Lingjiao Chen, Matei Zaharia, James Y. Zou
Offering prediction APIs for fee is a fast growing industry and is an important aspect of machine learning as a service. While many such services are available, the heterogeneity in their price and performance makes it challenging for users to decide which API or combination of APIs to use for their own data and budget. We take a first step towards addressing this challenge by proposing FrugalML, a principled framework that jointly learns the strength and weakness of each API on different data, and performs an efficient optimization to automatically identify the best sequential strategy to adaptively use the available APIs within a budget constraint. Our theoretical analysis shows that natural sparsity in the formulation can be leveraged to make FrugalML efficient. We conduct systematic experiments using ML APIs from Google, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Baidu and other providers for tasks including facial emotion recognition, sentiment analysis and speech recognition. Across various tasks, FrugalML can achieve up to 90% cost reduction while matching the accuracy of the best single API, or up to 5% better accuracy while matching the best API’s cost.