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Iterative Development and Refinement of ML Models

December 15, 2023
min read

Earlier, Artificial Intelligence may have only been used by a few futurists and early adopters. But today, it is everywhere and has exceeded the expectations of more than 75% of executives, as per a report by Bain & Company. Moreover, 89% are using AI in some form to differentiate their products and services.

However, the productivity and impact of AI or Machine Learning (ML) hinges on the fundamental - the ML Model. This model is the base for how AI can use self-learning automation and data to provide incredible outcomes. For ML model refinement, the process starts not just from data collection and analytics but from how it is coded.

This blog post will explore ML model iteration, the stages, challenges, and best practices to help you build a futuristic and well-crafted AI product.

Iterative Development Stages in ML

ML models follow an approach where information is processed and reprocessed until the desired outcome is reached.


ML model iteration development happens in the following ways:

Stage 1: Data Collection and Preprocessing

ML model development stages start with data collection and preprocessing, where raw information is fed into the system to be used for refinement. Like prospectors panning for gold, data scientists sift through vast datasets, identifying nuggets of relevance and discarding the noise. This meticulous process ensures the foundation is solid, laying the groundwork for a robust model.

Stage 2: Model Selection and Initial Training

Once the data is refined, the next stage is to choose the right model for initial training. In this stage, the algorithm can take its first steps for learning, using the curated data to create a preliminary version of our model.

This stage is crucial and needs to be revised till the blueprint of the ML model is created.

Stage 3: Model Evaluation and Feedback

Next, the ML model is scrutinized for several aspects. For this, the ML model is evaluated against several aspects, including the intended objectives, and tracked against key metrics. These metrics help us judge the outcome of the ML model and suggest improvements. 

This iterative loop ensures that the model aligns with its intended purpose, pushing us to rethink, reshape, and enhance its capabilities.

Stage 4: Refinement and Feature Engineering

With the feedback taken, the ML model can take a second go at improving the outcome. This is where the algorithm takes feedback on the first iteration and begins to make improvements.

Once the ML model is refined, you can get a more refined output, which helps train the system to understand what is expected in the real-world scenario.

Stage 5: Hyperparameter Tuning and Optimization

Now that we have a finalized version of the model, we can start to test out various metrics. This is still not a real-world implementation but a test in a protected environment so that data scientists can observe and make note of the output.

Subject matter experts and data analysts can use this data to understand the errors in predictions and continue refining till the error percentage is below the threshold required for use in industrial, ethical, or legal frameworks.

Stage 6: Continuous Model Monitoring

Once the model is ready for real-world use, it is implemented into client-side applications. However, the ML model iterative development process doesn’t end here.

Once deployed, the ML model is continuously monitored for any performance and output-related improvements. This includes monitoring performance metrics, hardware and software performance, and customer-related issues. 

Stage 7: Feedback Integration and Model Reiteration

Post monitoring, feedback on the output of the process is worked upon, helping to improve the ML model further. This includes working on any anomalies that may have been detected and system performance issues. The alerts and issue resolutions help to train and model further, making fine refinements in improving overall outcomes and accuracy.

This ensures that the learning and improvement process doesn’t just reach an abrupt halt and is a continuous process. 

Challenges and Pitfalls

Machine Learning — Why it is an iterative process? | by Niwratti Kasture |  Analytics Vidhya | Medium

ML Model interpretability demands clarity, while test case selection is a strategic hurdle for robustness. In each stage, the idea is to ensure that the ML model is tested rigorously and uses diverse iterations to ensure that the final output has the lowest possibility of errors.

For this, the key requirement is historical data. This is often a challenge since many industries have recently shifted to adopt digital technology for continuous monitoring and optimization. The lack of data and scenarios, or this data being present in physical format, can be an issue. Plus, this data needs transparency, further enriching the iterative development process with diverse perspectives.

To mitigate this, organizations can start implementing and monitoring their processes digitally and feed this into the ML model. After continuous learning, both the machine and the team working on it can provide improvements and improve outcomes.

Best Practices

ML model refinement is all about providing multiple iterations and use cases to the ML model, which can utilize this data for generating diverse scenarios. Rigorous test case diversity ensures robustness, providing ML models with continuous learning and diverse perspectives.

Additionally, some ML model development best practices that you must take into consideration are:

  1. Transparent Decision-Making: Ensure model interpretability by making the decision-making process clear and understandable, fostering trust in your model's outcomes.
  2. Diverse Test Cases: Fortify model robustness by rigorously testing across diverse scenarios. This ensures that your model can handle real-world complexities and variations effectively.
  3. Scalable Architecture: Design models and systems with scalability in mind, anticipating the evolving demands of datasets and technological landscapes.
  4. Clean and Documented Code: Maintain a solid foundation with clean, well-documented code. This not only facilitates collaboration but also streamlines the debugging and improvement processes.
  5. Culture of Continuous Learning: Foster an environment where learning is continual—both for your models and the team behind them. Embrace new technologies, methodologies, and insights to stay at the forefront of ML innovation.


The outcome of any AI product depends on two major factors:

  1. The correctness and wide range of data points being fed into the ML model
  2. The algorithm and model selection that helps use this data accurately

ML model iterations require continuous and varied information to help reach a stage where the output is close to the expected outcome or far exceeds expectations. As machines and humans evolve, with each iteration, we propel ourselves into a future where the possibilities are as boundless as the algorithms we create.

AI-powered platforms like MarkovML can help provide realistic outcomes and speed up ML model iterative development and refinement, using data intelligence features like:

  • No-Code Auto-EDA
  • Collaborative Reporting
  • Intelligent Data Catalog for effortlessly organizing AI data, metrics, and insights into a centralized repository.

For more details, book a demo now! 

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