IBM named a Leader

Gartner releases 2021 Magic Quadrant for Data Science and Machine Learning Platforms.

From AutoML to AutoAI

Accelerating AI and model lifecycle management

What is AutoML?
Automated machine learning (AutoML) is the process of automating the manual tasks that data scientists must complete as they build and train machine learning models (ML models). These tasks include feature engineering and selection, choosing the type of machine learning algorithm; building an analytical model based on the algorithm; hyperparameter optimization, training the model on tested data sets and running the model to generate scores and findings. Researchers developed AutoML to help data scientists build predictive models without having deep ML model expertise. AutoML also frees data scientists from the rote tasks involved in building a machine learning pipeline, allowing them to focus on extracting the insights needed to solve important business problems.

What is AutoAI?
AutoAI is a variation of AutoML. It extends the automation of model building to the entire AI lifecycle. Like AutoML, AutoAI applies intelligent automation to the steps of building predictive machine learning models. These steps include preparing data sets for training; identifying the best type of model for the given data, such as a classification or regression model; and choosing the columns of data that best support the problem the model is solving, known as feature selection. Automation then tests a variety of hyperparameter tuning options to reach the best result as it generates, and then ranks, model-candidate pipelines based on metrics such as accuracy and precision. The best performing pipelines can be put into production to process new data and deliver predictions based on the model training.

Quick capability comparison

AutoAI versus AutoML

Integrates with AutoAI AutoML
Data preparation
Feature engineering
Hyperparameter optimization
Automated model deployment
One-click deployment
Model testing and scoring
Code generation
Support for:
Debiasing and drift mitigation
Model risk management
AI lifecycle management
Transfer learning
Any AI models
Advanced data refinery

Why is AutoAI important?

Intelligent automation empowers everyone

How can you use AutoAI?

Build ModelOps

three employees conferring with one writing notes

Build ModelOps

Facilitate collaboration between data scientists and DevOps to optimize integration of AI models into applications.

Foster responsible, explainable AI

employee looking to the left of a desktop monitor in an office

Foster responsible, explainable AI

Explore the importance of building trust in production AI while getting results faster and managing risk and compliance.

Automate time-series forecasting

two employees conferring with papers and laptop

Automate time-series forecasting

Learn how models can predict future values of a time series by incorporating the best performing models from all possible model classes, not just a single class.

Features of AutoAI

Automate key steps in the model lifecycle

Data pre-processing

Apply various algorithms, or estimators, to analyze, clean and prepare raw data for machine learning. Automatically detect and categorize features based on data type, such as categorical or numerical. Use hyperparameter optimization to determine the best strategies for missing value imputation, feature encoding and feature scaling.

Automated model selection

Select models through candidate algorithm testing and ranking against small subsets of the data. Gradually increase the size of the subset for the most promising algorithms. Enable ranking of a large number of candidate algorithms for model selection with the best match for the data.

Feature engineering

Transform raw data into the combination of features that best represents the problem to achieve the most accurate prediction. Explore various feature construction choices in a structured, non-exhaustive manner, while progressively maximizing model accuracy using reinforcement learning.

Hyperparameter optimization

Refine and optimize model pipelines using model training and scoring typical in machine learning. Choose the best model to put into production based on performance.

Model monitoring integration

Integrate monitoring on model drift, fairness and quality though model input and output details, training data and payload logging. Implement passive or active debiasing, while analyzing direct and indirect bias.

Model validation support

Extend with model and data insights and validate if your models meet your expected performance.  Continuously improve your models by measuring model quality and comparing model performance.

Gain the power of AutoAI

AutoAI in action in IBM Watson Studio

AutoAI configuration

Screen shot from IBM Watson Studio showing where you add a data source and select the configuration details for an AutoAI experiment

AutoAI configuration

Drag the .csv file and select the column to predict.

Pipeline leaderboard

Screen shot from IBM Watson Studio showing the relationship map and pipeline leaderboard

Pipeline leaderboard

Rank model accuracy and show pipeline information.

Model evaluation

Screen shot from IBM Watson Studio showing the model evaluation for a pipeline, including a list of model evaluation measures

Model evaluation

Review accuracy, precision and recall to assess models.

Model deployment

Screen shot from IBM Watson Studio showing where you promote a test to the deployment space

Model deployment

Promote models to deployment spaces.

Customer stories

Regions Bank develops trustworthy AI

See the benefits gained by this bank using IBM Cloud Pak for Data to analyze data, assess data drift and measure model performance.

Highmark Health cuts model build time by 90%

Learn how this healthcare network built a predictive model that uses insurance claims data to identify patients likely to develop sepsis.

Wunderman Thompson reimagines AI

Learn how this marketing communications agency uses AutoAI to drive high-volume predictions and identify new customers.

Why AutoAI from IBM

Focused development by IBM Research

An IBM Research team is committed to applying state-of-the-art techniques from AI, ML and data management to accelerate and optimize the creation of machine learning and data science workflows. The team’s first efforts around AutoML focused on using hyperband/Bayesian optimization for hyperparameter search and hyperband/ENAS/DARTS for Neural Architecture Search.

They have continued to focus on AutoAI development, including automation of the pipeline configuration and hyperparameter optimization. A significant enhancement is the hyperparameter optimization algorithm, which is optimized for cost function evaluation such as model training and scoring. This helps to expedite convergence to the best solution.

IBM Research is also applying automated artificial intelligence to help ensure trust and explainability in AI models. With AutoAI in IBM Watson Studio, users see visualizations of each stage of the process, from data preparation, to algorithm selection, to model creation. Additionally, IBM AutoAI automates the tasks for continuous improvement of the model and makes it easier to integrate AI model APIs into applications through its ModelOps capabilities. The evolution of AutoAI within the IBM Watson Studio product contributed to IBM being named a Leader in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Science and Machine Learning Platforms.

Dive deeper

AutoML and deep learning

Deep learning is a subfield of machine learning and is known for powering AI applications and services that perform analytical and physical tasks without human intervention. Example use cases for deep learning include chatbots, medical image recognition technologies and fraud detection. However, as with machine learning, designing and running a deep learning algorithm requires a tremendous amount of human effort as well as compute power.

The IBM Research team has explored one of the most complex and time-consuming processes in deep learning: the creation of the neural architecture through a technique called neural architecture search (NAS). The team reviewed the NAS methods developed and presented the benefits of each with a goal of helping practitioners choose an appropriate method. Automating the approach to finding the best-performing architecture for a machine learning model can lead to greater democratization of AI, but the issue is complex and difficult to solve.

With the Deep Learning service within IBM Watson Studio, you can still get started with deep learning quickly. The service helps you design complex neural networks and then experiment at scale to deploy an optimized machine learning model. Designed to simplify the process of training models, the service also provides an on-demand GPU compute cluster to address compute power requirements. You can also integrate popular open source ML frameworks such as TensorFlow, Caffe, Torch and Chainer to train models on multiple GPUs and accelerate results. On IBM Watson Studio, you can combine AutoML, IBM AutoAI, and the Deep Learning service to accelerate experimentation, analyze structured and unstructured data, and deploy better models faster.

Open source packages

The demand for AutoML has led to the development of open source software that can be used by data science experts and non-experts. Leading open source tools include auto-sklearn, auto-keras and auto-weka. IBM Research contributes to Lale (link resides outside IBM), a Python library that extends the capabilities of scikit-learn to support a broad spectrum of automation, including algorithm selection, hyperparameter tuning and topology search. As described in a paper from IBM Research (PDF, 1.1 MB), Lale works by automatically generating search spaces for established AutoML tools. Experiments show these search spaces achieve results competitive with state-of-the-art tools while offering more versatility.

Documentation and support


Find answers quickly in IBM Watson Studio documentation.


Get started with technical support from IBM.


Get technical tips from other users of IBM Watson Studio.

Get started with AutoAI

Try AutoAI with IBM Watson Studio on IBM Cloud Pak for Data.