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Rapsai: Accelerating Machine Learning Prototyping of Multimedia Applications through Visual Programming

Ruofei Du
Na Li
Jing Jin
Michelle Carney
Scott Joseph Miles
Maria Kleiner
Xiuxiu Yuan
Anuva Kulkarni
Xingyu “Bruce” Liu
Ahmed K Sabie
Ping Yu
Ram Iyengar
Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), ACM


In recent years, there has been a proliferation of multimedia applications that leverage machine learning (ML) for interactive experiences. Prototyping ML-based applications is, however, still challenging, given complex workflows that are not ideal for design and experimentation. To better understand these challenges, we conducted a formative study with seven ML practitioners to gather insights about common ML evaluation workflows. This study helped us derive six design goals, which informed Rapsai, a visual programming platform for rapid and iterative development of end-to-end ML-based multimedia applications. Rapsai is based on a node-graph editor to facilitate interactive characterization and visualization of ML model performance. Rapsai streamlines end-to-end prototyping with interactive data augmentation and model comparison capabilities in its no-coding environment. Our evaluation of Rapsai in four real-world case studies (N=15) suggests that practitioners can accelerate their workflow, make more informed decisions, analyze strengths and weaknesses, and holistically evaluate model behavior with real-world input.