# Training

To actually train a model we need three things:

A

*objective function*, that evaluates how well a model is doing given some input data.A collection of data points that will be provided to the objective function.

An optimiser that will update the model parameters appropriately.

With these we can call `Flux.train!`

:

`Flux.train!(objective, data, opt)`

There are plenty of examples in the model zoo.

## Loss Functions

The objective function must return a number representing how far the model is from its target – the *loss* of the model. The `loss`

function that we defined in basics will work as an objective. We can also define an objective in terms of some model:

```
m = Chain(
Dense(784, 32, σ),
Dense(32, 10), softmax)
loss(x, y) = Flux.mse(m(x), y)
# later
Flux.train!(loss, data, opt)
```

The objective will almost always be defined in terms of some *cost function* that measures the distance of the prediction `m(x)`

from the target `y`

. Flux has several of these built in, like `mse`

for mean squared error or `crossentropy`

for cross entropy loss, but you can calculate it however you want.

## Datasets

The `data`

argument provides a collection of data to train with (usually a set of inputs `x`

and target outputs `y`

). For example, here's a dummy data set with only one data point:

```
x = rand(784)
y = rand(10)
data = [(x, y)]
```

`Flux.train!`

will call `loss(x, y)`

, calculate gradients, update the weights and then move on to the next data point if there is one. We can train the model on the same data three times:

```
data = [(x, y), (x, y), (x, y)]
# Or equivalently
data = Iterators.repeated((x, y), 3)
```

It's common to load the `x`

s and `y`

s separately. In this case you can use `zip`

:

```
xs = [rand(784), rand(784), rand(784)]
ys = [rand( 10), rand( 10), rand( 10)]
data = zip(xs, ys)
```

Note that, by default, `train!`

only loops over the data once (a single "epoch"). A convenient way to run multiple epochs from the REPL is provided by `@epochs`

.

```
julia> using Flux: @epochs
julia> @epochs 2 println("hello")
INFO: Epoch 1
hello
INFO: Epoch 2
hello
julia> @epochs 2 Flux.train!(...)
# Train for two epochs
```

## Callbacks

`train!`

takes an additional argument, `cb`

, that's used for callbacks so that you can observe the training process. For example:

`train!(objective, data, opt, cb = () -> println("training"))`

Callbacks are called for every batch of training data. You can slow this down using `Flux.throttle(f, timeout)`

which prevents `f`

from being called more than once every `timeout`

seconds.

A more typical callback might look like this:

```
test_x, test_y = # ... create single batch of test data ...
evalcb() = @show(loss(test_x, test_y))
Flux.train!(objective, data, opt,
cb = throttle(evalcb, 5))
```