Tag Archives: Amazon Rekognition

Field Notes: Building an Automated Image Processing and Model Training Pipeline for Autonomous Driving

Post Syndicated from Antonia Schulze original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/field-notes-building-an-automated-image-processing-and-model-training-pipeline-for-autonomous-driving/

In this blog post, we demonstrate how to build an automated and scalable data pipeline for autonomous driving. This solution was built with the goal of accelerating the process of analyzing recorded footage and training a model to improve the experience of autonomous driving.

We will demonstrate the extraction of images from ROS bag file by using Amazon Rekognition to label the images for cataloging, and build a searchable database using Amazon DynamoDB. This is so we can find relevant images for training computer vision Machine Learning (ML) algorithms. Next, we show you how to use the database to find suitable images, create a labeling job with Amazon SageMaker Ground Truth, and train a machine learning model to detect cars. The following diagram shows the architecture for this solution.

Overview of the solution

Figure 1 - Architecture Showing how to build an automated Image Processing and Model Training pipeline

Figure 1 – Architecture Showing how to build an automated Image Processing and Model Training pipeline

Prerequisites

This post uses an AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK) stack written in Python. Follow the instructions in the CDK Getting Started guide to set up your environment.

Deployment

The full pipeline can be deployed with one command: * `bash deploy.sh deploy true`. We can follow the progress of deployment on the command line, but also in the CloudFormation section of the AWS console. Once the pipeline is deployed, we must upload bag files to the rosbag-ingest bucket to launch the pipeline. Once the pipeline has finished, we can clone the repository to the SageMaker Notebook instance ros-bag-demo-notebook.

Walkthrough

  • The Robot Operating System (ROS) is a collection of open source middleware, which provides tools and libraries for building robotic systems. The middleware uses a Publish/Subscribe (pub/sub) architecture, which can be used for the transportation of sensor data to any software modules, which need to operate on that data.
    • Each sensor publishes its data as a topic, and then any module which needs that data subscribes to that topic.
  • This Pub/Sub architecture lends itself well to recording data from multiple sensors of varying modalities (camera, LIDAR, RADAR) into a single file which can be replayed for testing and diagnostic purposes. ROS supports this capability with its ROS bag module which stores data in an ROS bag format file.
    • An ROS bag file includes a collection of topics, each with a set of time-stamped messages. These files can be replayed on an ROS system, with the timestamps, ensuring that messages are published to the topics in real time and the order they were recorded.
  • The input for this example is a set of ROS bag files, each one is approximately 10 GB.
    • To extract the image data from our input ROS bag files, you create a Docker container based on an ROS image.
    • You then create an ROS launch configuration file to extract images to .png files based on the ROS bag tutorial instructions. The Docker container is stored in an Amazon Elastic Container Registry (Amazon ECR), ready to run as an AWS Fargate task.

AWS Fargate is a serverless compute engine for containers that work with both Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS). By using Fargate, we can create and run the Docker containers with our ROS environment, and have many containers running in parallel with each processing a single ROS bag file.

When you have the individual images, you need a way to assess their contents to build a searchable image catalog. This objective allows ML data scientists to search through the recorded images to find, for example, images containing pedestrians. The catalog can also be extended with data from other sources, such as weather data, location data, and so forth. You use Amazon Rekognition to process the images, and it helps add image and video analysis to your applications. When you provide an image or video to the Amazon Rekognition API, the service identifies objects, people, text, scenes, and activities. By requesting that Amazon Rekognition label each image, you receive a large amount of information to catalog the image.

The image ingestion pipeline is largely event driven. Many of the AWS services you use have limits on job concurrency and API access rates. To resolve these issues, you place all events into an Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) queue, invoke a Lambda function on queue, and make the appropriate API call (for example, Amazon Rekognition DetectLabels). If the API call is successful, you delete the message from the queue, otherwise (for example, the rate is exceeded) you exit the Lambda function and the message will be returned to the queue. One benefit is that when service limits change, depending on the account configuration or Region, the pipeline will automatically scale to accommodate these changes.

  • The pipeline is launched when an ROS bag file is uploaded to the Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) bucket which has been configured to post an object creation event to an SQS queue.
  • A Lambda function is invoked from the SQS queue and it starts a Step Functions step, which runs our dockerized container on a Fargate cluster. An extracted image is stored in an S3 bucket, which invokes a second SQS queue to start a Lambda function. The Lambda function calls the DetectLabels function of the Amazon Rekognition API which, returns labels for everything that Amazon Rekognition can detect in the scene.
  • This also includes the confidence level for each label. The labels and confidence scores are stored in a DynamoDB data catalog table. You can query all images for specific objects that you are interested in and filter to create subsets that are of interest.
Figure 2 - DynamoDB table containing detected objects and confidence scores

Figure 2 – DynamoDB table containing detected objects and confidence scores

Because you will use a public workforce for labeling in the next section, you will need to create anonymized versions of images where faces and license plates are blurred out. Amazon Rekognition has a DetectFaces API call to find any faces in the image. There is no corresponding call for detecting license plates, so you detect all text in the image with the DetectText API. Use the write of the .json output file to invoke a Lambda function which calls the Amazon Rekognition APIs and blurs the relevant Regions before saving them to S3.

Image labeling with Amazon SageMaker Ground Truth

Since the images are now stored in their raw and anonymized format we can start the data labeling step. We will sample the images we want to label. The data catalog in DynamoDB lets you query the table based on your parameters and sub-area you want to optimize your model on. For example, you could query the DynamoDB table for images having a crowd of pedestrians and specifically label these images and allow your model to improve in these particular circumstances. Once we have identified the images of interest, we can copy them to a specific S3 folder and start the SageMaker Ground Truth job on an object detection task. You can find a detailed blog post on streamlining data for object detection in Amazon SageMaker Ground Truth.

The result of a SageMaker Ground Truth job is a manifest file containing the S3 Path, bounding box coordinates, and class labels (per image). This is automatically uploaded to S3. We need to replace the anonymized images with the raw image S3 Path since we want to train the model on raw images. We have provided you a sample manifest file in the repository and you can follow along the blogpost with the Jupyter Notebook provided in `object-detection/Transfer-Learning.iypnb`. First, we can verify that the annotations are high quality by viewing the following sample image.

Visualization of annotations from SageMaker Ground Truth job

Figure 3 – Visualization of annotations from SageMaker Ground Truth job

Fine-tune a GluonCV model with SageMaker Script Mode

The ML technique transfer learning allows us to use neural networks that have previously been trained on large datasets of similar applications, and fine-tune them based on a smaller custom annotated data. Frameworks such as GluonCV provide a model zoo for object detection, that allows us to have a quick access to these pre-trained models. In this case, we have selected a YOLOv3 model that has been pre-trained on the COCO dataset. Based on empirical analysis, other networks such as Faster-RCNN outperform YOLOv3, but tend to have slower inference times as measured in frames per second, which is a key aspect for real-time applications.

The preferred object detection format for GluonCV is based on .lst file format, and converts to the RecordIO design, providing faster disk access and compact storage. GluonCV provides a tutorial on how to convert a .lst file format into a RecordIO file.

To train a customized neural network we will use Amazon SageMaker Script Mode, allowing us to use your own training algorithms and the straightforward SageMaker UI.

from sagemaker import get_execution_role
sagemaker_session = sagemaker.Session()
role = get_execution_role()
s3_output_path = "s3://<path to bucket where model weights will be saved>/"

model_estimator = MXNet(
    entry_point="train_yolov3.py",
    role=role,
    train_instance_count=1,  
    train_instance_type="ml.p3.8xlarge",
    framework_version="1.8.0",
    output_path=s3_output_path,
    py_version="py37"
)

model_estimator.fit("s3://<bucket path for train and validation record-io files>/")

Hyperparameter optimization on SageMaker

While training neural networks, there are many parameters that can be optimized to the use case and the custom dataset. We refer to this as automatic model tuning in SageMaker or hyperparameter optimization. SageMaker launches multiple training jobs with a unique combination of hyperparameters, and search for the configuration achieving the highest mean average precision (mAP) on our held-out test data.

hyperparameter_ranges = {
    "lr": ContinuousParameter(0.001, 0.1),
    "wd": ContinuousParameter(0.0001, 0.001),
    "batch-size": CategoricalParameter([8, 16])
    }
metric_definitions = [
    {"Name": "val:car mAP", "Regex": "val:mAP=(.*?),"},
    {"Name": "test:car mAP", "Regex": "test:mAP=(.*?),"},
    {"Name": "BoxCenterLoss", "Regex": "BoxCenterLoss=(.*?),"},
    {"Name": "ObjLoss", "Regex": "ObjLoss=(.*?),"},
    {"Name": "BoxScaleLoss", "Regex": "BoxScaleLoss=(.*?),"},
    {"Name": "ClassLoss", "Regex": "ClassLoss=(.*?),"},
]
objective_metric_name = "val:car mAP"

hpo_tuner = HyperparameterTuner(
    model_estimator,
    objective_metric_name,
    hyperparameter_ranges,
    metric_definitions,
    max_jobs=10,  # maximum jobs that should be ran
    max_parallel_jobs=2
)

hpo_tuner.fit("s3://<bucket path for train and validation record-io files>/")

Model compilation

Although we don’t have hard constraints for a model environment when training in the cloud, we should mind the production environment when running inference with trained models: no powerful GPUs and limited storage are common challenges. Fortunately, Amazon SageMaker Neo allows you to train once and run anywhere in the cloud and at the edge, while reducing the memory footprint of your model.

best_estimator = hpo_tuner.best_estimator()
compiled_model = best_estimator.compile_model(
    target_instance_family="ml_c4",
    role=role,
    input_shape={"data": [1, 3, 512, 512]},
    output_path=s3_output_path,
    framework="mxnet",
    framework_version="1.8",
    env={"MMS_DEFAULT_RESPONSE_TIMEOUT": "500"}
)

Deploying the model

Deploying a model requires a few additional lines of code for hosting.

from sagemaker.serializers import JSONSerializer
from sagemaker.deserializers import JSONDeserializer

predictor = compiled_model.deploy(
initial_instance_count=1, instance_type="ml.c4.xlarge", endpoint_name="YOLO-DEMO-endpoint", deserializer=JSONDeserializer(),serializer=JSONSerializer()
)

Run inference

Once the model is deployed with an endpoint, we can test some inference. As the model has been trained on 512×512 pixel images, we need to format inference images respectively, before serializing the data and making a prediction request to the SageMaker endpoint.

import PIL.Image
import numpy as np
test_image = PIL.Image.open("test.png")
test_image = np.asarray(test_image.resize((512, 512))) 
endpoint_response = predictor.predict(test_image)

We can then visualize the response and show the confidence score associated with the prediction on the test image.

Figure 4 - Visualization of the response and confidence score associated with the prediction on the test image.

Figure 4 – Visualization of the response and confidence score associated with the prediction on the test image.

Clean Up

To clean up the deployment you should run bash deploy.sh destroy false. In Addition to that, you also need to delete the SageMaker Endpoint. Some resources like S3 buckets and DynamoDB tables must be manually emptied and deleted through the console to be fully removed.

Conclusion

This post described how to extract images at large scale from ROS bag files and label a subset of them with SageMaker Ground Truth. With this labeled training dataset, we fine-tuned an object detection neural network using SageMaker Script Mode. To deploy the model in the autonomous driving vehicle, we compiled the model with SageMaker Neo, reducing the storage size and optimizing the model graph on the specific hardware. Finally, you ran some test inference predictions and visualized them in a SageMaker Notebook. You can find the code for this blog post in this GitHub repository.

Field Notes provides hands-on technical guidance from AWS Solutions Architects, consultants, and technical account managers, based on their experiences in the field solving real-world business problems for customers.

Building a serverless multiplayer game that scales: Part 2

Post Syndicated from James Beswick original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/compute/building-a-serverless-multiplayer-game-that-scales-part-2/

This post is written by Vito De Giosa, Sr. Solutions Architect and Tim Bruce, Sr. Solutions Architect, Developer Acceleration.

This series discusses solutions for scaling serverless games, using the Simple Trivia Service, a game that relies on user-generated content. Part 1 describes the overall architecture, how to deploy to your AWS account, and different communications methods.

This post discusses how to scale via automation and asynchronous processes. You can use automation to minimize the need to scale personnel to review player-generated content for acceptability. It also introduces asynchronous processing, which allows you to run non-critical processes in the background and batch data together. This helps to improve resource usage and game performance. Both scaling techniques can also reduce overall spend.

To set up the example, see the instructions in the GitHub repo and the README.md file. This example uses services beyond the AWS Free Tier and incurs charges. Instructions to remove the example application from your account are also in the README.md file.

Technical implementation

Games require a mechanism to support auto-moderated avatars. Specifically, this is an upload process to allow the player to send the content to the game. There is a content moderation process to remove unacceptable content and a messaging process to provide players with a status regarding their content.

Here is the architecture for this feature in Simple Trivia Service, which is combined within the avatar workflow:

Architecture diagram

This architecture processes images uploaded to Amazon S3 and notifies the user of the processing result via HTTP WebPush. This solution uses AWS Serverless services and the Amazon Rekognition moderation API.

Uploading avatars

Players start the process by uploading avatars via the game client. Using presigned URLs, the client allows players to upload images directly to S3 without sharing AWS credentials or exposing the bucket publicly.

The URL embeds all the parameters of the S3 request. It includes a SignatureV4 generated with AWS credentials from the backend allowing S3 to authorize the request.

S3 upload process

  1. The front end retrieves the presigned URL invoking an AWS Lambda function through an Amazon API Gateway HTTP API endpoint.
  2. The front end uses the URL to send a PUT request to S3 with the image.

Processing avatars

After the upload completes, the backend performs a set of activities. These include content moderation, generating the thumbnail variant, and saving the image URL to the player profile. AWS Step Functions orchestrates the workflow by coordinating tasks and integrating with AWS services, such as Lambda and Amazon DynamoDB. Step Functions enables creating workflows without writing code and handles errors, retries, and state management. This enables traffic control to avoid overloading single components when traffic surges.

The avatar processing workflow runs asynchronously. This allows players to play the game without being blocked and enables you to batch the requests. The Step Functions workflow is triggered from an Amazon EventBridge event. When the user uploads an image to S3, an event is published to EventBridge. The event is routed to the avatar processing Step Functions workflow.

The single avatar feature runs in seconds and uses Step Functions Express Workflows, which are ideal for high-volume event-processing use cases. Step Functions can also support longer running processes and manual steps, depending on your requirements.

To keep performance at scale, the solution adopts four strategies. First, it moderates content automatically, requiring no human intervention. This is done via Amazon Rekognition moderation API, which can discover inappropriate content in uploaded avatars. Developers do not need machine learning expertise to use this API. If it identifies unacceptable content, the Step Functions workflow deletes the uploaded picture.

Second, it uses avatar thumbnails on the top navigation bar and on leaderboards. This speeds up page loading and uses less network bandwidth. Image-editing software runs in a Lambda function to modify the uploaded file and store the result in S3 with the original.

Third, it uses Amazon CloudFront as a content delivery network (CDN) with the S3 bucket hosting images. This improves performance by implementing caching and serving static content from locations closer to the player. Additionally, using CloudFront allows you to keep the bucket private and provide greater security for the content stored within S3.

Finally, it stores profile picture URLs in DynamoDB and replicates the thumbnail URL in an Amazon Cognito user attribute named picture. This allows the game to retrieve the avatar URL as part of the login process, saving an HTTP GET request for the player profile.

The last step of the workflow publishes the result via an event to EventBridge for downstream systems to consume. The service routes the event to the notification component to inform the player about the moderation status.

Notifying users of the processing result

The result of the avatar workflow to the player is important but not urgent. Players want to know the result but not impact their gameplay experience. A solution for this challenge is to use HTTP web push. It uses the HTTP protocol and does not require a constant communication channel between backend and front end. This allows players to play games without being blocked or by introducing latency to the game communications channel.

Applications requiring low latency fully bidirectional communication, such as highly interactive multi-player games, typically use WebSockets. This creates a persistent two-way channel for front end and backend to exchange information. The web push mechanism can provide non-urgent data and messages to the player without interrupting the WebSockets channel.

The web push protocol describes how to use a consolidated push service as a broker between the web-client and the backend. It accepts subscriptions from the client and receives push message delivery requests from the backend. Each browser vendor provides a push service implementation that is compliant with the W3C Push API specification and is external to both client and backend.

The web client is typically a browser where a JavaScript application interacts with the push service to subscribe and listen for incoming notifications. The backend is the application that notifies the front end. Here is an overview of the protocol with all the parties involved.

Notification process

  1. A component on the client subscribes to the configured push service by sending an HTTP POST request. The client keeps a background connection waiting for messages.
  2. The push service returns a URL identifying a push resource that the client distributes to backend applications that are allowed to send notifications.
  3. Backend applications request a message delivery by sending an HTTP POST request to the previously distributed URL.
  4. The push service forwards the information to the client.

This approach has four advantages. First, it reduces the effort to manage the reliability of the delivery process by off-loading it to an external and standardized component. Second, it minimizes cost and resource consumption. This is because it doesn’t require the backend to keep a persistent communication channel or compute resources to be constantly available. Third, it keeps complexity to a minimum because it relies on HTTP only without requiring additional technologies. Finally, HTTP web push addresses concepts such as message urgency and time-to-live (TTL) by using a standard.

Serverless HTTP web push

The implementation of the web push protocol requires the following components, per the Push API specification. First, the front end is required to create a push subscription. This is implemented through a service worker, a script running in the origin of the application. The service worker exposes operations to access the push service either creating subscriptions or listening for push events.

Serverless HTTP web push

  1. The client uses the service worker to subscribe to the push service via the Push API.
  2. The push service responds with a payload including a URL, which is the client’s push endpoint. The URL is used to create notification delivery requests.
  3. The browser enriches the subscription with public cryptographic keys, which are used to encrypt messages ensuring confidentiality.
  4. The backend must receive and store the subscription for when a delivery request is made to the push service. This is provided by API Gateway, Lambda, and DynamoDB. API Gateway exposes an HTTP API endpoint that accepts POST requests with the push service subscription as payload. The payload is stored in DynamoDB alongside the player identifier.

This front end code implements the process:

//Once service worker is ready
navigator.serviceWorker.ready
  .then(function (registration) {
    //Retrieve existing subscription or subscribe
    return registration.pushManager.getSubscription()
      .then(async function (subscription) {
        if (subscription) {
          console.log('got subscription!', subscription)
          return subscription;
        }
        /*
         * Using Public key of our backend to make sure only our
         * application backend can send notifications to the returned
         * endpoint
         */
        const convertedVapidKey = self.vapidKey;
        return registration.pushManager.subscribe({
          userVisibleOnly: true,
          applicationServerKey: convertedVapidKey
        });
      });
  }).then(function (subscription) {
    //Distributing the subscription to the application backend
    console.log('register!', subscription);
    const body = JSON.stringify(subscription);
    const parms = {jwt: jwt, playerName: playerName, subscription: body};
    //Call to the API endpoint to save the subscription
    const res = DataService.postPlayerSubscription(parms);
    console.log(res);
  });

 

Next, the backend reacts to the avatar workflow completed custom event to create a delivery request. This is accomplished with EventBridge and Lambda.

Backend process after avater workflow completed

  1. EventBridge routes the event to a Lambda function.
  2. The function retrieves the player’s agent subscriptions, including push endpoint and encryption keys, from DynamoDB.
  3. The function sends an HTTP POST to the push endpoint with the encrypted message as payload.
  4. When the push service delivers the message, the browser activates the service worker updating local state and displaying the notification.

The push service allows creating delivery requests based on the knowledge of the endpoint and the front end allows the backend to deliver messages by distributing the endpoint. HTTPS provides encryption for data in transit while DynamoDB encrypts all your data at rest to provide confidentiality and security for the endpoint.

Security of WebPush can be further improved by using Voluntary Application Server Identification (VAPID). With WebPush, the clients authenticate messages at delivery time. VAPID allows the push service to perform message authentication on behalf of the web client avoiding denial-of-service risk. Without the additional security of VAPID, any application knowing the push service endpoint might successfully create delivery requests with an invalid payload. This can cause the player’s agent to accept messages from unauthorized services and, possibly, cause a denial-of-service to the client by overloading its capabilities.

VAPID requires backend applications to own a key pair. In Simple Trivia Service, a Lambda function, which is an AWS CloudFormation custom resource, generates the key pair when deploying the stack. It securely saves values in AWS System Manager (SSM) Parameter Store.

Here is a representation of VAPID in action:

VAPID process architecture

  1. The front end specifies which backend the push service can accept messages from. It does this by including the public key from VAPID in the subscription request.
  2. When requesting a message delivery, the backend self-identifies by including the public key and a token signed with the private key in the HTTP Authorization header. If the keys match and the client uses the public key at subscription, the message is sent. If not, the message is blocked by the push service.

The Lambda function that sends delivery requests to the push service reads the key values from SSM. It uses them to generate the Authorization header to include in the request, allowing for successful delivery to the client endpoint.

Conclusion

This post shows how you can add scaling support for a game via automation. The example uses Amazon Rekognition to check images for unacceptable content and uses asynchronous architecture patterns with Step Functions and HTTP WebPush. These scaling approaches can help you to maximize your technical and personnel investments.

For more serverless learning resources, visit Serverless Land.

Intelligently Search Media Assets with Amazon Rekognition and Amazon ES

Post Syndicated from Sridhar Chevendra original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/intelligently-search-media-assets-with-amazon-rekognition-and-amazon-es/

Media assets have become increasingly important to industries like media and entertainment, manufacturing, education, social media applications, and retail. This is largely due to innovations in digital marketing, mobile, and ecommerce.

Successfully locating a digital asset like a video, graphic, or image reduces costs related to reproducing or re-shooting. An efficient search engine is critical to quickly delivering something like the latest fashion trends. This in turn increases customer satisfaction, builds brand loyalty, and helps increase businesses’ online footprints, ultimately contributing towards revenue.

This blog post shows you how to build automated indexing and search functions using AWS serverless managed artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML) services. This architecture provides high scalability, reduces operational overhead, and scales out/in automatically based on the demand, with a flexible pay-as-you-go pricing model.

Automatic tagging and rich metadata with Amazon ES

Asset libraries for images and videos are growing exponentially. With Amazon Elasticsearch Service (Amazon ES), this media is indexed and organized, which is important for efficient search and quick retrieval.

Adding correct metadata to digital assets based on enterprise standard taxonomy will help you narrow down search results. This includes information like media formats, but also richer metadata like location, event details, and so forth. With Amazon Rekognition, an advanced ML service, you do not need to tag and index these media assets. This automatic tagging and organization frees you up to gain insights like sentiment analysis from social media.

Figure 1 is tagged using Amazon Rekognition. You can see how rich metadata (Apparel, T-Shirt, Person, and Pills) is extracted automatically. Without Amazon Rekognition, you would have to manually add tags and categorize the image. This means you could only do a keyword search on what’s manually tagged. If the image was not tagged, then you likely wouldn’t be able to find it in a search.

Figure 1. An image tagged automatically with Amazon Rekognition

Figure 1. An image tagged automatically with Amazon Rekognition

Data ingestion, organization, and storage with Amazon S3

As shown in Figure 2, use Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to store your static assets. It provides high availability and scalability, along with unlimited storage. When you choose Amazon S3 as your content repository, multiple data providers are configured for data ingestion for future consumption by downstream applications. In addition to providing storage, Amazon S3 lets you organize data into prefixes based on the event type and captures S3 object mutations through S3 event notifications.

Figure 2. Solution overview diagram

Figure 2. Solution overview diagram

S3 event notifications are invoked for a specific prefix, suffix, or combination of both. They integrate with Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS), and AWS Lambda as targets. (Refer to the Amazon S3 Event Notifications user guide for best practices). S3 event notification targets vary across use cases. For media assets, Amazon SQS is used to decouple the new data objects ingested into S3 buckets and downstream services. Amazon SQS provides flexibility over the data processing based on resource availability.

Data processing with Amazon Rekognition

Once media assets are ingested into Amazon S3, they are ready to be processed. Amazon Rekognition determines the entities within each asset. Amazon Rekognition then extracts the entities in JSON format and assigns a confidence score.

If the confidence score is below the defined threshold, use Amazon Augmented AI (A2I) for further review. A2I is an ML service that helps you build the workflows required for human review of ML predictions.

Amazon Rekognition also supports custom modeling to help identify entities within the images for specific business needs. For instance, a campaign may need images of products worn by a brand ambassador at a marketing event. Then they may need to further narrow their search down by the individual’s name or age demographic.

Using our solution, a Lambda function invokes Amazon Rekognition to extract the entities from the ingested assets. Lambda continuously polls the SQS queue for any new messages. Once a message is available, the Lambda function invokes the Amazon Rekognition endpoint to extract the relevant entities.

The following is a sample output from detect_labels API call in Amazon Rekognition and the transformed output that will be updated to downstream search engine:

{'Labels': [{'Name': 'Clothing', 'Confidence': 99.98137664794922, 'Instances': [], 'Parents': []}, {'Name': 'Apparel', 'Confidence': 99.98137664794922,'Instances': [], 'Parents': []}, {'Name': 'Shirt', 'Confidence': 97.00833129882812, 'Instances': [], 'Parents': [{'Name': 'Clothing'}]}, {'Name': 'T-Shirt', 'Confidence': 76.36670684814453, 'Instances': [{'BoundingBox': {'Width': 0.7963646650314331, 'Height': 0.6813027262687683, 'Left':
0.09593021124601364, 'Top': 0.1719706505537033}, 'Confidence': 53.39663314819336}], 'Parents': [{'Name': 'Clothing'}]}], 'LabelModelVersion': '2.0', 'ResponseMetadata': {'RequestId': '3a561e82-badc-4ba0-aa77-39a13f1bb3a6', 'HTTPStatusCode': 200, 'HTTPHeaders': {'content-type': 'application/x-amz-json-1.1', 'date': 'Mon, 17 May 2021 18:32:27 GMT', 'x-amzn-requestid': '3a561e82-badc-4ba0-aa77-39a13f1bb3a6','content-length': '542', 'connection': 'keep-alive'}, 'RetryAttempts': 0}}

As shown, the Lambda function submits an API call to Amazon Rekognition, where a T-shirt image in .jpeg format is provided as the input. Based on your confidence score threshold preference, Amazon Rekognition will prompt you to initiate a human review using Amazon A2I. It will also prompt you to use Amazon Rekognition Custom Labels to train the custom models. Lambda then identifies and arranges the labels and updates the specified index.

Indexing with Amazon ES

Amazon ES is a managed search engine service that provides enterprise-grade search engine capability for applications. In our solution, assets are searched based on entities that are used as metadata to update the index. Amazon ES is hosted as a public endpoint or a VPC endpoint for secure access within the specified AWS account.

Labels are identified and marked as tags, which are assigned to .jpeg formatted images. The following sample output shows the query on one of the tags issued on an Amazon ES cluster.

Query:

curl-XGET https://<ElasticSearch Endpoint>/<_IndexName>/_search?q=T-Shirt

Output:

{"took":140,"timed_out":false,"_shards":{"total":5,"successful":5,"skipped":0,"failed":0},"hits":{"total":{"value":1,"relation":"eq"},"max_score":0.05460011,"hits":[{"_index":"movies","_type":"_doc","_id":"15","_score":0.05460011,"_source":{"fileName":"s7-1370766_lifestyle.jpg","objectTags":["Clothing","Apparel","Sailor
Suit","Sleeve","T-Shirt","Shirt","Jersey"]}}]}}

In addition to photos, Amazon Rekognition also detects the labels on videos. It can recognize labels and identify characters and entities. These are then added to Amazon ES to enhance search capability. This allows users to skip to specific parts of a video for quick searchability. For instance, a marketer may need images of cashmere sweaters from a fashion show that was streamed and recorded.

Once the raw video clip is identified, it is then converted using Amazon Elastic Transcoder to play back on mobile devices, tablets, web browsers, and connected televisions. Elastic Transcoder is a highly scalable and cost-effective media transcoding service in the cloud. Segmented output renditions are created for delivery using the multiple protocols to compatible devices.

Conclusion

This blog describes AWS services that can be applied to diverse set of use cases for tagging and efficient search of images and videos. You can build automated indexing and search using AWS serverless managed AI/ML services. They provide high scalability, reduce operational overhead, and scale out/in automatically based on the demand, with a flexible pay-as-you-go pricing model.

To get started, use these references to create your own sample architectures:

Using AppStream 2.0 to Deliver PACS and Image Analysis in Clinical Trials

Post Syndicated from Chris Fuller original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/using-appstream-2-0-to-deliver-pacs-and-image-analysis-in-clinical-trials/

Hospitals and clinical trial sites manage sensitive patient data. They are often required to grant remote access to custom Windows-based applications for patient record review and medical image analysis. This typically requires providing physicians and staff with remote access to on-premises workstations over VPN, with some flavor of remote desktop software. This can be both costly and inefficient, since it requires licensing custom 3rd party remote access tools, configuring network access for each researcher, and training individuals at each site for every trial. In combination with other AWS services, Amazon AppStream 2.0 can be used to build better workflows. Applications delivered via AppStream 2.0 can be used to review patient data, such as medical images, videos, and patient records. At the same time, this approach offers greater protection of patient data, without the cost and complexity of a remote desktop solution. In this blog, we will present a high-level architecture and several example use cases for leveraging AppStream 2.0 for medical image analysis.

Background – managing patient data security

Picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) and vendor neutral archives (VNAs) are used extensively for storing and managing medical images and related metadata. These systems are critical for sharing images among modern medical teams collaborating on patient care. Furthermore, researchers and clinicians can access images from PACS and view them at a workstation in an office or clinic setting.

While data sharing is critical for healthcare and research workflows, HIPAA-covered entities are responsible for protecting patient’s personally identifiable information (PII) as protected health information (PHI). As such, HIPAA-covered entities are bound to protect any information about a patient’s healthcare, health status, and payment history for services.

Data sovereignty leads to further complications. Clinical trials play an essential role in vouching for the safety and efficacy of medical products and innovations. The increasing transparency in clinical trial data makes sharing this information among researchers, clinicians, patients, and trial subjects possible. However, this also makes it a challenge to maintain stakeholder’s control over their data. With laws like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the emphasis on data localization, data sovereignty is interpreted based on the location of the data. Further, regulations like 21 CFR Part 11 impose strict guidelines on data protection, authentication, and validation for any FDA-regulated entity or use case.

If you are a healthcare organization or software provider, you understand the struggle to innovate and drive change, while maintaining your security and compliance posture for your applications. Your end users (physicians, radiologists, researchers, and remote operators) require IT environments that are easily accessible and can automatically scale globally on demand.

The network of professionals involved in image management and review is widely distributed, yet applications for review and analysis are still largely desktop-based. This means that a common use case for the healthcare industry is to use desktop applications from anywhere. Let’s use the following example to look more closely into a use case where AppStream 2.0 is helpful.

Data flow through the image management architecture

In this use case, the hospital’s on-premises systems are connected to the AWS Cloud using a private network connection, such as AWS Direct Connect, or an AWS Site-to-Site VPN. The images and files generated from the PACS server and the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) server are placed on an Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). Amazon S3 is an object storage service that offers scalability, availability, security, and performance. All of the images and files are read from a secure S3 bucket, accessible only by the PACS. They are then de-identified and written back to a separate bucket accessible by other systems for review.

In our workflow, text-based PII is extracted from the images using Amazon Comprehend Medical. Amazon Rekognition helps to identify and detect “burned-in” PHI data (text that is actually part of the image). In addition, Amazon Rekognition can assist with entity identification within images. For example, in a batch of thousands of shoulder MRIs, Amazon Rekognition can identify a knee. Amazon SageMaker is an end-to-end machine learning platform that enables trial administrators and data management teams to prepare training data. It can also be used to build machine learning models quickly with pre-built algorithms.  With Amazon SageMaker notebooks, the resulting de-identified image and text are written to the S3 bucket, and can then be used by the desktop applications.

AppStream 2.0 is a fully managed application streaming service that provides users with instant access to desktop applications from anywhere, regardless of what device is being used for access. An AppStream 2.0 image builder is used to install, add, and test your applications, and then create a software image or package. The software image contains applications that you can stream to your users. Default Windows and application settings allow your users to get started with their applications quickly. A fleet consists of fleet instances (also known as streaming instances) that run the software image that you specify. A stack consists of an associated fleet, user access policies, and storage configurations. A streaming instance (also known as a fleet instance) is an Amazon EC2 instance that is made available to a single user for application streaming.

Secure user interactions for image analysis and review

We’ve covered secure storage and anonymization of the image data that’s managed by the PACS, with images residing in Amazon S3. The next challenge is to provide secure, role-based access to those images for review by physicians, radiologists, or researchers. However, many of the applications used for image review and annotation are proprietary desktop applications that only run on specific operating systems. Traditionally, reviewers access these applications via remote desktop sessions to an on-premises workstation. This creates cost, management, network security, and data privacy concerns for the application hosts. Using Amazon AppStream 2.0, we can provide secure access to these proprietary applications in the cloud.

Authentication and access to the applications is as follows:

  • When end users sign in with the provided AppStream 2.0 URL, they are authenticated against Active Directory.
  • After the users are authenticated, the browser receives a Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) assertion as an authentication response from Amazon Cognito, which controls access to AWS resources.
  • The response is then posted by the browser to the AWS sign-in SAML endpoint. Temporary security credentials are issued after the assertion and the embedded attributes are validated.
  • The temporary credentials are then used to create the sign-in URL.
  • The user is redirected to the AppStream 2.0 streaming session and is granted access permissions based on the role assigned to them. After this, they can log into the AppStream 2.0 instance and access their applications.

The application configurations are stored as persistent data using Amazon FSx, which can provide every user a unique storage drive within AppStream 2.0 streaming sessions. A user will have permissions to access only their directory. The drive is automatically mounted at the start of a streaming session. Files added or updated to the drive are automatically persisted between streaming sessions.

Figure 1. Architecture for managing, anonymizing, and analyzing medical image data

Figure 1. Architecture for managing, anonymizing, and analyzing medical image data

Conclusion

In our high-level use case, we reviewed how a combination of AWS services can be used to increase efficiency and reduce cost. While managing and reviewing patient data using custom applications such as PACS or image viewers, AWS services also provide an improved end user experience. This architecture provides a scalable, reliable, and secure foundation to develop your solution, leveraging the image analysis applications you already use. Your applications are available through a standard web browser, and you can manage users, access, and data with existing Active Directory group memberships and credentials.

AppStream 2.0 manages the AWS resources required to host and run your applications, scales automatically, and provides access to users on demand. AWS services can be managed using configuration as code best practices through AWS CloudFormation. CloudFormation lets you define text-based templates used to spin up cloud architectures. In a more complex setup, AWS Glue, Amazon CloudWatch, and AWS CloudTrail configured with a centralized logging account can be added to achieve 21 CFR Part 11 and GxP compliance.

For additional information, check out the following resources or contact your AWS account manager.

Field Notes: Speed Up Redaction of Connected Car Data by Multiprocessing Video Footage with Amazon Rekognition

Post Syndicated from Sandeep Kulkarni original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/field-notes-speed-up-redaction-of-connected-car-data-by-multiprocessing-video-footage-with-amazon-rekognition/

In the blog, Redacting Personal Data from Connected Cars Using Amazon Rekognition, we demonstrated how you can redact personal data such as human faces using Amazon Rekognition. Traversing the video, frame by frame, and identifying personal information in each frame takes time. This solution is great for small video clips, where you do not need a near real-time response. However, in some use cases like object detection, real time traffic monitoring, you may need to process this information in near real-time and keep up with the input video stream.

In this blog post, we introduce how to leverage “multiprocessing” to speed up the redaction process and provide a response in near real time. We also compare the process run times using a variety of Amazon SageMaker instances to give users various options to process video using Amazon Rekognition.

For example, the ml.c5.4xlarge instance has 16 vCPUs, so we could theoretically have 16 processes, working in parallel, to process the video stream, which will significantly reduce the processing time. Our test against the sample video shows that we reduce the process run time by a factor of 11x, using the ml.c5.4xlarge instance.

Architecture Overview

Video Redaction - Multiprocessing

Walkthrough: 6 Steps

1. We will assume that the video data from the car was ingested and is stored in a “Raw” Amazon S3 bucket. (For real time analytics, video data will likely be ingested from the connected vehicles into an Amazon Kinesis Video Stream)

2.  In this architecture we will use an Amazon SageMaker notebook instance, which is a machine learning (ML) compute instance running the Jupyter Notebook App.

3. Additionally an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) role created with appropriate permissions is leveraged to provide temporary security credentials required for this program.

4. The individual frames are analyzed by calling the “DetectFaces” Amazon Rekognition API, which analyzes and provides metadata about the frame. If a face is detected in the frame, then Amazon Rekognition returns a bounding box per face.

5.  We write a function multi_process_video to blur the detected face for each frame and distribute the processing job equally among all available CPUs in the SageMaker instance

6. We run the multi_process function for the input video and write the output video to S3 bucket for further analysis.

Detailed Steps

For the 5 steps mentioned previously, we provide the input video, code samples and the corresponding output video.

Step 1: Login to the AWS console with your user credentials.

  • Upload the sample video to your S3 bucket.
    Name it face1.mp4. I’ve included the following example of the video input.

Step 2: In this block, we will create a SageMaker notebook.

Notebook instance:

  • Notebook instance name: VideoRedaction
    Notebook instance class: choose “ml.t3.large” from drop down
    Elastic inference: None

Permissions:

  • IAM role: Select Create a new role from the drop-down menu. This will open a new screen, click next and the new role will be created. The role name will start with AmazonSageMaker-ExecutionRole-xxxxxxxx.
  • Root access: Select Enable
  • Assume defaults for the rest, and select the orange “Create notebook instance” button at the bottom.

This will take you to the next screen, which shows that your notebook instance is being created. It will take a few minutes and you can monitor the status, which will show a green “InService” state, when the notebook is ready.

Step 3:  Next, we need to provide additional permissions to the new role that you created in Step 2.

  • Select the VideoRedaction notebook.
    This will open a new screen. Scroll down to the 3 block – “Permissions and encryption” and click on the IAM role ARN link.

This will open a screen where you can attach additional policies. It will already be populated with “AmazonSageMakerFullAccess”

  • Select the blue Attach policies button.
  • This will open a new screen, which will allow you to add permissions to your execution role.
    • Under “Filter policies” search for S3full. AmazonS3FullAccess. Check the box next to it.
    • Under “Filter policies” search for Rekognition. Check the box next to AmazonRekognitionFullAccess and AmazonRekognitionServiceRole.
    • Click blue Attach Policies button at the bottom. This will populate a screen which will show you the five policies attached as follows:

Permissions policies

  • Click on the Add inline policy link on the right and then click on the JSON tab on the next screen. Paste the following policy replacing the <account number> with your AWS account number:
{
    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
        {
            "Sid": "MySid",
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": "iam:PassRole",
            "Resource": "arn:aws:iam::<accountnumber>:role/serviceRekognition"
        }
    ]
}

On the next screen enter VideoInlinePolicy for the name and select the blue Create Policy button at the bottom.

Permissions Policies - 6 Policies Applied

Step 3a:  Navigate to SageMaker in the console:

  • Select “Notebook instances” in the menu on left. This will show your VideoRedaction notebook.
  • Select Open Jupyter blue link under Actions. This will open a new tab titled, Jupyter.

Step 3b: In the upper right corner, click on drop down arrow next to “New” and choose conda_tensorflow_p36 as the kernel for your notebook.

Your screen will look at follows:

Jupyter

Install ffmpeg

First, we need to install ffmpeg for multiprocessing video. It’s a free and open-source software project consisting of a large suite of libraries and programs for handling video, audio, and other multimedia files and streams. We use it to concatenate all the subset videos processed by each vCPU and generate the final output.

Install ffmpeg using the following command:

!conda install x264=='1!152.20180717' ffmpeg=4.0.2 -c conda-forge --yes  

Import libraries – We import additional libraries to help with multi-processing capability.

import cv2  
import os  
from PIL import ImageFilter  
import boto3  
import io  
from PIL import Image, ImageDraw, ExifTags, ImageColor  
import numpy as np  
from os.path import isfile, join  
import time  
import sys  
import time  
import subprocess as sp  
import multiprocessing as mp  
from os import remove  

Step 4: Identify personal data (faces) in the individual frames

Amazon Rekognition “Detect_Faces” detects the 100 largest faces in the image. For each face detected, the operation returns face details. These details include a bounding box of the face, a confidence value (that the bounding box contains a face), and a fixed set of attributes such as facial landmarks (for example, coordinates of eye and mouth), presence of beard, sunglasses, and so on.

You pass the input image either as base64-encoded image bytes or as a reference to an image in an Amazon S3 bucket. In this code, we pass the image as jpg to Amazon Rekognition since we want to see each frame of this video. We also show how you can expand the bounding boxes returned by Amazon Rekognition, if required, to blur an enlarged portion of the face.

	def detect_blur_face_local_file(photo,blurriness):      
	      
	    client=boto3.client('rekognition')      
	          
	    # Call DetectFaces      
	    with open(photo, 'rb') as image:      
	        response = client.detect_faces(Image={'Bytes': image.read()})      
	          
	    image=Image.open(photo)      
	    imgWidth, imgHeight = image.size        
	    draw = ImageDraw.Draw(image)         
	              
	    # Calculate and display bounding boxes for each detected face             
	    for faceDetail in response['FaceDetails']:      
	              
	        box = faceDetail['BoundingBox']      
	        left = imgWidth * box['Left']      
	        top = imgHeight * box['Top']      
	        width = imgWidth * box['Width']      
	        height = imgHeight * box['Height']      
	              
	        #blur faces inside the enlarged bounding boxes
	        #you can also keep the original bounding boxes    
	        x1=left-0.1*width  
	        y1=top-0.1*height  
	        x2=left+width+0.1*width  
	        y2=top+height+0.1*height  
	              
	        mask = Image.new('L', image.size, 0)      
	        draw = ImageDraw.Draw(mask)      
	        draw.rectangle([ (x1,y1), (x2,y2) ], fill=255)      
	        blurred = image.filter(ImageFilter.GaussianBlur(blurriness))      
	        image.paste(blurred, mask=mask)      
	        image.save      
	       
	          
	    return image      

Step 5: Redact the face bounding box and distribute the processing among all CPUs

By passing the group_number of the multi_process_video function, you can distribute the video processing job among all available CPUs of the instance equally and therefore largely reduce the process time.

	def multi_process_video(group_number):  
	    cap = cv2.VideoCapture(input_file)  
	    cap.set(cv2.CAP_PROP_POS_FRAMES, frame_jump_unit * group_number)  
	    proc_frames = 0  
	    width = int(cap.get(cv2.CAP_PROP_FRAME_WIDTH))  
	    height = int(cap.get(cv2.CAP_PROP_FRAME_HEIGHT))  
	    fps = cap.get(cv2.CAP_PROP_FPS)  
	    out = cv2.VideoWriter(  
	        "{}.{}".format(group_number, 'mp4'),  
	        cv2.VideoWriter_fourcc(*'MP4V'),  
	        fps,  
	        (width, height),  
	    )  
	  
	    while proc_frames < frame_jump_unit:  
	        ret, frame = cap.read()  
	        if ret == False:  
	            break  
	          
	        f=str(group_number)+'_'+str(proc_frames)+'.jpg'  
	        cv2.imwrite(f,frame)  
	        #Define the blurriness  
	        blurriness=20  
	        blurred_img=detect_blur_face_local_file(f,blurriness)  
	        blurred_frame=cv2.cvtColor(np.array(blurred_img), cv2.COLOR_BGR2RGB)    
	          
	        out.write(blurred_frame)  
	        proc_frames += 1  
	    else:  
	        print('Group '+str(group_number)+' finished processing!')  
	          
	    cap.release()  
	    cap.release()  
	    out.release()  
	    return None  

Step 6: Run multi-processing video function and write the redacted video to the output bucket

  • Then we multi-process the video and generate the output using multiprocessing function and ffmpeg in python.
  • We take a record of each video processed by a CPU in the format of ‘1.mp4’, ‘2.mp4’ … in a file called multiproc_files and then use subprocess to call ffmpeg to concatenate these videos based on these videos’ order in multiproc_files.
  • After the final video is generated, we remove all the intermediate results and upload the face-blurred result to a S3 bucket.
	start_time = time.time()  
	# Connect to S3  
	s3_client = boto3.client('s3')  
	      
	# Download S3 video to local. Enter your bucketname and file name below
	bucket='yourbucketname'  
	file='face1.mp4'    
	s3_client.download_file(bucket, file, './'+file)  
	      
	input_file='face1.mp4'    
	num_processes = mp.cpu_count()  
	cap = cv2.VideoCapture(input_file)  
	frame_jump_unit = cap.get(cv2.CAP_PROP_FRAME_COUNT) // num_processes  
	  
	# Multiprocessing video across all vCPUs    
	p = mp.Pool(num_processes)  
	p.map(multi_process_video, range(num_processes))  
	  
	# Generate multiproc_files to record the subset videos in the right order    
	multiproc_files = ["{}.{}".format(i, 'mp4') for i in range(num_processes)]  
	with open("multiproc_files.txt", "w") as f:  
	    for t in multiproc_files:  
	        f.write("file {} \n".format(t))  
	  
	# Use ffmpeg to concatenate all the subset videos according to multiproc_files   
	local_filename='blurface_multiproc_827.mp4'  
	  
	ffmpeg_command="ffmpeg -f concat -safe 0 -i multiproc_files.txt -c copy "  
	ffmpeg_command += local_filename  
	  
	cmd = sp.Popen(ffmpeg_command, stdout=sp.PIPE, stderr=sp.PIPE, shell=True)  
	cmd.communicate()  
	  
	# Remove all the intermediate results    
	for f in multiproc_files:  
	    remove(f)  
	remove("multiproc_files.txt")  
	  
	mydir=os.getcwd()  
	filelist = [ f for f in os.listdir(mydir) if f.endswith(".jpg") ]  
	for f in filelist:  
	    os.remove(os.path.join(mydir, f))  
	  
	# Upload face-blurred video to s3  
	s3_filename='blurface_multiproc_827.mp4'  
	response = s3_client.upload_file(local_filename, bucket, s3_filename)   
	  
	finish_time = time.time()  
	print( "Total Process Time:",finish_time-start_time,'s')  

Output:

Group 13 finished processing!

Group 15 finished processing!

Group 14 finished processing!

Group 12 finished processing!

Group 11 finished processing!

Group 9 finished processing!

Group 10 finished processing!

Group 1 finished processing!

Group 3 finished processing!

Group 4 finished processing!

Group 8 finished processing!

Group 5 finished processing!

Group 2 finished processing!

Group 7 finished processing!

Group 6 finished processing!

Group 0 finished processing!

Total Process Time: 15.709482431411743 s

Using the same instance, we reduce the process time from 168s to 15.7s. As we mentioned, ml.c5.4xlarge has 16 vCPUs and you can even further reduce the process time if you have an instance that has 32 or 64 CPUs.

Note: Choosing the right instance will depend on your requirement for process time and cost. As this result demonstrates, multiprocessing video using Amazon Rekognition is an efficient way to leverage the benefits of Amazon Rekognition state-of-the-art ML model and powerful multi-core Amazon SageMaker instances.

Comparison of Amazon SageMaker Instances in Terms of Process Time and Cost

Here is the comparison table generated when processing a 6.5 seconds video with multiple faces on different SageMaker instances. Following is a video screenshot:

Video screenshot with faces of 5 people blurred

Based on the following table, you learn that instances with 16 vCPU (4xlarge) are better options in terms of faster processing capability, while optimized for cost.

Table with SageMaker Instance Types

Depending on the size of your input video file and the requirements for real-time processing, you can break the input video file into smaller chunks and then scale instances to process those chunks in parallel. While this example is focused on blurring faces, you can also use AWS Rekognition for other use cases like someone wielding a gun, smoking a cigarette, suggestive content and the like.  These and many other moderation activities are all supported by Rekognition content moderation APIs.

Conclusion

In this blog post, we showed how you can leverage multiple cores in large machine learning instances, along with Amazon Rekognition. Doing this can significantly speed up the process of redacting personally identifiable information from videos collected by connected vehicles. The ability to provide near-real-time information unlocks additional value from the video that is ingested. For example, in smart cities, information is collected about the environment, such as road traffic and weather. This data can be visualized in near-real-time to help city management make decisions that can optimize traffic and improve residents’ quality of life.

Field Notes provides hands-on technical guidance from AWS Solutions Architects, consultants, and technical account managers, based on their experiences in the field solving real-world business problems for customers.

Fast and Cost-Effective Image Manipulation with Serverless Image Handler

Post Syndicated from Ajay Swamy original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/fast-and-cost-effective-image-manipulation-with-serverless-image-handler/

As a modern company, you most likely have both a web-based and mobile app platform to provide content to customers who view it on a range of devices. This means you need to store multiple versions of images, depending on the device. The resulting image management can be a headache as it can be expensive and cumbersome to manage.

Serverless Image Handler (SIH) is an AWS Solution Implementation you use to store a single version of every image featured in your content, while dynamically delivering different versions at runtime based on your end user’s device. The solution simplifies code, saves on storage costs, and is ideal for use with web applications and mobile apps. SIH features include the ability to resize images, change background colors, apply formatting, and add watermarks.

Architecture overview

The SIH solution utilizes an AWS CloudFormation template to deploy the solution within minutes, and it’s for those of you who have multiple image assets needing an option to dynamically change or manipulate customer-facing images. SIH deploys best-in-class AWS services such as Amazon CloudFront, Amazon API Gateway, and AWS Lambda functions, and it connects to your Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) bucket for storage.

Deploying this solution with the default parameters builds the following environment in AWS Cloud:

SIH: Emvironment in AWS Cloud-2

SIH uses the following AWS services:

  • Amazon CloudFront to quickly and securely  deliver images to your end users at scale
  • AWS Lambda to run code for image manipulation without the need for provisioning or managing servers (thereby reducing costs and overhead)
  • Your Amazon S3 bucket for storage of your image assets
  • AWS Secrets Manager to support the signing of image URLs so that image access is protected

How does Serverless Image Handler work?

When an HTTP request is received from a customer device, it is passed from CloudFront to API Gateway, and then forwarded to the Lambda function for processing. If the image is cached by CloudFront because of an earlier request, CloudFront will return the cached image instead of forwarding the request to the API Gateway. This reduces latency and eliminates the cost of reprocessing the image.

Requests that are not cached are passed to the API Gateway, and the entire request is forwarded to the Lambda function. The Lambda function retrieves the original image from your Amazon S3 bucket and uses Sharp (the open source image processing software) to return a modified version of the image to the API Gateway. SIH also utilizes Thumbor to apply dynamic filters on the fly. Additionally, the solution generates a CloudFront domain name that supports caching in CloudFront. The newly manipulated image is now cached at CloudFront for easy access and retrieval. The end-to-end request and response can be secured by using the solution’s signed URL feature via AWS Secrets Manager, which allows you to prevent unauthorized use of your proprietary images.

Lastly, SIH uses Amazon Rekognition for face detection in images submitted for smart cropping, allowing for easy cropping for specific content and image needs.

Code example of image manipulation

Please refer to the SIH implementation guide to quickly set up and use SIH. Using Node.js, you can create an image request as illustrated below. The code block specifies the image location as myImageBucket and specifies edits of grayscale :true to change the image to grayscale.

const imageRequest = JSON.stringify({
    bucket: “myImageBucket”,
    key: “myImage.jpg”,
    edits: {
        grayscale: true
    }
});

const url = `${CloudFrontUrl}/${Buffer.from(imageRequest).toString(‘base64’)}`;

With the generated URL, SIH can serve the grayscale image.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a fast and cost-effective solution for image management, Serverless Image Handler provides a great way to manipulate and serve images on the fly with speed and security. Learn more about SIH and watch the accompanying Solving with AWS Solutions video below.

Using serverless backends to iterate quickly on web apps – part 3

Post Syndicated from James Beswick original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/compute/using-serverless-backends-to-iterate-quickly-on-web-apps-part-3/

This series is about building flexible backends for web applications. The example is Happy Path, a web app that allows park visitors to upload and share maps and photos, to help replace printed materials.

In part 1, I show how the application works and walk through the backend architecture. In part 2, you deploy a basic image-processing workflow. To do this, you use an AWS Serverless Application Model (AWS SAM) template to create an AWS Step Functions state machine.

In this post, I show how to deploy progressively more complex workflow functionality while using minimal code. This solution in this web app is designed for 100,000 monthly active users. Using this approach, you can introduce more sophisticated workflows without affecting the existing backend application.

The code and instructions for this application are available in the GitHub repo.

Introducing image moderation

In the first version, users could upload any images to parks on the map. One of the most important feature requests is to enable moderation, to prevent inappropriate images from appearing on the app. To handle a large number of uploaded images, using human moderation would be slow and labor-intensive.

In this section, you use Amazon ML services to automate analyzing the images for unsafe content. Amazon Rekognition provides an API to detect if an image contains moderation labels. These labels are categorized into different types of unsafe content that would not be appropriate for this app.

Version 2 of the workflow uses this API to automate the process of checking images. To install version 2:

  1. From a terminal window, delete the v1 workflow stack:
    aws cloudformation delete-stack --stack-name happy-path-workflow-v1
  2. Change directory to the version 2 AWS SAM template in the repo:
    cd .\workflows\templates\v2
  3. Build and deploy the solution:
    sam build
    sam deploy --guided
  4. The deploy process prompts you for several parameters. Enter happy-path-workflow-v2 as the Stack Name. The other values are the outputs from the backend deployment process, detailed in the repo’s README. Enter these to complete the deployment.

From VS Code, open the v2 state machine in the repo from workflows/statemachines/v2.asl.json. Choose the Render graph option in the CodeLens to see the workflow visualization.

Serverless workflow visualization

This new workflow introduces a Moderator step. This invokes a Moderator Lambda function that uses the Amazon Rekognition API. If this API identifies any unsafe content labels, it returns these as part of the function output.

The next step in the workflow is a Moderation result choice state. This evaluates the output of the previous function – if the image passes moderation, the process continues to the Resizer function. If it fails, execution moves to the RecordFailState step.

Step Functions integrates directly with some AWS services so that you can call and pass parameters into the APIs of those services. The RecordFailState uses an Amazon DynamoDB service integration to write the workflow failure to the application table, using the arn:aws:states:::dynamodb:updateItem resource.

Testing the workflow

To test moderation, I use an unsafe image with suggestive content. This is an image that is not considered appropriate for this application. To test the deployed v2 workflow:

  1. Open the frontend application at https://localhost:8080 in your browser.
  2. Select a park location, choose Show Details, and then choose Upload images.
  3. Select an unsafe image to upload.
  4. Navigate to the Step Functions console. This shows the v2StateMachine with one successful execution:State machine result
  5. Select the state machine, and choose the execution to display more information. Scroll down to the Visual workflow panel.Visual workflow panel

This shows that the moderation failed and the path continued to log the failed state in the database. If you open the Output resource, this displays more details about why the image is considered unsafe.

Checking the image size and file type

The upload component in the frontend application limits file selection to JPG images but there is no check to reject images that are too small. It’s prudent to check and enforce image types and sizes on the backend API in addition to the frontend. This is because it’s possible to upload images via the API without using the frontend.

The next version of the workflow enforces image sizes and file types. To install version 3:

  1. From a terminal window, delete the v2 workflow stack:
    aws cloudformation delete-stack --stack-name happy-path-workflow-v2
  2. Change directory to the version 3 AWS SAM template in the repo:
    cd .\workflows\templates\v3
  3. Build and deploy the solution:
    sam build
    sam deploy --guided
  4. The deploy process prompts you for several parameters. Enter happy-path-workflow-v3 as the Stack Name. The other values are the outputs from the backend deployment process, detailed in the repo’s README. Enter these to complete the deployment.

From VS Code, open the v3 state machine in the repo from workflows/statemachines/v3.asl.json. Choose the Render graph option in the CodeLens to see the workflow visualization.

v3 state machine

This workflow changes the starting point of the execution, introducing a Check Dimensions step. This invokes a Lambda function that checks the size and types of the Amazon S3 object using the image-size npm package. This function uses environment variables provided by the AWS SAM template to compare against a minimum size and allowed type array.

The output is evaluated by the Dimension Result choice state. If the image is larger than the minimum size allowed, execution continues to the Moderator function as before. If not, it passes to the RecordFailState step to log the result in the database.

Testing the workflow

To test, I use an image that’s narrower than the mixPixels value. To test the deployed v3 workflow:

  1. Open the frontend application at https://localhost:8080 in your browser.
  2. Select a park location, choose Show Details, and then choose Upload images.
  3. Select an image with a width smaller than 800 pixels. After a few seconds, a rejection message appears:"Image is too small" message
  4. Navigate to the Step Functions console. This shows the v3StateMachine with one successful execution. Choose the execution to show more detail.Execution output

The execution shows that the Check Dimension step added the image dimensions to the event object. Next, the Dimensions Result choice state rejected the image, and logged the result at the RecordFailState step. The application’s DynamoDB table now contains details about the failed upload:

DynamoDB item details

Pivoting the application to a new concept

Until this point, the Happy Path web application is designed to help park visitors share maps and photos. This is the development team’s original idea behind the app. During the product-market fit stage of development, it’s common for applications to pivot substantially from the original idea. For startups, it can be critical to have the agility to modify solutions quickly to meet the needs of customers.

In this scenario, the original idea has been less successful than predicted, and park visitors are not adopting the app as expected. However, the business development team has identified a new opportunity. Restaurants would like an app that allows customers to upload menus and food photos. How can the development team create a new proof-of-concept app for restaurant customers to test this idea?

In this version, you modify the application to work for restaurants. While features continue to be added to the parks workflow, it now supports business logic specifically for the restaurant app.

To create the v4 workflow and update the frontend:

  1. From a terminal window, delete the v3 workflow stack:
    aws cloudformation delete-stack --stack-name happy-path-workflow-v3
  2. Change directory to the version 4 AWS SAM template in the repo:
    cd .\workflows\templates\v4
  3. Build and deploy the solution:
    sam build
    sam deploy --guided
  4. The deploy process prompts you for several parameters. Enter happy-path-workflow-v4 as the Stack Name. The other values are the outputs from the backend deployment process, detailed in the repo’s README. Enter these to complete the deployment.
  5. Open frontend/src/main.js and update the businessType variable on line 63. Set this value to ‘restaurant’.Change config to restaurants
  6. Start the local development server:
    npm run serve
  7. Open the application at http://localhost:8080. This now shows restaurants in the local area instead of parks.

In the Step Functions console, select the v4StateMachine to see the latest workflow, then open the Definition tab to see the visualization:

Workflow definition

This workflow starts with steps that apply to both parks and restaurants – checking the image dimensions. Next, it determines the place type from the placeId record in DynamoDB. Depending on place type, it now follows a different execution path:

  • Parks continue to run the automated moderator process, then resizer and publish the result.
  • Restaurants now use Amazon Rekognition to determine the labels in the image. Any photos containing people are rejected. Next, the workflow continues to the resizer and publish process.
  • Other business types go to the RecordFailState step since they are not supported.

Testing the workflow

To test the deployed v4 workflow:

  1. Open the frontend application at https://localhost:8080 in your browser.
  2. Select a restaurant, choose Show Details, and then choose Upload images.
  3. Select an image from the test photos dataset. After a few seconds, you see a message confirming the photo has been added.
  4. Next, select an image that contains one or more people. The new restaurant workflow rejects this type of photo:"Image rejected" message
  5. In the Step Functions console, select the last execution for the v4StateMachine to see how the Check for people step rejected the image:v4 workflow

If other business types are added later to the application, you can extend the Step Functions workflow accordingly. The cost of Step Functions is based on the number of transitions in a workflow, not the number of total steps. This means you can branch by business type in the Happy Path application. This doesn’t affect the overall cost of running an execution, if the total transitions are the same per execution.

Conclusion

Previously in this series, you deploy a simple workflow for processing image uploads in the Happy Path web application. In this post, you add progressively more complex functionality by deploying new versions of workflows.

The first iteration introduces image moderation using Amazon Rekognition, providing the ability to automate the evaluation of unsafe content. Next, the workflow is modified to check image size and file type. This allows you to reject any images that are too small or do not meet the type requirements. Finally, I show how to expand the logic further to accept other business types with their own custom workflows.

To learn more about building serverless web applications, see the Ask Around Me series.

Field Notes: Anonymizing Personal Data from Connected Cars Using Amazon Rekognition

Post Syndicated from Sandeep Kulkarni original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/field-notes-anonymizing-personal-data-from-connected-cars-using-amazon-rekognition/

Cameras mounted in connected cars may collect a variety of video data. Organizations may need to redact the personal information (e.g. human faces and automobile license plates) contained in the collected video data in order to protect individuals’ privacy rights and, where required, meet compliance obligations under privacy regulations such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

In this blog post, we outline how connected car providers can leverage Amazon Rekognition to detect the presence of human faces in videos and then anonymize those faces through masking, pixelation, or blurring. In this blog, we use the “blurring” technique to remove a face from the video. Once the video data is blurred, it becomes easier to share the content with partners to derive valuable insights from the video such as pothole information, traffic at intersections, and speed limit signposts.

The high-level architecture of this solution is as follows:

Overview of Architecture

Video anonynimzation

Figure 1 – Video Anonynimzation

Walkthrough

1.  We will assume that the video data from the car was ingested and is stored in a “Raw” Amazon S3 bucket. (For real time analytics, video data will likely be ingested from the connected vehicles into an Amazon Kinesis Video Stream)

2.  In this architecture we will use an Amazon SageMaker notebook instance, which is a machine learning (ML) compute instance running the Jupyter Notebook App. Additionally an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) role created with appropriate permissions is leveraged to provide temporary security credentials required for this program.

3.  In the Amazon SageMaker notebook, the kernel is set to conda_tensorflow_p36 for processing python code. The notebook will read the input video file from the Raw S3 bucket and convert the video to individual frames.

4. The individual frames are analyzed by calling the “DetectFaces” Amazon Rekognition API, which analyzes and provides metadata about the frame. If a face is detected in the frame, then Amazon Rekognition returns a bounding box per face.

5.  For the frames where a face is detected, the bounding box metadata is passed to the gaussian blurring function, which blurs the images. You can control the level of blurring by adjusting parameters in the code.

6. The images are appended together to reconstruct the video with blurred images, which is written to the “Output” S3 bucket and is ready to be shared with partners for further analysis.

Detailed Steps

For the 6 steps mentioned previously, we provide the input video, code samples and the corresponding output video.

Step 1: Login to the AWS console with your user credentials.

  • Upload the sample video to your S3 bucket.
  • Name it face1.mp4. I’ve included the following example of the video input.

Figure 2 – Example Video Input

Step 2: In this block, we will create a SageMaker notebook as well as the IAM role with the required permissions.

Step 2a: Create a SageMaker notebook instance:

Notebook instance:

  • Notebook instance name: VideoAnonymization
  • Notebook instance class: choose “ml.t3.large” from drop down
  • Elastic inference: None

Permissions:

  • IAM role: Click on create a new role from the drop-down menu. This will open a new screen, click next and the new role will be created. The role name will start with AmazonSageMaker-ExecutionRole-xxxxxxxx.
  • Root access: Click Enable
  • Assume defaults for the rest, and click the orange “Create notebook instance” button at the bottom.

This will take you to the next screen, which shows that your notebook instance is being created. It will take a few minutes and you can monitor the status, which will show a green “InService” state, when the notebook is ready.

Step 2b:  Next, we need to provide additional permissions to the new role that you created in Step 2.

  • Click on the VideoAnonymization notebook
  • This will open a new screen. Scroll down to the 3 block – “Permissions and encryption” and click on the IAM role ARN link.
  • This will open a screen where you can attach additional policies. It will already be populated with “AmazonSageMakerFullAccess”
  • Click on the blue Attach policies button.
  • This will open a new screen, which will allow you to add permissions to your execution role.
    • Under “Filter policies” search for S3full. AmazonS3FullAccess. Check the box next to it.
    • Under “Filter policies” search for Rekognition. Check the box next to AmazonRekognitionFullAccess and AmazonRekognitionServiceRole.
    • Click blue Attach Policies button at the bottom. This will populate a screen which will show you the five policies attached as follows:
Permissions Policies

Figure 2 – Permissions Policies – 5 Policies Applied

    • Click on the Add inline policy link on the right and then click on the JSON tab on the next screen. Paste the following policy replacing the <account number> with your AWS account number:
{
    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
        {
            "Sid": "MySid",
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": "iam:PassRole",
            "Resource": "arn:aws:iam::<accountnumber>:role/serviceRekognition"
        }
    ]
}

On the next screen enter VideoInlinePolicy for the name and click the blue Create Policy button at the bottom.

Permissions Policies - 6 Policies Applied

Figure 3 – Permissions Policies – 6 Policies Applied

Step 2c:  Navigate to SageMaker in the console and click on “Notebook instances” in the menu on left. This will show your VideoAnonymization notebook. Click on Open Jupyter blue link under Actions. This will open a new tab titled, Jupyter.

Step 2d: In the upper right corner, click on drop down arrow next to “New” and choose conda_tensorflow_p36 as the kernel for your notebook. Your screen will look at follows.

Step 2d: In the upper right corner, click on drop down arrow next to “New” and choose conda_tensorflow_p36 as the kernel for your notebook. Your screen will look at follows.

Figure 4 – Jupyter

Step 3: Split the input video to individual frames

For the following steps, you can copy the code blocks shown below in your Jupyter notebook and execute it by pressing the “Run” button. First, we import helper functions and libraries:

Import libraries

import cv2    
import os   
from PIL import ImageFilter    
import boto3    
import io    
from PIL import Image, ImageDraw, ExifTags, ImageColor    
import numpy as np    
from os.path import isfile, join    
import time    

Use OpenCV to process video frame-by-frame

The following functions is to convert a video into frames.

def video_2frames(input_video,output_dir):    
    try:    
        os.mkdir(output_dir)    
    except Exception as e:    
        print('Directory already exits!')    
        
    count = 0    
    vidcap = cv2.VideoCapture(input_video)    
    success,image = vidcap.read()    
    success = True    
    while success:    
        file_name = output_dir +'/' + str(count) + '.jpg'    
        cv2.imwrite(file_name, image)    
        success,image = vidcap.read()    
        #print ('Read a new frame:'+ str(count)+' ',success)    
        count+= 1    
        
    vidcap.release()    
    cv2.destroyAllWindows()    

Step 4: Identify private data (faces) in the individual frames

Amazon Rekognition “Detect_Faces” detects the 100 largest faces in the image. For each face detected, the operation returns face details. These details include a bounding box of the face, a confidence value (that the bounding box contains a face), and a fixed set of attributes such as facial landmarks (for example, coordinates of eye and mouth), presence of beard, sunglasses, and so on.

The face-detection algorithm is most effective on frontal faces. For non-frontal or obscured faces, the algorithm might not detect the faces or might detect faces with lower confidence.

You pass the input image either as base64-encoded image bytes or as a reference to an image in an Amazon S3 bucket. In this code, we pass the image as jpg to Amazon Rekognition since we want to see each frame of this video.

def detect_blur_face_local_file(photo,blurriness):    
    
    client=boto3.client('rekognition')    
        
    # Call DetectFaces    
    with open(photo, 'rb') as image:    
        response = client.detect_faces(Image={'Bytes': image.read()})    
        
    image=Image.open(photo)    
    imgWidth, imgHeight = image.size      
    draw = ImageDraw.Draw(image)       
            
    # Calculate and display bounding boxes for each detected face           
    print('Detected faces for ' + photo)        
    for faceDetail in response['FaceDetails']:    
            
        box = faceDetail['BoundingBox']    
        left = imgWidth * box['Left']    
        top = imgHeight * box['Top']    
        width = imgWidth * box['Width']    
        height = imgHeight * box['Height']    
                    
        print('Left: ' + '{0:.0f}'.format(left))    
        print('Top: ' + '{0:.0f}'.format(top))    
        print('Face Width: ' + "{0:.0f}".format(width))    
        print('Face Height: ' + "{0:.0f}".format(height))    
            
        #blur faces inside the bounding boxes    
        x1=left    
        y1=top    
        x2=left+width    
        y2=top+height    
            
        mask = Image.new('L', image.size, 0)    
        draw = ImageDraw.Draw(mask)    
        draw.rectangle([ (x1,y1), (x2,y2) ], fill=255)    
        blurred = image.filter(ImageFilter.GaussianBlur(blurriness))    
        image.paste(blurred, mask=mask)    
        image.save    
     
    print ('Detected faces:', len(response['FaceDetails']))    
    print( '-'*80)    
        
    return image    

Step 5: Anonymize private data (blur faces)

This function blurs the private data detected in each frame of the video and generates the output face-anonymized video.

def generate_blurface_video(pathIn,fileOut='face_blur_result.mp4',bluriness=15,fps=30):    
    frame_array = []    
    files = [f for f in os.listdir(pathIn) if isfile(join(pathIn, f))]    
     
    for i in range(len(files)):    
        filename=pathIn +'/'+ str(i) + '.jpg'    
        #blur each frame 
        blurred_img=detect_blur_face_local_file(filename,bluriness)    
        blurimg_transform=cv2.cvtColor(np.array(blurred_img), cv2.COLOR_BGR2RGB)    
        height, width, layers = blurimg_transform.shape    
        size = (width,height)    
        print(size)    
        #inserting the frames into an image array    
        frame_array.append(blurimg_transform)    
            
    out = cv2.VideoWriter(fileOut,cv2.VideoWriter_fourcc(*'MP4V'), fps, size)    
     
    for i in range(len(frame_array)):    
        # writing to an image array    
        out.write(frame_array[i])    
    out.release()    

Step 6: Write the anonymized video to the output bucket

Now we Use Python main() to combine the preceding functions to detect faces in the input video (face1.mp4), blur the faces and generate the output video file. Remember to replace bucketname with the name of your bucket in the following code block:

def main():    
    tic = time.perf_counter()    
    # Connect to S3    
    s3_client = boto3.client('s3')    
        
    # Download S3 video to local. Enter your bucketname below.    
    bucket='yourbucketname'    
    file='face1.mp4'    
    s3_client.download_file(bucket, file, './'+file)    
        
    # Name the directory of original frames from the video    
    frame_dir='frames'    
    
    # Convert video to frames    
    video_2frames(file,frame_dir)    
    print('Finished generating original frames from video!')    
    print( '-'*80)    
    
    print('Start detecting face in each frame!')    
    # Generate face_blurred video    
    fileOut='face_blur_result2.mp4'    
    generate_blurface_video(frame_dir,fileOut,15,30)    
    print('Finished generating face-blurred video!')    
    print( '-'*80)    
    
    # Upload face-blurred video to s3    
    response = s3_client.upload_file(fileOut, bucket, 'blur_face_result_3.mp4')    
    print('Finished uploading face-blurred video to S3!')    
    toc = time.perf_counter()    
    print(f"Total process time is {toc - tic:0.4f} seconds")    
    
if __name__ == "__main__":    
    main()    

When you execute this code block, you see the execution results, as each frame is analyzed to determine if it contains a face. Your output will look similar to the following block. When you see the “Finished uploading face-blurred video to S3!’ message, your processing is complete.

Finished generating original frames from video!
——————————————————————————–
Start detecting face in each frame!
Detected faces for frames/0.jpg
Detected faces: 0
——————————————————————————–
Detected faces for frames/1.jpg
Detected faces: 0

Detected faces for frames_final623_1/416.jpg
Left: 676
Top: 417
Face Width: 16
Face Height: 19
Detected faces: 1
——————————————————————————–
Detected faces for frames_final623_1/417.jpg
Left: 675
Top: 419
Face Width: 16
Face Height: 19
Detected faces: 1

Figure 3 – Example Output Video

——————————————————————————–
Finished uploading face-blurred video to S3!

 

Cleanup

  • From the Sagemaker console, click the radio button next to your notebook. Click on the Actions drop down in the upper right, and choose “stop” to stop your notebook
  • Once the notebook has been stopped, click Actions, then choose “delete” to delete your notebook if you would like to delete your notebook
  • Go to IAM console and delete the Sagemaker execution role that you had created in Step 2.
  • Finally, delete the input video and the output files from your S3 bucket.

Conclusion

In this blog post, we have shown how we can use Amazon Rekognition to detect a human face in a video and then use a blurring function from the computer vision (cv2) python library to anonymize the face.  As part of a broader autonomous vehicle data ingestion workflow, this video can be passed on to a labeling task in Amazon SageMaker Ground Truth. Once anonymized, this video data can be shared with partners for other use cases. For example, videos from malls or parking lots can be used to determine traffic patterns at different times of day or days of the week and drive a promotion strategy to attract more visitors during low traffic periods.

To learn more about Amazon Rekognition DetectFaces feature, read the feature documentation. You can also visit the Amazon Rekognition web page to learn more about the service and its use cases.

Also, check out the Automotive issue of the AWS Architecture Monthly Magazine.

Please feel free to leave us feedback and questions in the comments section.

Field Notes provides hands-on technical guidance from AWS Solutions Architects, consultants, and technical account managers, based on their experiences in the field solving real-world business problems for customers.

Automating scalable business workflows using minimal code

Post Syndicated from James Beswick original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/compute/automating-scalable-business-workflows-using-minimal-code/

Organizations frequently have complex workflows embedded in their processes. When a customer places an order, it triggers a workflow. Or when an employee requests vacation time, this starts another set of processes. Managing these at scale can be challenging in traditional applications, which must often manage thousands of separate tasks.

In this blog post, I show how to use a serverless application to build and manage enterprise workflows at scale. This minimal-code solution is highly scalable and flexible, and can be modified easily to meet your needs. This application uses Amazon S3, AWS Lambda, and AWS Step Functions:

Using S3-to-Lambda to trigger Step Functions workflows

AWS Step Functions allows you to represent workflows as a JSON state machine. This service can help remove custom code and convoluted logic from distributed systems, and make it easier to maintain and modify. S3 is a highly scalable service that stores trillions of objects, and Lambda runs custom code in response to events. By combining these services, it’s simple to build resilient workflows with high throughput, triggered by putting objects in S3 buckets.

There are many business use-cases for this approach. For example, you could automatically pay invoices from approved vendors under a threshold amount by reading the invoices stored in S3 using Amazon Textract. Or your application could automatically book consultations for patients emailing their completed authorization forms. Almost any action that is triggered by a document or form is a potential candidate for an automated workflow solution.

To set up the example application, visit the GitHub repo and follow the instructions in the README.md file. The code uses the AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM), enabling you to deploy the application in your own AWS account. This walkthrough creates resources covered in the AWS Free Tier but you may incur cost if you test with large amounts of data.

How the application works

The starting point for this serverless solution is S3. When new objects are stored, this triggers a Lambda function that starts an execution in the Step Functions workflow. Lambda scales to keep pace as more objects are written to the S3 bucket, and Step Functions creates a separate execution for each S3 object. It also manages the state of all the distinct workflows.

Simple Step Functions workflow.

  1. A downstream process stores data in the S3 bucket.
  2. This invokes the Start Execution Lambda function. The function creates a new execution in Step Functions using the S3 object as event data.
  3. The workflow invokes the Decider function. This uses Amazon Rekognition to detect the contents of objects stored in S3.
  4. This function uses environment variables to determine the matching attributes. If the S3 object matches the criteria, it triggers the Match function. Otherwise, the No Match function is invoked.

The application’s SAM template configures the Step Functions state machine as JSON. It also defines an IAM role allowing Step Functions to invoke the Lambda functions. The initial function invoked by S3 is defined to accept the state machine ARN as an environment variable. The template also defines the permissions needed and the S3 trigger:

  StartExecutionFunction:
    Type: AWS::Serverless::Function 
    Properties:
      CodeUri: StartExecutionFunction/
      Handler: app.handler
      Runtime: nodejs12.x
      MemorySize: 128
      Environment:
        Variables:
          stateMachineArn: !Ref 'MatcherStateMachine'
      Policies:
        - S3CrudPolicy:
            BucketName: !Ref InputBucketName
        - Statement:
          - Effect: Allow
            Resource: !Ref 'MatcherStateMachine'
            Action:
              - states:*
      Events:
        FileUpload:
          Type: S3
          Properties:
            Bucket: !Ref InputBucket
            Events: s3:ObjectCreated:*

This uses SAM policy templates to provide read access to the S3 bucket. It also defines the event that causes the function invocation from S3, filtering only for new objects with a .json suffix.

The Decider function is the first step of the Step Functions workflow. It uses Amazon Rekognition to detect labels and words from the images provide. The SAM template passes the required labels and words to the function, together with an optional confidence score:

  DeciderFunction:
    Type: AWS::Serverless::Function 
    Properties:
      CodeUri: deciderFunction/
      Handler: app.handler
      Environment:
        Variables:
          requiredWords: "NEW YORK"
          requiredLabels: "Driving License,Person"
          minConfidence: 70

If the requiredLabels environment variable is present, the function’s code calls Amazon Rekognition’s detectLabel method. It then calls the detectText method if the requiredWords environment variable is used:

// The standard Lambda handler
exports.handler = async (event) => {
  return await processDocument(event)
}

// Detect words/labels on document or image
const processDocument = async (event) => {

  // If using a required labels
  if (process.env.requiredLabels) {
    // If no match, return immediately
    if (!await checkRequiredLabels(event)) return 'NoMatch'
  }  

  // If using a required words test
  if (process.env.requiredWords) {
    // If no match, return immediately
    if (!await checkRequiredWords(event)) return 'NoMatch'
  }

  return 'Match'
}

The Decider function returns “Match” or “No match” to the Step Functions workflow. This invokes downstream functions depending on the result. The Match and No Match functions are stubs where you can build the intended functionality in the workflow. This Step Functions workflow is designed generically so you can extend the functionality easily.

Testing the application

Deploy the first application by following the README.md in the GitHub repo, and note the application’s S3 bucket name. There are three test cases:

  • Create a workflow for a matched subject in an image. From photos uploaded to S3, identify which images contain one or more subjects, and invoke the Match path of the workflow.
  • Create a workflow for invoices from a specific vendor. From multiple invoices uploaded, matching those from a vendor, and trigger the Match path of the workflow.
  • Create a workflow for driver licenses issued by a single state. From a collection of drivers licenses, trigger the Match workflow for only a single state.

1. Create a workflow for matched subject in an image

In this example, the application identifies cats in images uploaded to the S3 bucket. The default configuration in the SAM template in the GitHub repo contains the environment variables set for this example:

Environment variables in SAM template.

First, I upload over 20 images of various animals to the S3 bucket:

Uploading files to the S3 bucket.

After navigating to the Step Function console, and selecting the application’s state machine, it shows 24 separate executions, one per image:

Step Functions execution detail.

I select one of these executions, for cat3.jpg. This has followed the MatchFound execution path of the workflow:

MatchFound execution path.

2. Create a workflow for invoices for a specified vendor.

For this example, the application looks for a customer account number and vendor name in invoices uploaded to the S3 bucket. The Decider function uses environment variables to determine the matching keywords. These can be updated by either deploying the SAM template or editing the Lambda function directly.

I modify the SAM template to match the vendor name and account number as follows:

SAM template with vendor information.

Next I upload several different invoices from the local machine to the S3 bucket:

Uploading different files to the S3 bucket.

In the Step Functions console, I select the execution for utility-bill.png. This execution matches the criteria and follows the MatchFound path in the workflow.

MatchFound path in visual workflow.

3. Matching a driver’s license by state

In this example, the application routes based upon the state where a driver’s license is issued. For this test, I use a range of sample images of licenses from DMVs in multiple states.

I modify the SAM template so the Decider function uses both label and word detection. I set “Driving License” and “Person” as required labels. This ensures that Amazon Rekognition identifies a person is in the photo in addition to the document type.

Environment variables in the SAM template.

Next, I upload the driver’s license images to the S3 bucket:

Uploading files to the S3 bucket.

In the Step Functions console, I open the execution for the driver-license-ny.png file, and it has followed the MatchFound path in the workflow:

Execution path for driver's license test.

When I select the execution for the Texas driver’s license, this did not match and has followed the NoMatchFound execution path:

Execution path for NoMatchFound.

Extending the functionality

By triggering Step Functions workflows from S3 PutObject events, this application is highly scalable. As more objects are stored in the S3 bucket, it creates as many executions as needed in the state machine. The custom code only handles the specific logic requirements for a single object and the Lambda service scales up to meet demand.

In these examples, the application uses Amazon Rekognition to analyze specific document types or image contents. You could extend this logic to include value ranges, multiple alternative workflow paths, or include steps to enable human intervention.

Using Step Functions also makes it easy to modify workflows as requirements change. Any incomplete workflows continue on the existing version of the state machine used when they started. As a result, you can add steps without impacting existing code, making it faster to adapt applications to users’ needs.

Conclusion

You can use Step Functions to model many common business workflows with JSON. Combining this powerful workflow management service with the scalability of S3 and Lambda, you can quickly build nuanced solutions that operate at scale.

In this post, I show how you can deploy a simple Step Functions workflow where executions are created by objects stored in an S3 bucket. Using minimal code, it can perform complex workflow routing tasks based on document types and contents. This provides a highly flexible and scalable way to manage common organizational workflow needs.

Creating a searchable enterprise document repository

Post Syndicated from James Beswick original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/compute/creating-a-searchable-enterprise-document-repository/

Enterprise customers frequently have repositories with thousands of documents, images and other media. While these contain valuable information for users, it’s often hard to index and search this content. One challenge is interpreting the data intelligently, and another issue is processing these files at scale.

In this blog post, I show how you can deploy a serverless application that uses machine learning to interpret your documents. The architecture includes a queueing mechanism for handling large volumes, and posting the indexing metadata to an Amazon Elasticsearch domain. This solution is scalable and cost effective, and you can modify the functionality to meet your organization’s requirements.

The overall architecture for a searchable document repository solution.

The application takes unstructured data and applies machine learning to extract context for a search service, in this case Elasticsearch. There are many business uses for this design. For example, this could help Human Resources departments in searching for skills in PDF resumes. It can also be used by Marketing departments or creative groups with a large number of images, providing a simple way to search for items within the images.

As documents and images are added to the S3 bucket, these events invoke AWS Lambda functions. This runs custom code to extract data from the files, and also calls Amazon ML services for interpretation. For example, when adding a resume, the Lambda function extracts text from the PDF file while Amazon Comprehend determines the key phrases and topics in the document. For images, it uses Amazon Rekognition to determine the contents. In both cases, once it identifies the indexing attributes, it saves the data to Elasticsearch.

The code uses the AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM), enabling you to deploy the application easily in your own AWS Account. This walkthrough creates resources covered in the AWS Free Tier but you may incur cost for large data imports. Additionally, it requires an Elasticsearch domain, which may incur cost on your AWS bill.

To set up the example application, visit the GitHub repo and follow the instructions in the README.md file.

Creating an Elasticsearch domain

This application requires an Elasticsearch development domain for testing purposes. To learn more about production configurations, see the Elasticsearch documentation.

To create the test domain:

  1. Navigate to the Amazon Elasticsearch console. Choose Create a new domain.
  2. For Deployment type, choose Development and testing. Choose Next.
  3. In the Configure Domain page:
    1. For Elasticsearch domain name, enter serverless-docrepo.
    2. Change Instance Type to t2.small.elasticsearch.
    3. Leave all the other defaults. Choose Next at the end of the page.
  4. In Network Configuration, choose Public access. This is adequate for a tutorial but in a production use-case, it’s recommended to use VPC access.
  5. Under Access Policy, in the Domain access policy dropdown, choose Custom access policy.
  6. Select IAM ARN and in the Enter principal field, enter your AWS account ID (learn how to find your AWS account ID). In the Select Action dropdown, select Allow.
  7. Under Encryption, leave HTTPS checked. Choose Next.
  8. On the Review page, review your domain configuration, and then choose Confirm.

Your domain is now being configured, and the Domain status shows Loading in the Overview tab.

After creating the Elasticsearch domain, the domain status shows ‘Loading’.

It takes 10-15 minutes to fully configure the domain. Wait until the Domain status shows Active before continuing. When the domain is ready, note the Endpoint address since you need this in the application deployment.

The Endpoint for an Elasticsearch domain.

Deploying the application

After cloning the repo to your local development machine, open a terminal window and change to the cloned directory.

  1. Run the SAM build process to create an installation package, and then deploy the application:
    sam build
    sam deploy --guided
  2. In the guided deployment process, enter unique names for the S3 buckets when prompted. For the ESdomain parameter, enter the Elasticsearch domain Endpoint from the previous section.
  3. After the deployment completes, note the Lambda function ARN shown in the output:
    Lambda function ARN output.
  4. Back in the Elasticsearch console, select the Actions dropdown and choose Modify Access Policy. Paste the Lambda function ARN as an AWS Principal in the JSON, in addition to the root user, as follows:
    Modify access policy for Elasticsearch.
  5. Choose Submit. This grants the Lambda function access to the Elasticsearch domain.

Testing the application

To test the application, you need a few test documents and images with the file types DOCX (Microsoft Word), PDF, and JPG. This walkthrough uses multiple files to illustrate the queuing process.

  1. Navigate to the S3 console and select the Documents bucket from your deployment.
  2. Choose Upload and select your sample PDF or DOCX files:
    Upload files to S3.
  3. Choose Next on the following three pages to complete the upload process. The application now analyzes these documents and adds the indexing information to Elasticsearch.

To query Elasticsearch, first you must generate an Access Key ID and Secret Access Key. For detailed steps, see this documentation on creating security credentials. Next, use Postman to create an HTTP request for the Elasticsearch domain:

  1. Download and install Postman.
  2. From Postman, enter the Elasticsearch endpoint, adding /_search?q=keyword. Replace keyword with a search term.
  3. On the Authorization tab, complete the Access Key ID and Secret Access Key fields with the credentials you created. For Service Name, enter es.Postman query with AWS authorization.
  4. Choose Send. Elasticsearch responds with document results matching your search term.REST response from Elasticsearch.

How this works

This application creates a processing pipeline between the originating Documents bucket and the Elasticsearch domain. Each document type has a custom parser, preparing the content in a Queuing bucket. It uses an Amazon SQS queue to buffer work, which is fetched by a Lambda function and analyzed with Amazon Comprehend. Finally, the indexing metadata is saved in Elasticsearch.

Serverless architecture for text extraction and classification.

  1. Documents and images are saved in the Documents bucket.
  2. Depending upon the file type, this triggers a custom parser Lambda function.
    1. For PDFs and DOCX files, the extracted text is stored in a Staging bucket. If the content is longer than 5,000 characters, it is broken into smaller files by a Lambda function, then saved in the Queued bucket.
    2. For JPG files, the parser uses Amazon Rekognition to detect the contents of the image. The labeling metadata is stored in the Queued bucket.
  3. When items are stored in the Queued bucket, this triggers a Lambda function to add the job to an SQS queue.
  4. The Analyze function is invoked when there are messages in the SQS queue. It uses Amazon Comprehend to find entities in the text. This function then stores the metadata in Elasticsearch.

S3 and Lambda both scale to handle the traffic. The Elasticsearch domain is not serverless, however, so it’s possible to overwhelm this instance with requests. There may be a large number of objects stored in the Documents bucket triggering the workflow, so the application uses SQS couple to smooth out the traffic. When large numbers of objects are processed, you see the Messages Available increase in the SQS queue:

SQS queue buffers messages to smooth out traffic.
For the Lambda function consuming messages from the SQS queue, the BatchSize configured in the SAM template controls the rate of processing. The function continues to fetch messages from the SQS queue while Messages Available is greater than zero. This can be a useful mechanism for protecting downstream services that are not serverless, or simply cannot scale to match the processing rates of the upstream application. In this case, it provides a more consistent flow of indexing data to the Elasticsearch domain.

In a production use-case, you would scale the Elasticsearch domain depending upon the load of search requests, not just the indexing traffic from this application. This tutorial uses a minimal Elasticsearch configuration, but this service is capable of supporting enterprise-scale use-cases.

Conclusion

Enterprise document repositories can be a rich source of information but can be difficult to search and index. In this blog post, I show how you can use a serverless approach to build scalable solution easily. With minimum code, we can use Amazon ML services to create the indexing metadata. By using powerful image recognition and language comprehension capabilities, this makes the metadata more useful and the search solution more accurate.

This also shows how serverless solutions can be used with existing non-serverless infrastructure, like Elasticsearch. By decoupling scalable serverless applications, you can protect downstream services from heavy traffic loads, even as Lambda scales up. Elasticsearch provides a fast, easy way to query your document repository once the serverless application has completed the indexing process.

To learn more about how to use Elasticsearch for production workloads, see the documentation on managing domains.

Thoughts On Machine Learning Accuracy

Post Syndicated from Dr. Matt Wood original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/thoughts-on-machine-learning-accuracy/

This blog shares some brief thoughts on machine learning accuracy and bias.

Let’s start with some comments about a recent ACLU blog in which they run a facial recognition trial. Using Rekognition, the ACLU built a face database using 25,000 publicly available arrest photos and then performed facial similarity searches of that database using public photos of all current members of Congress. They found 28 incorrect matches out of 535, using an 80% confidence level; this is a 5% misidentification (sometimes called ‘false positive’) rate and a 95% accuracy rate. The ACLU has not published its data set, methodology, or results in detail, so we can only go on what they’ve publicly said. But, here are some thoughts on their claims:

  1. The default confidence threshold for facial recognition APIs in Rekognition is 80%, which is good for a broad set of general use cases (such as identifying celebrities on social media or family members who look alike in a photos app), but it’s not the right one for public safety use cases. The 80% confidence threshold used by the ACLU is far too low to ensure the accurate identification of individuals; we would expect to see false positives at this level of confidence. We recommend 99% for use cases where highly accurate face similarity matches are important (as indicated in our public documentation).

    To illustrate the impact of confidence threshold on false positives, we ran a test where we created a face collection using a dataset of over 850,000 faces commonly used in academia. We then used public photos of all members of US Congress (the Senate and House) to search against this collection in a similar way to the ACLU blog.

    When we set the confidence threshold at 99% (as we recommend in our documentation), our misidentification rate dropped to 0% despite the fact that we are comparing against a larger corpus of faces (30x larger than ACLU’s tests). This illustrates how important it is for those using ‎technology to help with public safety issues to pick appropriate confidence levels, so they have few (if any) false positives.

  2. In real-world public safety and law enforcement scenarios, Amazon Rekognition is almost exclusively used to help narrow the field and allow humans to expeditiously review and consider options using their judgment (and not to make fully autonomous decisions), where it can help find lost children, fight against human trafficking, or prevent crimes. Rekognition is generally only the first step in identifying an individual. In other use cases (such as social media), there isn’t the same need to double check so that confidence thresholds can be lower.

  3. In addition to setting the confidence threshold far too low, the Rekognition results can be significantly skewed by using a facial database that is not appropriately representative that is itself skewed. In this case, ACLU used a facial database of mugshots that may have had a material impact on the accuracy of Rekognition findings.

  4. The advantage of a cloud-based machine learning application like Rekognition is that it is constantly improving as we continue to improve the algorithm with more data.  Our customers immediately get the benefit of those improvements. We continue to focus on our mission of making Rekognition the most accurate and powerful tool for identifying people, objects, and scenes – and that certainly includes ensuring that the results are free of any bias that impacts accuracy.  We’ve been able to add a lot of value for customers and the world at large already with Rekognition in the fight against human trafficking, reuniting lost children with their families, reducing fraud for mobile payments, and improving security, and we’re excited about continuing to help our customers and society at large with Rekognition in the future.

  5. There is a general misconception that people can match faces to photos better than machines. In fact, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (“NIST”) recently shared a study of facial recognition technologies that are at least two years behind the state of the art used in Rekognition and concluded that even those older technologies can outperform human facial recognition abilities.

A final word about the misinterpreted ACLU results. When there are new technological advances, we all have to clearly understand what’s real and what’s not. There’s a difference between using machine learning to identify a food object and using machine learning to determine whether a face match should warrant considering any law enforcement action. The latter is serious business and requires much higher confidence levels. We continue to recommend that customers do not use less than 99% confidence levels for law enforcement matches, and then to only use the matches as one input across others that make sense for each agency. But, machine learning is a very valuable tool to help law enforcement agencies, and while being concerned it’s applied correctly, we should not throw away the oven because the temperature could be set wrong and burn the pizza. It is a very reasonable idea, however, for the government to weigh in and specify what temperature (or confidence levels) it wants law enforcement agencies to meet to assist in their public safety work.

Some quick thoughts on the public discussion regarding facial recognition and Amazon Rekognition this past week

Post Syndicated from Dr. Matt Wood original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/some-quick-thoughts-on-the-public-discussion-regarding-facial-recognition-and-amazon-rekognition-this-past-week/

We have seen a lot of discussion this past week about the role of Amazon Rekognition in facial recognition, surveillance, and civil liberties, and we wanted to share some thoughts.

Amazon Rekognition is a service we announced in 2016. It makes use of new technologies – such as deep learning – and puts them in the hands of developers in an easy-to-use, low-cost way. Since then, we have seen customers use the image and video analysis capabilities of Amazon Rekognition in ways that materially benefit both society (e.g. preventing human trafficking, inhibiting child exploitation, reuniting missing children with their families, and building educational apps for children), and organizations (enhancing security through multi-factor authentication, finding images more easily, or preventing package theft). Amazon Web Services (AWS) is not the only provider of services like these, and we remain excited about how image and video analysis can be a driver for good in the world, including in the public sector and law enforcement.

There have always been and will always be risks with new technology capabilities. Each organization choosing to employ technology must act responsibly or risk legal penalties and public condemnation. AWS takes its responsibilities seriously. But we believe it is the wrong approach to impose a ban on promising new technologies because they might be used by bad actors for nefarious purposes in the future. The world would be a very different place if we had restricted people from buying computers because it was possible to use that computer to do harm. The same can be said of thousands of technologies upon which we all rely each day. Through responsible use, the benefits have far outweighed the risks.

Customers are off to a great start with Amazon Rekognition; the evidence of the positive impact this new technology can provide is strong (and growing by the week), and we’re excited to continue to support our customers in its responsible use.

-Dr. Matt Wood, general manager of artificial intelligence at AWS

Amazon Neptune Generally Available

Post Syndicated from Randall Hunt original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/amazon-neptune-generally-available/

Amazon Neptune is now Generally Available in US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), and EU (Ireland). Amazon Neptune is a fast, reliable, fully-managed graph database service that makes it easy to build and run applications that work with highly connected datasets. At the core of Neptune is a purpose-built, high-performance graph database engine optimized for storing billions of relationships and querying the graph with millisecond latencies. Neptune supports two popular graph models, Property Graph and RDF, through Apache TinkerPop Gremlin and SPARQL, allowing you to easily build queries that efficiently navigate highly connected datasets. Neptune can be used to power everything from recommendation engines and knowledge graphs to drug discovery and network security. Neptune is fully-managed with automatic minor version upgrades, backups, encryption, and fail-over. I wrote about Neptune in detail for AWS re:Invent last year and customers have been using the preview and providing great feedback that the team has used to prepare the service for GA.

Now that Amazon Neptune is generally available there are a few changes from the preview:

Launching an Amazon Neptune Cluster

Launching a Neptune cluster is as easy as navigating to the AWS Management Console and clicking create cluster. Of course you can also launch with CloudFormation, the CLI, or the SDKs.

You can monitor your cluster health and the health of individual instances through Amazon CloudWatch and the console.

Additional Resources

We’ve created two repos with some additional tools and examples here. You can expect continuous development on these repos as we add additional tools and examples.

  • Amazon Neptune Tools Repo
    This repo has a useful tool for converting GraphML files into Neptune compatible CSVs for bulk loading from S3.
  • Amazon Neptune Samples Repo
    This repo has a really cool example of building a collaborative filtering recommendation engine for video game preferences.

Purpose Built Databases

There’s an industry trend where we’re moving more and more onto purpose-built databases. Developers and businesses want to access their data in the format that makes the most sense for their applications. As cloud resources make transforming large datasets easier with tools like AWS Glue, we have a lot more options than we used to for accessing our data. With tools like Amazon Redshift, Amazon Athena, Amazon Aurora, Amazon DynamoDB, and more we get to choose the best database for the job or even enable entirely new use-cases. Amazon Neptune is perfect for workloads where the data is highly connected across data rich edges.

I’m really excited about graph databases and I see a huge number of applications. Looking for ideas of cool things to build? I’d love to build a web crawler in AWS Lambda that uses Neptune as the backing store. You could further enrich it by running Amazon Comprehend or Amazon Rekognition on the text and images found and creating a search engine on top of Neptune.

As always, feel free to reach out in the comments or on twitter to provide any feedback!

Randall

New – Machine Learning Inference at the Edge Using AWS Greengrass

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-machine-learning-inference-at-the-edge-using-aws-greengrass/

What happens when you combine the Internet of Things, Machine Learning, and Edge Computing? Before I tell you, let’s review each one and discuss what AWS has to offer.

Internet of Things (IoT) – Devices that connect the physical world and the digital one. The devices, often equipped with one or more types of sensors, can be found in factories, vehicles, mines, fields, homes, and so forth. Important AWS services include AWS IoT Core, AWS IoT Analytics, AWS IoT Device Management, and Amazon FreeRTOS, along with others that you can find on the AWS IoT page.

Machine Learning (ML) – Systems that can be trained using an at-scale dataset and statistical algorithms, and used to make inferences from fresh data. At Amazon we use machine learning to drive the recommendations that you see when you shop, to optimize the paths in our fulfillment centers, fly drones, and much more. We support leading open source machine learning frameworks such as TensorFlow and MXNet, and make ML accessible and easy to use through Amazon SageMaker. We also provide Amazon Rekognition for images and for video, Amazon Lex for chatbots, and a wide array of language services for text analysis, translation, speech recognition, and text to speech.

Edge Computing – The power to have compute resources and decision-making capabilities in disparate locations, often with intermittent or no connectivity to the cloud. AWS Greengrass builds on AWS IoT, giving you the ability to run Lambda functions and keep device state in sync even when not connected to the Internet.

ML Inference at the Edge
Today I would like to toss all three of these important new technologies into a blender! You can now perform Machine Learning inference at the edge using AWS Greengrass. This allows you to use the power of the AWS cloud (including fast, powerful instances equipped with GPUs) to build, train, and test your ML models before deploying them to small, low-powered, intermittently-connected IoT devices running in those factories, vehicles, mines, fields, and homes that I mentioned.

Here are a few of the many ways that you can put Greengrass ML Inference to use:

Precision Farming – With an ever-growing world population and unpredictable weather that can affect crop yields, the opportunity to use technology to increase yields is immense. Intelligent devices that are literally in the field can process images of soil, plants, pests, and crops, taking local corrective action and sending status reports to the cloud.

Physical Security – Smart devices (including the AWS DeepLens) can process images and scenes locally, looking for objects, watching for changes, and even detecting faces. When something of interest or concern arises, the device can pass the image or the video to the cloud and use Amazon Rekognition to take a closer look.

Industrial Maintenance – Smart, local monitoring can increase operational efficiency and reduce unplanned downtime. The monitors can run inference operations on power consumption, noise levels, and vibration to flag anomalies, predict failures, detect faulty equipment.

Greengrass ML Inference Overview
There are several different aspects to this new AWS feature. Let’s take a look at each one:

Machine Learning ModelsPrecompiled TensorFlow and MXNet libraries, optimized for production use on the NVIDIA Jetson TX2 and Intel Atom devices, and development use on 32-bit Raspberry Pi devices. The optimized libraries can take advantage of GPU and FPGA hardware accelerators at the edge in order to provide fast, local inferences.

Model Building and Training – The ability to use Amazon SageMaker and other cloud-based ML tools to build, train, and test your models before deploying them to your IoT devices. To learn more about SageMaker, read Amazon SageMaker – Accelerated Machine Learning.

Model Deployment – SageMaker models can (if you give them the proper IAM permissions) be referenced directly from your Greengrass groups. You can also make use of models stored in S3 buckets. You can add a new machine learning resource to a group with a couple of clicks:

These new features are available now and you can start using them today! To learn more read Perform Machine Learning Inference.

Jeff;

 

AWS IoT, Greengrass, and Machine Learning for Connected Vehicles at CES

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-iot-greengrass-and-machine-learning-for-connected-vehicles-at-ces/

Last week I attended a talk given by Bryan Mistele, president of Seattle-based INRIX. Bryan’s talk provided a glimpse into the future of transportation, centering around four principle attributes, often abbreviated as ACES:

Autonomous – Cars and trucks are gaining the ability to scan and to make sense of their environments and to navigate without human input.

Connected – Vehicles of all types have the ability to take advantage of bidirectional connections (either full-time or intermittent) to other cars and to cloud-based resources. They can upload road and performance data, communicate with each other to run in packs, and take advantage of traffic and weather data.

Electric – Continued development of battery and motor technology, will make electrics vehicles more convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.

Shared – Ride-sharing services will change usage from an ownership model to an as-a-service model (sound familiar?).

Individually and in combination, these emerging attributes mean that the cars and trucks we will see and use in the decade to come will be markedly different than those of the past.

On the Road with AWS
AWS customers are already using our AWS IoT, edge computing, Amazon Machine Learning, and Alexa products to bring this future to life – vehicle manufacturers, their tier 1 suppliers, and AutoTech startups all use AWS for their ACES initiatives. AWS Greengrass is playing an important role here, attracting design wins and helping our customers to add processing power and machine learning inferencing at the edge.

AWS customer Aptiv (formerly Delphi) talked about their Automated Mobility on Demand (AMoD) smart vehicle architecture in a AWS re:Invent session. Aptiv’s AMoD platform will use Greengrass and microservices to drive the onboard user experience, along with edge processing, monitoring, and control. Here’s an overview:

Another customer, Denso of Japan (one of the world’s largest suppliers of auto components and software) is using Greengrass and AWS IoT to support their vision of Mobility as a Service (MaaS). Here’s a video:

AWS at CES
The AWS team will be out in force at CES in Las Vegas and would love to talk to you. They’ll be running demos that show how AWS can help to bring innovation and personalization to connected and autonomous vehicles.

Personalized In-Vehicle Experience – This demo shows how AWS AI and Machine Learning can be used to create a highly personalized and branded in-vehicle experience. It makes use of Amazon Lex, Polly, and Amazon Rekognition, but the design is flexible and can be used with other services as well. The demo encompasses driver registration, login and startup (including facial recognition), voice assistance for contextual guidance, personalized e-commerce, and vehicle control. Here’s the architecture for the voice assistance:

Connected Vehicle Solution – This demo shows how a connected vehicle can combine local and cloud intelligence, using edge computing and machine learning at the edge. It handles intermittent connections and uses AWS DeepLens to train a model that responds to distracted drivers. Here’s the overall architecture, as described in our Connected Vehicle Solution:

Digital Content Delivery – This demo will show how a customer uses a web-based 3D configurator to build and personalize their vehicle. It will also show high resolution (4K) 3D image and an optional immersive AR/VR experience, both designed for use within a dealership.

Autonomous Driving – This demo will showcase the AWS services that can be used to build autonomous vehicles. There’s a 1/16th scale model vehicle powered and driven by Greengrass and an overview of a new AWS Autonomous Toolkit. As part of the demo, attendees drive the car, training a model via Amazon SageMaker for subsequent on-board inferencing, powered by Greengrass ML Inferencing.

To speak to one of my colleagues or to set up a time to see the demos, check out the Visit AWS at CES 2018 page.

Some Resources
If you are interested in this topic and want to learn more, the AWS for Automotive page is a great starting point, with discussions on connected vehicles & mobility, autonomous vehicle development, and digital customer engagement.

When you are ready to start building a connected vehicle, the AWS Connected Vehicle Solution contains a reference architecture that combines local computing, sophisticated event rules, and cloud-based data processing and storage. You can use this solution to accelerate your own connected vehicle projects.

Jeff;

AWS Online Tech Talks – January 2018

Post Syndicated from Ana Visneski original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-online-tech-talks-january-2018/

Happy New Year! Kick of 2018 right by expanding your AWS knowledge with a great batch of new Tech Talks. We’re covering some of the biggest launches from re:Invent including Amazon Neptune, Amazon Rekognition Video, AWS Fargate, AWS Cloud9, Amazon Kinesis Video Streams, AWS PrivateLink, AWS Single-Sign On and more!

January 2018– Schedule

Noted below are the upcoming scheduled live, online technical sessions being held during the month of January. Make sure to register ahead of time so you won’t miss out on these free talks conducted by AWS subject matter experts.

Webinars featured this month are:

Monday January 22

Analytics & Big Data
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM PT Analyze your Data Lake, Fast @ Any Scale  Lvl 300

Database
01:00 PM – 01:45 PM PT Deep Dive on Amazon Neptune Lvl 200

Tuesday, January 23

Artificial Intelligence
9:00 AM – 09:45 AM PT  How to get the most out of Amazon Rekognition Video, a deep learning based video analysis service Lvl 300

Containers

11:00 AM – 11:45 AM Introducing AWS Fargate Lvl 200

Serverless
01:00 PM – 02:00 PM PT Overview of Serverless Application Deployment Patterns Lvl 400

Wednesday, January 24

DevOps
09:00 AM – 09:45 AM PT Introducing AWS Cloud9  Lvl 200

Analytics & Big Data
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM PT Deep Dive: Amazon Kinesis Video Streams
Lvl 300
Database
01:00 PM – 01:45 PM PT Introducing Amazon Aurora with PostgreSQL Compatibility Lvl 200

Thursday, January 25

Artificial Intelligence
09:00 AM – 09:45 AM PT Introducing Amazon SageMaker Lvl 200

Mobile
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM PT Ionic and React Hybrid Web/Native Mobile Applications with Mobile Hub Lvl 200

IoT
01:00 PM – 01:45 PM PT Connected Product Development: Secure Cloud & Local Connectivity for Microcontroller-based Devices Lvl 200

Monday, January 29

Enterprise
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM PT Enterprise Solutions Best Practices 100 Achieving Business Value with AWS Lvl 100

Compute
01:00 PM – 01:45 PM PT Introduction to Amazon Lightsail Lvl 200

Tuesday, January 30

Security, Identity & Compliance
09:00 AM – 09:45 AM PT Introducing Managed Rules for AWS WAF Lvl 200

Storage
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM PT  Improving Backup & DR – AWS Storage Gateway Lvl 300

Compute
01:00 PM – 01:45 PM PT  Introducing the New Simplified Access Model for EC2 Spot Instances Lvl 200

Wednesday, January 31

Networking
09:00 AM – 09:45 AM PT  Deep Dive on AWS PrivateLink Lvl 300

Enterprise
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM PT Preparing Your Team for a Cloud Transformation Lvl 200

Compute
01:00 PM – 01:45 PM PT  The Nitro Project: Next-Generation EC2 Infrastructure Lvl 300

Thursday, February 1

Security, Identity & Compliance
09:00 AM – 09:45 AM PT  Deep Dive on AWS Single Sign-On Lvl 300

Storage
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM PT How to Build a Data Lake in Amazon S3 & Amazon Glacier Lvl 300

Instrumenting Web Apps Using AWS X-Ray

Post Syndicated from Bharath Kumar original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/devops/instrumenting-web-apps-using-aws-x-ray/

This post was written by James Bowman, Software Development Engineer, AWS X-Ray

AWS X-Ray helps developers analyze and debug distributed applications and underlying services in production. You can identify and analyze root-causes of performance issues and errors, understand customer impact, and extract statistical aggregations (such as histograms) for optimization.

In this blog post, I will provide a step-by-step walkthrough for enabling X-Ray tracing in the Go programming language. You can use these steps to add X-Ray tracing to any distributed application.

Revel: A web framework for the Go language

This section will assist you with designing a guestbook application. Skip to “Instrumenting with AWS X-Ray” section below if you already have a Go language application.

Revel is a web framework for the Go language. It facilitates the rapid development of web applications by providing a predefined framework for controllers, views, routes, filters, and more.

To get started with Revel, run revel new github.com/jamesdbowman/guestbook. A project base is then copied to $GOPATH/src/github.com/jamesdbowman/guestbook.

$ tree -L 2
.
├── README.md
├── app
│ ├── controllers
│ ├── init.go
│ ├── routes
│ ├── tmp
│ └── views
├── conf
│ ├── app.conf
│ └── routes
├── messages
│ └── sample.en
├── public
│ ├── css
│ ├── fonts
│ ├── img
│ └── js
└── tests
└── apptest.go

Writing a guestbook application

A basic guestbook application can consist of just two routes: one to sign the guestbook and another to list all entries.
Let’s set up these routes by adding a Book controller, which can be routed to by modifying ./conf/routes.

./app/controllers/book.go:
package controllers

import (
    "math/rand"
    "time"

    "github.com/aws/aws-sdk-go/aws"
    "github.com/aws/aws-sdk-go/aws/endpoints"
    "github.com/aws/aws-sdk-go/aws/session"
    "github.com/aws/aws-sdk-go/service/dynamodb"
    "github.com/aws/aws-sdk-go/service/dynamodb/dynamodbattribute"
    "github.com/revel/revel"
)

const TABLE_NAME = "guestbook"
const SUCCESS = "Success.\n"
const DAY = 86400

var letters = []rune("ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ")

func init() {
    rand.Seed(time.Now().UnixNano())
}

// randString returns a random string of len n, used for DynamoDB Hash key.
func randString(n int) string {
    b := make([]rune, n)
    for i := range b {
        b[i] = letters[rand.Intn(len(letters))]
    }
    return string(b)
}

// Book controls interactions with the guestbook.
type Book struct {
    *revel.Controller
    ddbClient *dynamodb.DynamoDB
}

// Signature represents a user's signature.
type Signature struct {
    Message string
    Epoch   int64
    ID      string
}

// ddb returns the controller's DynamoDB client, instatiating a new client if necessary.
func (c Book) ddb() *dynamodb.DynamoDB {
    if c.ddbClient == nil {
        sess := session.Must(session.NewSession(&aws.Config{
            Region: aws.String(endpoints.UsWest2RegionID),
        }))
        c.ddbClient = dynamodb.New(sess)
    }
    return c.ddbClient
}

// Sign allows users to sign the book.
// The message is to be passed as application/json typed content, listed under the "message" top level key.
func (c Book) Sign() revel.Result {
    var s Signature

    err := c.Params.BindJSON(&s)
    if err != nil {
        return c.RenderError(err)
    }
    now := time.Now()
    s.Epoch = now.Unix()
    s.ID = randString(20)

    item, err := dynamodbattribute.MarshalMap(s)
    if err != nil {
        return c.RenderError(err)
    }

    putItemInput := &dynamodb.PutItemInput{
        TableName: aws.String(TABLE_NAME),
        Item:      item,
    }
    _, err = c.ddb().PutItem(putItemInput)
    if err != nil {
        return c.RenderError(err)
    }

    return c.RenderText(SUCCESS)
}

// List allows users to list all signatures in the book.
func (c Book) List() revel.Result {
    scanInput := &dynamodb.ScanInput{
        TableName: aws.String(TABLE_NAME),
        Limit:     aws.Int64(100),
    }
    res, err := c.ddb().Scan(scanInput)
    if err != nil {
        return c.RenderError(err)
    }

    messages := make([]string, 0)
    for _, v := range res.Items {
        messages = append(messages, *(v["Message"].S))
    }
    return c.RenderJSON(messages)
}

./conf/routes:
POST /sign Book.Sign
GET /list Book.List

Creating the resources and testing

For the purposes of this blog post, the application will be run and tested locally. We will store and retrieve messages from an Amazon DynamoDB table. Use the following AWS CLI command to create the guestbook table:

aws dynamodb create-table --region us-west-2 --table-name "guestbook" --attribute-definitions AttributeName=ID,AttributeType=S AttributeName=Epoch,AttributeType=N --key-schema AttributeName=ID,KeyType=HASH AttributeName=Epoch,KeyType=RANGE --provisioned-throughput ReadCapacityUnits=5,WriteCapacityUnits=5

Now, let’s test our sign and list routes. If everything is working correctly, the following result appears:

$ curl -d '{"message":"Hello from cURL!"}' -H "Content-Type: application/json" http://localhost:9000/book/sign
Success.
$ curl http://localhost:9000/book/list
[
  "Hello from cURL!"
]%

Integrating with AWS X-Ray

Download and run the AWS X-Ray daemon

The AWS SDKs emit trace segments over UDP on port 2000. (This port can be configured.) In order for the trace segments to make it to the X-Ray service, the daemon must listen on this port and batch the segments in calls to the PutTraceSegments API.
For information about downloading and running the X-Ray daemon, see the AWS X-Ray Developer Guide.

Installing the AWS X-Ray SDK for Go

To download the SDK from GitHub, run go get -u github.com/aws/aws-xray-sdk-go/... The SDK will appear in the $GOPATH.

Enabling the incoming request filter

The first step to instrumenting an application with AWS X-Ray is to enable the generation of trace segments on incoming requests. The SDK conveniently provides an implementation of http.Handler which does exactly that. To ensure incoming web requests travel through this handler, we can modify app/init.go, adding a custom function to be run on application start.

import (
    "github.com/aws/aws-xray-sdk-go/xray"
    "github.com/revel/revel"
)

...

func init() {
  ...
    revel.OnAppStart(installXRayHandler)
}

func installXRayHandler() {
    revel.Server.Handler = xray.Handler(xray.NewFixedSegmentNamer("GuestbookApp"), revel.Server.Handler)
}

The application will now emit a segment for each incoming web request. The service graph appears:

You can customize the name of the segment to make it more descriptive by providing an alternate implementation of SegmentNamer to xray.Handler. For example, you can use xray.NewDynamicSegmentNamer(fallback, pattern) in place of the fixed namer. This namer will use the host name from the incoming web request (if it matches pattern) as the segment name. This is often useful when you are trying to separate different instances of the same application.

In addition, HTTP-centric information such as method and URL is collected in the segment’s http subsection:

"http": {
    "request": {
        "url": "/book/list",
        "method": "GET",
        "user_agent": "curl/7.54.0",
        "client_ip": "::1"
    },
    "response": {
        "status": 200
    }
},

Instrumenting outbound calls

To provide detailed performance metrics for distributed applications, the AWS X-Ray SDK needs to measure the time it takes to make outbound requests. Trace context is passed to downstream services using the X-Amzn-Trace-Id header. To draw a detailed and accurate representation of a distributed application, outbound call instrumentation is required.

AWS SDK calls

The AWS X-Ray SDK for Go provides a one-line AWS client wrapper that enables the collection of detailed per-call metrics for any AWS client. We can modify the DynamoDB client instantiation to include this line:

// ddb returns the controller's DynamoDB client, instatiating a new client if necessary.
func (c Book) ddb() *dynamodb.DynamoDB {
    if c.ddbClient == nil {
        sess := session.Must(session.NewSession(&aws.Config{
            Region: aws.String(endpoints.UsWest2RegionID),
        }))
        c.ddbClient = dynamodb.New(sess)
        xray.AWS(c.ddbClient.Client) // add subsegment-generating X-Ray handlers to this client
    }
    return c.ddbClient
}

We also need to ensure that the segment generated by our xray.Handler is passed to these AWS calls so that the X-Ray SDK knows to which segment these generated subsegments belong. In Go, the context.Context object is passed throughout the call path to achieve this goal. (In most other languages, some variant of ThreadLocal is used.) AWS clients provide a *WithContext method variant for each AWS operation, which we need to switch to:

_, err = c.ddb().PutItemWithContext(c.Request.Context(), putItemInput)
    res, err := c.ddb().ScanWithContext(c.Request.Context(), scanInput)

We now see much more detail in the Timeline view of the trace for the sign and list operations:

We can use this detail to help diagnose throttling on our DynamoDB table. In the following screenshot, the purple in the DynamoDB service graph node indicates that our table is underprovisioned. The red in the GuestbookApp node indicates that the application is throwing faults due to this throttling.

HTTP calls

Although the guestbook application does not make any non-AWS outbound HTTP calls in its current state, there is a similar one-liner to wrap HTTP clients that make outbound requests. xray.Client(c *http.Client) wraps an existing http.Client (or nil if you want to use a default HTTP client). For example:

resp, err := ctxhttp.Get(ctx, xray.Client(nil), "https://aws.amazon.com/")

Instrumenting local operations

X-Ray can also assist in measuring the performance of local compute operations. To see this in action, let’s create a custom subsegment inside the randString method:


// randString returns a random string of len n, used for DynamoDB Hash key.
func randString(ctx context.Context, n int) string {
    xray.Capture(ctx, "randString", func(innerCtx context.Context) {
        b := make([]rune, n)
        for i := range b {
            b[i] = letters[rand.Intn(len(letters))]
        }
        s := string(b)
    })
    return s
}

// we'll also need to change the callsite

s.ID = randString(c.Request.Context(), 20)

Summary

By now, you are an expert on how to instrument X-Ray for your Go applications. Instrumenting X-Ray with your applications is an easy way to analyze and debug performance issues and understand customer impact. Please feel free to give any feedback or comments below.

For more information about advanced configuration of the AWS X-Ray SDK for Go, see the AWS X-Ray SDK for Go in the AWS X-Ray Developer Guide and the aws/aws-xray-sdk-go GitHub repository.

For more information about some of the advanced X-Ray features such as histograms, annotations, and filter expressions, see the Analyzing Performance for Amazon Rekognition Apps Written on AWS Lambda Using AWS X-Ray blog post.

Serverless @ re:Invent 2017

Post Syndicated from Chris Munns original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/compute/serverless-reinvent-2017/

At re:Invent 2014, we announced AWS Lambda, what is now the center of the serverless platform at AWS, and helped ignite the trend of companies building serverless applications.

This year, at re:Invent 2017, the topic of serverless was everywhere. We were incredibly excited to see the energy from everyone attending 7 workshops, 15 chalk talks, 20 skills sessions and 27 breakout sessions. Many of these sessions were repeated due to high demand, so we are happy to summarize and provide links to the recordings and slides of these sessions.

Over the course of the week leading up to and then the week of re:Invent, we also had over 15 new features and capabilities across a number of serverless services, including AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, AWS [email protected]Edge, AWS SAM, and the newly announced AWS Serverless Application Repository!

AWS Lambda

Amazon API Gateway

  • Amazon API Gateway Supports Endpoint Integrations with Private VPCs – You can now provide access to HTTP(S) resources within your VPC without exposing them directly to the public internet. This includes resources available over a VPN or Direct Connect connection!
  • Amazon API Gateway Supports Canary Release Deployments – You can now use canary release deployments to gradually roll out new APIs. This helps you more safely roll out API changes and limit the blast radius of new deployments.
  • Amazon API Gateway Supports Access Logging – The access logging feature lets you generate access logs in different formats such as CLF (Common Log Format), JSON, XML, and CSV. The access logs can be fed into your existing analytics or log processing tools so you can perform more in-depth analysis or take action in response to the log data.
  • Amazon API Gateway Customize Integration Timeouts – You can now set a custom timeout for your API calls as low as 50ms and as high as 29 seconds (the default is 30 seconds).
  • Amazon API Gateway Supports Generating SDK in Ruby – This is in addition to support for SDKs in Java, JavaScript, Android and iOS (Swift and Objective-C). The SDKs that Amazon API Gateway generates save you development time and come with a number of prebuilt capabilities, such as working with API keys, exponential back, and exception handling.

AWS Serverless Application Repository

Serverless Application Repository is a new service (currently in preview) that aids in the publication, discovery, and deployment of serverless applications. With it you’ll be able to find shared serverless applications that you can launch in your account, while also sharing ones that you’ve created for others to do the same.

AWS [email protected]

[email protected] now supports content-based dynamic origin selection, network calls from viewer events, and advanced response generation. This combination of capabilities greatly increases the use cases for [email protected], such as allowing you to send requests to different origins based on request information, showing selective content based on authentication, and dynamically watermarking images for each viewer.

AWS SAM

Twitch Launchpad live announcements

Other service announcements

Here are some of the other highlights that you might have missed. We think these could help you make great applications:

AWS re:Invent 2017 sessions

Coming up with the right mix of talks for an event like this can be quite a challenge. The Product, Marketing, and Developer Advocacy teams for Serverless at AWS spent weeks reading through dozens of talk ideas to boil it down to the final list.

From feedback at other AWS events and webinars, we knew that customers were looking for talks that focused on concrete examples of solving problems with serverless, how to perform common tasks such as deployment, CI/CD, monitoring, and troubleshooting, and to see customer and partner examples solving real world problems. To that extent we tried to settle on a good mix based on attendee experience and provide a track full of rich content.

Below are the recordings and slides of breakout sessions from re:Invent 2017. We’ve organized them for those getting started, those who are already beginning to build serverless applications, and the experts out there already running them at scale. Some of the videos and slides haven’t been posted yet, and so we will update this list as they become available.

Find the entire Serverless Track playlist on YouTube.

Talks for people new to Serverless

Advanced topics

Expert mode

Talks for specific use cases

Talks from AWS customers & partners

Looking to get hands-on with Serverless?

At re:Invent, we delivered instructor-led skills sessions to help attendees new to serverless applications get started quickly. The content from these sessions is already online and you can do the hands-on labs yourself!
Build a Serverless web application

Still looking for more?

We also recently completely overhauled the main Serverless landing page for AWS. This includes a new Resources page containing case studies, webinars, whitepapers, customer stories, reference architectures, and even more Getting Started tutorials. Check it out!

Things Go Better With Step Functions

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/things-go-better-with-step-functions/

I often give presentations on Amazon’s culture of innovation, and start out with a slide that features a revealing quote from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos:

I love to sit down with our customers and to learn how we have empowered their creativity and to pursue their dreams. Earlier this year I chatted with Patrick from The Coca-Cola Company in order to learn how they used AWS Step Functions and other AWS services to support the Coke.com Vending Pass program. This program includes drink rewards earned by purchasing products at vending machines equipped to support mobile payments using the Coca-Cola Vending Pass. Participants swipe their NFC-enabled phones to complete an Apple Pay or Android Pay purchase, identifying themselves to the vending machine and earning credit towards future free vending purchases in the process

After the swipe, a combination of SNS topics and AWS Lambda functions initiated a pair of calls to some existing backend code to count the vending points and update the participant’s record. Unfortunately, the backend code was slow to react and had some timing dependencies, leading to missing updates that had the potential to confuse Vending Pass participants. The initial solution to this issue was very simple: modify the Lambda code to include a 90 second delay between the two calls. This solved the problem, but ate up process time for no good reason (billing for the use of Lambda functions is based on the duration of the request, in 100 ms intervals).

In order to make their solution more cost-effective, the team turned to AWS Step Functions, building a very simple state machine. As I wrote in an earlier blog post, Step Functions coordinate the components of distributed applications and microservices at scale, using visual workflows that are easy to build.

Coke built a very simple state machine to simplify their business logic and reduce their costs. Yours can be equally simple, or they can make use of other Step Function features such as sequential and parallel execution and the ability to make decisions and choose alternate states. The Coke state machine looks like this:

The FirstState and the SecondState states (Task states) call the appropriate Lambda functions while Step Functions implements the 90 second delay (a Wait state). This modification simplified their logic and reduced their costs. Here’s how it all fits together:

 

What’s Next
This initial success led them to take a closer look at serverless computing and to consider using it for other projects. Patrick told me that they have already seen a boost in productivity and developer happiness. Developers no longer need to wait for servers to be provisioned, and can now (as Jeff says) unleash their creativity and pursue their dreams. They expect to use Step Functions to improve the scalability, functionality, and reliability of their applications, going far beyond the initial use for the Coca-Cola Vending Pass. For example, Coke has built a serverless solution for publishing nutrition information to their food service partners using Lambda, Step Functions, and API Gateway.

Patrick and his team are now experimenting with machine learning and artificial intelligence. They built a prototype application to analyze a stream of photos from Instagram and extract trends in tastes and flavors. The application (built as a quick, one-day prototype) made use of Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon Rekognition and was, in Patrick’s words, a “big win and an enabler.”

In order to build serverless applications even more quickly, the development team has created an internal CI/CD reference architecture that builds on the Serverless Application Framework. The architecture includes a guided tour of Serverless and some boilerplate code to access internal services and assets. Patrick told me that this model allows them to easily scale promising projects from “a guy with a computer” to an entire development team.

Patrick will be on stage at AWS re:Invent next to my colleague Tim Bray. To meet them in person, be sure to attend SRV306 – State Machines in the Wild! How Customers Use AWS Step Functions.

Jeff;