Bringing Your Image Classifier to the Real World

By Bill Sharlow

Day 8: Building an Image Classifier

Welcome back to our image classification journey! Today, we’ll explore the crucial step of deploying our trained image classifier and integrating it into real-world applications. From serving predictions via web APIs to embedding the classifier into mobile apps, we’ll cover various deployment and integration strategies to make our image classifier accessible and usable by others. By the end of this post, you’ll have a clear roadmap for deploying and integrating your image classifier into real-world scenarios.

Exporting the Trained Model

Before we can deploy our image classifier, we need to export the trained model in a format that can be easily loaded and used by other systems. In the case of deep learning models, we typically save the model architecture, weights, and configuration parameters to disk using formats such as HDF5 or TensorFlow’s SavedModel format.

Deployment Strategies

Once we’ve exported the trained model, we can deploy it using various strategies, including:

  1. Web APIs: Deploying the model as a web service accessible via HTTP endpoints allows users to make predictions by sending image data to the server and receiving predictions in return. Frameworks like TensorFlow Serving, Flask, and FastAPI make it easy to create and deploy web APIs for serving deep learning models.
  2. Mobile Apps: Integrating the model into mobile apps enables offline image classification on devices such as smartphones and tablets. Frameworks like TensorFlow Lite and Core ML provide tools for converting and optimizing deep learning models for deployment on mobile platforms.

Example Code: Deploying the Model as a Web API

Let’s demonstrate how to deploy our trained image classifier as a web service using TensorFlow Serving:

  1. Export the trained model:
import tensorflow as tf

# Export the model in TensorFlow SavedModel format
model.save('image_classifier')
  1. Install and run TensorFlow Serving:
# Install TensorFlow Serving
!pip install tensorflow-serving-api

# Start TensorFlow Serving with the exported model
!tensorflow_model_server --port=8500 --rest_api_port=8501 --model_name=image_classifier --model_base_path=/path/to/saved_model/
  1. Make predictions via HTTP endpoints:
import requests

# Define image data
image_data = ...  # Load image data

# Send POST request to TensorFlow Serving
response = requests.post('http://localhost:8501/v1/models/image_classifier:predict', json={'instances': [image_data.tolist()]})

# Parse predictions from response
predictions = response.json()['predictions']

Conclusion

In today’s blog post, we’ve explored strategies for deploying and integrating our trained image classifier into real-world applications. By exporting the trained model and deploying it as a web service or embedding it into mobile apps, we can make our image classifier accessible and usable by others, enabling a wide range of applications across different platforms.

In the next blog post, we’ll conclude our image classification journey by reflecting on our achievements and exploring future directions for further exploration and improvement. Stay tuned for more insights and reflections!

If you have any questions or insights, feel free to share them in the comments section below. Happy deployment, and see you in the next post!

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