of datasets effectively.

  • Dataset Search Queries: Users can leverage Hub's search functionality to query and retrieve datasets based on specific criteria, enhancing accessibility and usability.

  • Distributed Workloads: Hub supports distributed workload management, enabling users to scale their data processing tasks across multiple machines or nodes seamlessly.

About Activeloop Storage

Activeloop offers both free and paid storage options for open-source and private datasets. Users can access up to 200 GB of free storage by referring others to the platform.

Activeloop's Hub provides seamless integration with the Database for AI, enabling users to visualize datasets with labels and perform complex search queries for effective data analysis.

The platform hosts a diverse collection of over 100 datasets covering various domains such as image segmentation, classification, and object detection.

Deep Learning - Activeloop storage

To create an Activeloop account, users can sign up on the Activeloop website or use the command line interface (CLI) with !activeloop register. During registration, users need to provide a username, password, and email address.

After successfully creating an account, users can log in using the command !activeloop login -u <username> -p <password>.

!activeloop register 
!activeloop login -u  -p 

his allows users to access their account and manage cloud datasets directly from their local machine.

Initializing a Hub Dataset

Creating a Hub dataset involves several steps to ensure seamless integration with the chosen dataset and storage infrastructure. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to create a Hub dataset using the Kaggle dataset "Multi-class Weather."

Accessing and Preparing the Dataset:

The Kaggle dataset "Multi-class Weather" under (CC BY 4.0) contains four folders based on weather classification: Sunrise, Sunshine, Rain, and Cloudy.

To access the dataset, first install the required packages, including Hub and Kaggle, which facilitate dataset management.

Use the following commands to install these packages:

!pip install hub kaggle

Once installed, download the dataset directly from Kaggle using the Kaggle API. Execute the following command to download the dataset:

!kaggle datasets download -d pratik2901/multiclass-weather-dataset

After downloading, unzip the dataset to access its contents. Use the following command to unzip the dataset:

!unzip multiclass-weather-dataset

Initializing a Hub Dataset Instance:

Now that we have access to the dataset, we can proceed to create a Hub dataset instance on the Activeloop cloud.

The hub.dataset() function is used to initialize a Hub dataset instance. This function can either create a new dataset or access an existing one.

To create a new dataset on the Activeloop cloud, we need to provide a URL containing the username and dataset name in the following format:


For example, to create a dataset with the username "kingabzpro" and the dataset name "multiclass-weather-dataset," the URL would be:


Import the Hub package and initialize the dataset instance as follows:

import hub 
ds = hub.dataset('hub://kingabzpro/multiclass-weather-dataset')

Configuring Storage Options:

Hub offers various storage options, including the Activeloop cloud and AWS buckets, for storing datasets.

By default, the dataset is stored on the Activeloop cloud. However, users can provide an AWS bucket address to create a dataset on the Amazon server.

The dataset instance created above is now configured to store data on the Activeloop cloud, enabling seamless access and management of the dataset.

Data Preprocessing

Before processing data into Hub format, it's essential to undergo data preprocessing to ensure data integrity and usability within Hub.

Data preprocessing involves several crucial steps, including data cleaning, transformation, and organization, to prepare the dataset for ingestion into Hub.

Proper data preprocessing helps in standardizing the dataset structure, handling missing values, and ensuring consistency across different data sources.

Code Examples for Extraction of Folder Names and Compilation of File Lists:

To prepare the dataset for ingestion into Hub, we need to extract folder names and compile a list of files available in the dataset folder.

The following code demonstrates how to extract folder names and compile a list of files using Python's os module:

from PIL import Image 
import numpy as np 
import os  

dataset_folder = '/work/multiclass-weather-dataset/Multi-class Weather Dataset'  

class_names = os.listdir(dataset_folder)  

files_list = [] 
for dirpath, dirnames, filenames in os.walk(dataset_folder):     
    for filename in filenames:         
        files_list.append(os.path.join(dirpath, filename))

This code snippet traverses through the dataset folder structure, extracts folder names as class labels, and compiles a list of file paths for further processing.

file_to_hub Function:

The file_to_hub function plays a crucial role in converting image files into Numpy-like arrays for inclusion in the Hub dataset.

This function takes three arguments: file name, dataset, and class names, and performs the following tasks:

  • Extracts labels from each image file and converts them into integers based on the provided class names.

  • Converts image files into Numpy-like arrays and appends them to tensors.

  • Prepares the data for ingestion into Hub by organizing it into tensors for image data and labels.

def file_to_hub(file_name, sample_out, class_names):    

# First two arguments are always default arguments containing:     
#     1st argument is an element of the input iterable (list, dataset, array,...)     
#     2nd argument is a dataset sample     
# Other arguments are optional          
# Find the label number corresponding to the file     
	label_text = os.path.basename(os.path.dirname(file_name))       
	label_num = class_names.index(label_text)          
  	# Append the label and image to the output sample     
	return sample_out

This function is annotated with @hub.compute to indicate that it will be executed in a distributed manner for efficient processing.

Once the preprocessing is complete, the data can be organized into tensors and pushed to the cloud using Hub, enabling seamless access and management of the dataset.

By following the provided code examples and utilizing the file_to_hub function, users can efficiently preprocess and convert data for inclusion in Hub datasets.

with ds:     
    ds.create_tensor('images', htype = 'image', sample_compression = 'png')     
    ds.create_tensor('labels', htype = 'class_label', class_names = class_names)          
    file_to_hub(class_names=class_names).eval(files_list, ds, num_workers = 2)

Data Visualization

Hub offers robust data visualization capabilities that allow users to explore datasets with labels and descriptions effectively.

These features enhance dataset accessibility and usability by providing users with valuable insights into the dataset's content, structure, and distribution.

Users can easily navigate through the dataset, view sample images, and access metadata such as labels and descriptions for each sample.

To leverage Hub's data visualization capabilities, users can utilize Python API and various visualization tools such as PIL's Image function.

Using Python API, users can access dataset samples, labels, and descriptions, and visualize them seamlessly within their preferred environment.

Below is a demonstration of how to visualize dataset samples and labels using Python API:

from PIL import Image

# Accessing and visualizing a sample image from the dataset
sample_image = Image.fromarray(ds["images"][0].numpy())

# Accessing and visualizing the label of the first sample
class_names = ds["labels"].info.class_names 
label_index = ds["labels"][0].numpy()[0]
label_text = class_names[label_index]
print(label_text)  # Output: 'Cloudy'
Deep Learning - Data Visualization

In the above code snippet:

  • Image.fromarray(ds["images"][0].numpy()) converts the Numpy array representing the first sample image into a PIL Image object.

  • displays the sample image.

  • ds["labels"][0].numpy()[0] retrieves the label index of the first sample.

  • class_names[label_index] maps the label index to its corresponding label text.


Hub provides robust version control features similar to Git and DVC, allowing users to manage different dataset versions through branching and committing changes.

These version control features ensure transparency and traceability in dataset modifications by documenting each change and enabling users to track the evolution of their datasets over time.

Showcase of Updating Class Names and Creating Commits:

To update class names or make any other modifications to the dataset, users can utilize Hub's commit functionality.

Below is a demonstrative example showcasing how to update class names and create commits within Hub:

# Updae class names information = class_names)  

# Create a comit with a descriptive message
commit_id = ds.commit("Class names added")


# Output: '455ec7d2b49a36c14f3d80d0879369c4d0a70143'

In the above code snippet:

  • updates the class names information in the dataset.

  • ds.commit("Class names added") creates a commit with the specified message, documenting the changes made to the dataset.

After creating a commit, users can view the commit details and track the dataset's version history using Hub's version log:

log = ds.log() 

# Displaying the version log
print("Hub Version Log")
print(f"Current Branch: {log['current_branch']}")
print(f"Commit: {log['commit_id']} ({log['branch']})")
print(f"Author: {log['author']}")
print(f"Time: {log['timestamp']}")
print(f"Message: {log['message']}")

User Experience with Hub

Hub by Activeloop has garnered widespread acclaim among users for its intuitive interface, robust functionality, and seamless integration with deep learning workflows.


  • "Using Hub has been a game-changer for our team. The ability to organize, access, and process datasets with ease has significantly accelerated our machine learning projects." - Sarah, Machine Learning Engineer

  • "Hub's direct integration with PyTorch has simplified our training pipeline immensely. We no longer spend hours on data preprocessing tasks, allowing us to focus more on model experimentation and optimization." - Alex, Data Scientist

  • "I was blown away by how quickly I could push data to the cloud using Hub. What used to take hours now only takes minutes, thanks to its seamless interface and efficient workflows." - John, AI Researcher

Case Studies:

Image Classification Project:

  • Company X implemented Hub for managing a large-scale image classification dataset. By leveraging Hub's storage capabilities and PyTorch integration, they were able to train state-of-the-art image classification models with ease.

  • The team reported a significant reduction in data preprocessing time, allowing them to iterate on model architectures and hyperparameters more efficiently.

Time-Series Analysis Application:

  • Research institution Y utilized Hub for storing and processing time-series data for climate analysis. With Hub's support for diverse data types and storage options, they were able to seamlessly manage terabytes of sensor data.

  • Hub's version control feature proved invaluable in tracking changes to the dataset over time, ensuring data integrity and reproducibility in their research.

Distributed Workload Management:

  • Startup Z deployed Hub to manage distributed data processing tasks across multiple GPU-enabled instances. By harnessing Hub's distributed workload management capabilities, they were able to scale their data processing pipelines dynamically.

  • This enabled them to handle large-scale datasets efficiently, paving the way for faster model training and experimentation.

In these real-world scenarios, Hub demonstrated its efficiency, ease of use, and scalability, empowering users to tackle complex Machine learning challenges with confidence. Whether it's accelerating data processing, simplifying model training, or ensuring data integrity, Hub proves to be an invaluable asset in the machine learning workflow.


The Hub 2.0 comes with new data management tools that are making ML engineers' lives easy. The Hub can be integrated with AWS/GCP storage and provide a direct data stream for deep learning frameworks such as PyTorch. It also provides interactive visualization through the Activeloop cloud and version control for tracking the ML experiments. I think Hub will become an MLOps solution for data management in the future as it will solve a lot of core issues that data scientists and engineers face daily.


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