Anomaly detection poses several challenges. The first is the data science question of what an ‘anomaly’ looks like. Fortunately, machine learning has powerful tools to learn how to distinguish usual from anomalous patterns from data. In the case of anomaly detection, it is impossible to know what all anomalies look like, so it’s impossible to label a data set for training a machine learning model, even if resources for doing so are available. Thus, unsupervised learning has to be used to detect anomalies, where patterns are learned from unlabelled data.
Even with the perfect unsupervised machine learning model for anomaly detection figured out, in many ways, the real problems have only begun. What is the best way to put this model into production such that each observation is ingested, transformed and finally scored with the model, as soon as the data arrives from the source system? That too, in a near real-time manner or at short intervals, e.g. every 5-10 minutes? This involves building a sophisticated extract, load, and transform (ELT) pipeline and integrating it with an unsupervised machine learning model that can correctly identify anomalous records. Also, this end-to-end pipeline has to be production-grade, always running while ensuring data quality from ingestion to model inference, and the underlying infrastructure has to be maintained.
Click through to see their solution using Databricks and delta lake.