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plots

A set of commands to visualize and compare plot metrics in structured files (JSON, YAML, CSV, or TSV): show, diff, and modify.

Synopsis

usage: dvc plots [-h] [-q | -v] {show,diff,modify} ...

positional arguments:
  COMMAND
    show         Generate plot from a metrics file.
    diff         Plot differences in metrics between commits.
    modify       Modify plot properties associated with a target file.

Types of metrics

DVC has two concepts for metrics, that represent different results of machine learning training or data processing:

  1. dvc metrics represent scalar numbers such as AUC, true positive rate, etc.
  2. dvc plots can be used to visualize data series such as AUC curves, loss functions, confusion matrices, etc.

Description

DVC provides a set of commands to visualize metrics of machine learning experiments. Usual plot examples are AUC curves, loss functions, confusion matrices, among others.

This kind of metric files are created by users, or generated by user data processing code. dvc plots subcommands can work with metric files committed to a Git repo history, data files controlled by DVC, or any other file in system.

DVC generates plots as HTML files that can be open with a web browser. These HTML files use Vega-Lite. Vega is a declarative grammar for defining plots using JSON. The plots can also be saved as SVG or PNG image filed from the browser.

In contrast to dvc metrics, these metrics should be stored as data series. Unlike its dvc metrics counterpart, dvc plots diff cannot calculate numeric differences between the metrics in different experiments.

Supported file formats

Plot metrics can be organized as data series in JSON, YAML, CSV, or TSV files. DVC expects to see an array (or multiple arrays) of objects (usually float numbers) in the file.

In tabular file formats such as CSV and TSV, each column is an array. dvc plots subcommands can produce plots for a specified column or a set of them. For example, epoch, AUC, and loss are the column names below:

epoch, AUC, loss
34, 0.91935, 0.0317345
35, 0.91913, 0.0317829
36, 0.92256, 0.0304632
37, 0.92302, 0.0299015

In hierarchical file formats (JSON or YAML), an array of consistent objects is expected: every object should have the same structure.

dvc plots subcommands can produce plots for a specified field or a set of them, from the array's objects. For example, val_loss is one of the field names in the train array below:

{
  "train": [
    {"val_accuracy": 0.9665, "val_loss": 0.10757},
    {"val_accuracy": 0.9764, "val_loss": 0.07324},
    {"val_accuracy": 0.8770, "val_loss": 0.08136},
    {"val_accuracy": 0.8740, "val_loss": 0.09026},
    {"val_accuracy": 0.8795, "val_loss": 0.07640},
    {"val_accuracy": 0.8803, "val_loss": 0.07608},
    {"val_accuracy": 0.8987, "val_loss": 0.08455}
  ]
}

Plot templates

Users have the ability to change the way plots are displayed by modifying the Vega specification, thus generating plots in the style that best fits the their needs. This keeps DVC projects programming language agnostic, as it's independent from user display configuration and visualization code.

Built-in plot templates are stored in the .dvc/plots/ directory. The default one is called default.json. It can be changed with the --template (-t) option of dvc plots show and dvc plots diff. For templates in the .dvc/plots/ directory, the path and the json extension are not required: you can specify only the base name e.g. --template scatter.

DVC has the following built-in plot templates:

  • default - linear plot
  • scatter - scatter plot
  • smooth - linear plot with LOESS smoothing, see example
  • confusion - confusion matrix, see example

Custom templates

Plot template files are Vega specification files that use predefined DVC anchors as placeholders for DVC to inject the plot values. You can create a custom template from scratch, or modify an existing one from .dvc/plots/.

๐Ÿ’ก Note that custom templates can be safely added to the template directory.

All metric files given to dvc plots show and dvc plots diff as input are combined together into a single data array for injection into a template file. There are two important fields that DVC adds to the plot data:

  • index - self-incrementing, zero-based counter for the data rows/values. In many cases it corresponds to a machine learning training epoch or step number.
  • rev - Git commit hash, tag, or branch of the metrics file. This helps distinguish between different versions when using the dvc plots diff command.

Note that in the case of CSV/TSV metric files, column names from the table header (first row) are equivalent to field names.

DVC template anchors

  • <DVC_METRIC_DATA> (required) - the plot data from any kind of metric files is converted to a single JSON array internally, and injected instead of this anchor. Two additional fields will be added: index and rev (explained above).
  • <DVC_METRIC_TITLE> (optional) - a title for the plot, that can be defined with the --title option of the dvc plot subcommands.
  • <DVC_METRIC_X> (optional) - field name of the data for the X axis. It can be defined with the -x option of the dvc plot subcommands. The auto-generated index field (explained above) is the default.
  • <DVC_METRIC_Y> (optional) - field name of the data for the Y axis. It can be defined with the -y option of the dvc plot subcommands. The default is the last one found in the metrics file: the last column for CSV/TSV, or the last field for JSON/YAML.
  • <DVC_METRIC_X_TITLE> (optional) - field name to display as the X axis label
  • <DVC_METRIC_Y_TITLE> (optional) - field name to display as the X axis label

Options

  • -h, --help - prints the usage/help message, and exit.
  • -q, --quiet - do not write anything to standard output.
  • -v, --verbose - displays detailed tracing information.

Example: Tabular data

We'll use tabular metrics file logs.csv for this example:

epoch,accuracy,loss,val_accuracy,val_loss
0,0.9418667,0.19958884770199656,0.9679,0.10217399864746257
1,0.9763333,0.07896138601688048,0.9768,0.07310650711813942
2,0.98375,0.05241111190887168,0.9788,0.06665669009438716
3,0.98801666,0.03681169906261687,0.9781,0.06697812260198989
4,0.99111664,0.027362171787042946,0.978,0.07385754839298315
5,0.9932333,0.02069501801203781,0.9771,0.08009233058886166
6,0.9945,0.017702101902437668,0.9803,0.07830339228538505
7,0.9954,0.01396906608727198,0.9802,0.07247738889862157

Let's plot the last column (default behavior):

$ dvc plots show logs.csv
file:///Users/usr/src/plots/logs.csv.html

Difference in this metric between the current project version and the previous commit:

$ dvc plots diff -d logs.csv HEAD^
file:///Users/usr/src/plots/logs.csv.html

Visualize a specific field:

$ dvc plots show -y loss logs.csv
file:///Users/usr/src/plots/logs.html

Example: Smooth plot

In some cases we would like to smooth our plot. In this example we will use a plot with 1000 data points:

$ dvc plots show data.csv
file:///Users/usr/src/plots/plots.html

We can use the -t option and smooth template to make it less noisy:

$ dvc plots show -t smooth data.csv
file:///Users/usr/src/plots/plots.html

Example: Confusion matrix

We'll use classes.csv for this example:

actual,predicted
cat,cat
cat,cat
cat,cat
cat,dog
cat,dinosaur
cat,dinosaur
cat,bird
turtle,dog
turtle,cat
...

Let's visualize it:

$ dvc plots show classes.csv --template confusion -x actual -y predicted
file:///Users/usr/src/plots/classes.csv.html

A confusion matrix template is predefined in DVC (found in .dvc/plots/confusion.json).

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