Algorithm Reference

Machine Learning

Introduction

QuantConnect supports using machine learning techniques for your trading strategies. In designing a machine learning strategy, you should consider the time required to train your models, so they are ready for use when the market is open. In the following sections, we'll explore how to schedule a model training which receives a longer time allowance, and then how to store the result of your work.

Training Models

The Train feature allows you to get an increase in computation time to perform your model training for your machine learning strategies. Normally algorithms must perform all necessary work within 10 minutes before returning from the OnData method. With the training features, these limits have been increased to more than 30 minutes to give you time to run your models.

Important: In backtesting, the Train method is synchronous and will block your program execution while the model is executed. However, in live trading, it runs asynchronously. Because of this, you should be careful to ensure your model is ready to use before continuing program execution. This training occurs on a separate thread, so we recommend a boolean flag to notify your algorithm of the model state. We post some examples of this in the Examples section below.

Initializing a Model

Models can be trained immediately with the Train() method. This is most useful for training the model immediately on the deployment of your strategy to production or when its performance begins to degrade.

// Trigger a training immediately in your training method.
Train(MyTrainingMethod);
# Trigger a training immediately in your training method.
self.Train(self.MyMethod)

Scheduling Training

Model training can be scheduled in a similar way to a scheduled event. To do this, you need to pass in a DateRule and TimeRule argument to the Train method. You can see a full list of available date and time rules in the scheduled event documentation.

// Set TrainingMethod to be executed at 8:00 am every Sunday
Train(DateRules.Every(DayOfWeek.Sunday), TimeRules.At(8, 0), MyTrainingMethod);
# Set TrainingMethod to be executed at 8:00 am every Sunday
self.Train(self.DateRules.Every(DayOfWeek.Sunday), self.TimeRules.At(8,0), self.MyTrainingMethod)

We recommend scheduling your training for the evening or early mornings when the market is closed to get the best compute allocation. While the market is open, your CPU is occupied with processing incoming tick data and handling other LEAN events.

Training Limits

Training resources are allocated with a leaky bucket algorithm where a maximum of n-minutes can be used in a single training, and the allocated compute refills over time. This gives you burst allocations when needed and recharges the allowance to prepare for the next training. Limits are configured by server type according to the table below.

Live Server TypeResource Allocation
512MBCapacity: 30min. Refill Rate: 5min/24hrs.
1024MBCapacity: 60min. Refill Rate: 10min/24hrs.
2048MBCapacity: 90min. Refill Rate: 15min/24hrs.

Storing Trained Models

Once models are trained you can store the results into an object store. This is a permanent project-specific storage location for data located in QuantConnect. Objects are accessible from backtesting and live, and are stored with a key. You can think of this almost like a private project DropBox for your model data.

The object store can be used as a back up of your algorithm variables or to load a complex AI model that you don't wish to re-train. Once stored, your data is backed up on QuantConnect servers until requested.

When deploying a live algorithm, your state is loaded from the object store on deployment. Currently, it is not "refreshed", so you will need to redeploy the live algorithm when you wish to reload your data.

Storing Data

The Object Store is accessible in the root of your algorithm. It has the following methods available for storing data. You can see an example of using these in the demonstration algorithmdemonstration algorithm.

self.ObjectStore.Save("key", "value")                        # Save data as a string
self.ObjectStore.SaveBytes("key", bytearray(objectValue))    # Save data as a bytes
self.ObjectStore.SaveJson("key", objectValue)                # Save object as JSON encoded string
self.ObjectStore.SaveXml("key", objectValue)                 # Save object as XML encoded string

Reading Data

val = self.ObjectStore.Read("key")                        # Read data as string
bytes = self.ObjectStore.ReadBytes("key")                 # Read data as bytes
jsonObj = self.ObjectStore.ReadJson("key")    # Deserialize a JSON object from storage
xmlObj = self.ObjectStore.ReadXml("key")      # Deserialize a XML object from storage

Deleting Data

You can delete data from the object store using the Delete() method.

self.ObjectStore.Delete("key")            # Delete the data from the store

Storage Limits

Subscription LevelResource Allocation
Free5MB, 100 Files
Prime50MB, 1000 Files
Professional500MB, 10,000 Files

Supported Libraries

QuantConnect has 11 supported machine learning libraries installed and available. You can import these packages and use them as demonstrated below.

NameVersionLanguageImport StatementExample
Tensor Flow1.13.1Pythonimport tensorflow
SciKit Learn0.21.3Pythonimport sklearn
Py Torch1.1.0Pythonimport torch
Keras2.2.4Pythonimport keras
Theano1.0.4Pythonimport theano
hmmlearn0.2.2Pythonimport hmmlearn
tsfresh0.12.0Pythonimport tsfresh
fastai1.0.54Pythonimport fastai
Deap1.0.54Pythonimport deap
mlfinlab0.4.1Pythonimport mlfinlab
Accord3.60CSharpusing Accord.MachineLearning;
AForge.Neuro2.2.5CSharpusing AForge.Neuro;

Examples

Using Semaphore to Synchronize Model Usage and Training

A "semaphore" is a thread-safe flag you can use to synchronize program operation across different threads. Because your model trainings can take a long time, they are processed in a separate thread from your algorithm data. You need to confirm the model is ready to use before using it to generate predictions.

class SemaphoreTrainingAlgorithm(QCAlgorithm):

    # Model Object
    model = None
    # Model State Flag
    modelIsTraining = False

    def Initialize(self): 
        self.Train(self.MyTraining)
    
    def MyTraining(self):
        self.modelIsTraining = True
        # Perform Work..... 
        self.modelIsTraining = False
    
    def OnData(self, data): 
        # Do not use model while its being trained.
        if self.modelIsTraining:
            return
        
        # Once training is complete; use the model safely.
        result = self.model.Predict()

You can also see our Tutorials and Videos. You can also get in touch with us via Chat.

Did you find this page helpful?

Contribute to the documentation: