Definition, Categories, Methods, and Software for Generating Synthetic Data

The term synthetic data pertains to data that is purposefully fabricated through the use of algorithms or simulations. Such data is typically resorted to when the original source is unretrievable or confidential, either due to privacy or legal considerations. Synthetic data has diverse applications in various domains such as pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, agriculture, and e-commerce.

This post aims to explore the world of synthetic data, delving into different techniques, tools, and technologies employed in its production. The goal is to equip you with the essential expertise to create synthetic data and utilise that knowledge to tackle data-related issues.

a. This is the stage where artificial data for deep learning methods are trained, and mathematical models are authenticated.

Synthetic data provides numerous benefits, especially when working with sensitive or regulated data, as it minimizes the constraints placed on it. Moreover, synthetic data can be useful in fulfilling requirements that real data cannot meet, making it an invaluable asset. Quality control and software testing are the primary areas where synthetic datasets find their applications.

While synthetic data has several advantages, it cannot entirely replace real data, which is critical for deriving meaningful insights. Another disadvantage is that the complexity of the original data may not be accurately captured, resulting in fallacious outcomes.

If genuine data is inaccessible, why is it vital to generate synthetic data?

Businesses can reap significant benefits from synthetic data, particularly in terms of addressing privacy concerns, expediting product testing, and training machine learning models. Owing to stringent data privacy regulations, companies often face restrictions on how they can handle data. Synthetic data can offer a solution to this problem, enabling firms to analyse data while safeguarding their customers’ privacy.

For many businesses, the threat of reputational harm and financial losses that could result from the leakage of private customer data is a significant worry. This is why one of the key reasons behind companies investing in synthetic data technologies is to mitigate the risks associated with data privacy breaches. Through the use of synthetic data, firms can preserve the anonymity of their customers while still being able to collect and analyse data.

In instances where historical data is not available for new products or services, developing dependable machine learning models can be difficult. To overcome this hurdle, firms can opt for artificial data, which can be readily and inexpensively generated and employed to train precise machine learning models. This helps businesses avoid the laborious and costly process of manually annotating data.

Artificially generating information

Synthetic data creation refers to producing data instead of collecting it from a real-world source. This can be done either manually, such as by employing spreadsheet tools like Microsoft Excel, or automatically, leveraging computer simulations or algorithms. Synthetic data generation allows businesses and organizations to access data that would otherwise be hard or impossible to obtain. Furthermore, synthetic data can offer a safer and more economical means to test new applications, products, and services without relying on actual data.

Synthetic data can be created in two ways – from an existing dataset or by generating a completely new dataset. In recently generated synthetic data, all digits have been modified, with the exception of one. Synthetic data can be produced in different formats, quickly and conveniently, from any location.

Synthetic data is data that is produced through simulated procedures in a controlled environment but has the same mathematical or statistical characteristics as data collected from real-world sources. Synthetic data is especially valuable for training and verifying AI models since it provides a near-replica of data derived from actual events, individuals, and objects.

Comparison of statistics obtained from genuine and artificially generated data

Real-world measurements and observations are derived from physical occurrences. Every time an individual uses a mobile device, a computer, a laptop, a wristwatch, or conducts an online transaction, they are producing data. Furthermore, statistics can be collected through online and offline surveys and questionnaires.

Synthetic data is generated entirely through computerized systems, in contrast to real-world data. These virtual datasets exhibit qualities that make them practically similar to their authentic counterparts, in terms of their fundamental elements.

Synthetic data has been put forward as a conceivable replacement for actual data owing to its capability to be quickly produced through various means. This enables the development of machine learning models with relative ease. While its potential to overcome multiple practical obstacles is yet to be wholly authenticated, the benefits that synthetic data provides persist.

Nevertheless, synthetic data offers several advantages.

Below are the benefits of synthetic data.

  • Customizable:

    Synthetic data can be tailor-made to meet the specific needs of an organization.
  • Cost-effective:

    Compared to the cost of acquiring authentic data, the use of synthetic data is much more economical. For instance, for an automobile manufacturer, generating synthetic data may prove to be much cheaper than acquiring real-world accident data.
  • Speedy Production:

    With the help of appropriate tools and technology, datasets can be created and built much faster when synthetic data is used compared to data sourced from real-world scenarios. This enables the rapid generation of substantial amounts of synthetic data.
  • Maintains Confidentiality:

    Synthetic data, which is produced to mimic genuine data, should not contain any identifying features that could be traced back to its origin. Therefore, it can be shared and utilized without fear of legal or ethical consequences. This is particularly advantageous for healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies as it allows for greater possibilities in terms of data analysis and sharing.

Distinctive Characteristics of Synthetic Data

Data scientists are not concerned about whether the data is genuine or synthetic. What is more important is the accuracy of the data, including any hidden patterns or tendencies.

Certain distinct features of synthetic data are:

  • Improved Data Quality:

    Machine learning models can suffer from human errors, inaccuracies, and biases present in real-world data, along with the difficulty and expense of data collection. However, employing synthetic data can provide businesses with greater assurance about the quality, variety, and consistency of the data.
  • Scalability:

    With the demand for data to train machine learning models on the rise, data scientists are turning to synthetic data as a dependable solution. Such data can be customised to meet project-specific size requirements, ensuring maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Precise and Potent:

    Through the use of algorithms, it is possible to produce fictional data. However, it is crucial to ensure that the generated synthetic data is not linked to the original data, is error-free, and does not introduce any further biases.

While working with synthetic data, data scientists possess the power to have full control over its organization, categorization, and presentation. This implies that businesses can instantly access a substantial amount of dependable data with just a few clicks.

Applications of Synthetic Data

Synthetic data can be an incredibly beneficial tool across various domains, particularly in the realm of machine learning. Despite its potential, having access to a sufficient amount of high-quality data remains crucial to effectively train a machine learning model. In some instances, privacy issues can make it challenging to acquire the required data. Synthetic data can be employed in such cases to fill this gap, enabling the training of machine learning models without endangering the security of sensitive data.

The use of synthetic data may offer several advantages to various industries. Employing synthetic data alongside real data can help enhance the quality of machine learning models, leading to potentially significant advantages. This could prove beneficial across a range of sectors, such as healthcare and finance.

  • Corporate and Financial Banking and Finance
  • Healthcare and Medicine
  • Machine Tools and Automobiles
  • Robotics
  • Internet and Electronic Media Marketing
  • Intelligence and Security Agencies

Illustrations of Synthetic Data

Before selecting the most suitable method for generating synthetic data, it is crucial to identify the specific type of synthetic data needed to address a business problem. Two types of synthetic data can be generated: entirely synthetic data created in a laboratory setting and partially manufactured data.

  • Completely fabricated information

    has no roots in factual data. This implies that all the essential variables exist, but the data cannot be uniquely identified.
  • Synthetic data solely for specific variables

    The original data is retained in its entirety, except for any sensitive information. Even though the synthetic data set generated is based on the original data, it might still include real values.

Diverse kinds of fabricated data

The following are a few illustrations of synthetic data:

  • Numeric text:

    In Natural Language Processing (NLP), synthetic data can be generated in the form of automatically produced text.
  • Calculation Based on Tables:

    Synthetic tabular data is data generated specifically to mimic the properties of legitimate data sources, such as real-world databases or information tables. This type of data is intentionally designed to resemble actual data.
  • Media:

    Synthetic data for computer vision applications can also be in the form of synthetic video, image or audio.

Technologies to produce data synthetically

Several techniques can be employed to create a synthetic data set:

Based on the data, it can be stated that

This method necessitates drawing samples from an actual statistical distribution so that the produced numbers imitate the actual facts as closely as feasible. When required, this data can be used in lieu of actual data.

To create a dataset with a randomly distributed sample, it is crucial for a data scientist to possess a thorough comprehension of the underlying statistical distribution present in the actual data. This may include the normal distribution, chi-square distribution, exponential distribution, and other akin distributions. The capability of the trained model is heavily reliant on the data scientist’s efficiency with this technique.

With the assistance of a modelled agent

This method allows for the creation of random data using the same model used to create the model that illustrates the observed behaviour. This procedure, referred to as “fitting,” entails matching observed data to a predetermined distribution. Companies may use this technology for the purpose of generating synthetic data.

Although decision trees are easy to use and can be extended to an infinite depth, it can become too tailored to make predictions about the future when used by a data scientist. Nonetheless, this is not the only machine learning approach that is suitable for distribution.

Occasionally, one may notice that only a part of the actual, legitimate data is masked. Businesses may find it beneficial to use a combination of statistical distributions and agent modelling to produce synthetic data. This blended approach can aid in providing a more complete data set.

Using a Deep Learning System

Deep learning models that employ a Generative Adversarial Network or a Variational autoencoder rely on methods to create synthetic data.

  • Variational Autoencoders (VAEs) depend on encoders and decoders to produce a description of the actual data. The encoders compress and pack the real data, while the decoders evaluate this data. To guarantee the effectiveness of VAEs, it is crucial for the input and output data to remain consistent throughout the process.
  • Competing neural networks such as Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) and adversarial networks are increasingly gaining popularity in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) field. GANs are networks that create artificial data or information, while discriminator networks are adversarial networks that detect fake datasets and notify the generator. This feedback loop enables the generator to modify its inputs and parameters to generate more realistic data, thereby aiding in the more efficient detection of fraudulent assets.
  • Data Augmentation provides an alternative method for generating new information without creating artificial data. This method involves introducing new information into an existing data set, creating an anonymized data set that is distinct from synthetic data.

Tools for Producing Synthetic Data

In the realm of machine learning models, the term “synthetic data creation” has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Given the nature of artificial intelligence, it is essential to have a tool for creating synthetic data. Examples of equipment commonly used for this purpose include, but are not restricted to, the following:

  • Datomize:

    Widely regarded financial institutions depend heavily on Datomize’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) models. Datomize provides an effective solution for integrating company data services and managing complex data structures and connections between multiple databases. This approach makes it possible to accurately replicate the original data and extract valuable behavioural insights from it.

    Mostly.AI is a potent tool that aids in building Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications while upholding top-notch privacy standards. It achieves this by extracting structures and patterns found in the source data, and then using them to create new datasets.
  • Synthesised:

    Synthesised is an all-inclusive solution for Artificial Intelligence (AI) dataOps, created to provide extensive support for data augmentation, collaboration, provisioning, and secure sharing. With Synthesised, users can create several iterations of their initial data and examine them to uncover concealed information and complete missing values.
  • Hazy:

    Hazy is an AI platform developed to offer raw financial data that fintech companies can use to train AI models. This enables developers to increase the number of analytical operations they can conduct without the risk of inaccurate or falsified customer data. The development of financial services results in complex data being generated and stored in separate databases. However, strict governmental regulations prohibit the sharing of actual financial data for research purposes.
  • Sogeti:

    Sogeti is an advanced software platform that can analyse and create data. It uses Artificial Data Amplifier (ADA) technology to process structured and unstructured data. To further distinguish and enhance ADA, Sogeti has implemented deep learning techniques to replicate recognition abilities.
  • Gretel:

    Gretel is an advanced program crafted to produce artificial data without jeopardising customer information’s security. Its real-time sequence-to-sequence comparison enables the model to make exact predictions when creating new data sets. This cutting-edge technology was designed to fulfil a specific objective: generating comparable datasets without exposing confidential information.

    CVEDIA delivers advanced object recognition and Artificial Intelligence (AI) rendering through its state-of-the-art Synthetic Computer Vision (SCV) technologies. These solutions are equipped with an extensive range of Machine Language (ML) algorithms, making them highly appropriate for developing AI programmes and sensors for various devices and Internet of Things (IoT) services.
  • Rendered.AI:

    Rendered.AI is a novel configuration tool and API that finds application across a wide range of fields, including robotics, healthcare, and autonomous vehicles. It can generate simulated datasets based on established physical laws, allowing engineers to swiftly modify datasets and conduct thorough analyses without requiring any coding. Furthermore, data production can be executed entirely within the browser, providing effortless manipulation of machine learning processes even on low-powered devices.
  • Oneview:

    Oneview is an advanced data science platform created for military surveillance that integrates satellite imagery and other remote sensing technologies. This potent tool can be employed with mobile devices, satellites, drones, and cameras to aid in object recognition, even when images are low-resolution or hazy. The virtual images produced by this technology are exceedingly lifelike and annotated with comprehensive information.
  • MDClone:

    The healthcare industry greatly depends on the use of MDClone, a specialised tool created expressly for gathering comprehensive patient data, which can then be utilised to provide personalised treatments. In the past, researchers had to depend on intermediaries to access such clinical data, and the process was often slow and restricted. With MDClone’s assistance, healthcare data can now be securely shared with the broader community for research, synthesis, and analytics.

Python libraries for generating synthetic data

Python is a flexible programming language that can be leveraged to develop various libraries that can generate synthetic data tailored to precise business requirements. Depending on the particular data that needs to be produced, the fitting Python utility should be used to accomplish the intended result. This can enable businesses to personalise their datasets to more accurately suit their necessities.

Challenges and Limitations in Producing Synthetic Data

In spite of the potential benefits that businesses can obtain by leveraging synthetic data in their data science initiatives, there are also some potential downsides that need to be taken into account. Synthetic data can be challenging to authenticate, hence it can be difficult to trust the reliability of the data. Furthermore, owing to its artificial nature, it may not precisely reflect the intricacies and complexity of real-world data, resulting in erroneous models and results. Therefore, it is crucial to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of using synthetic data before determining if it is the appropriate choice for an organisation’s data science requirements.

  1. Data credibility:

    It is widely acknowledged that the efficiency of a machine learning or deep learning model is considerably affected by the amount and quality of accessible training data. Prudent thought has to be given to determine the sort and quality of input data employed and the model used to produce synthetic data. If any partialities exist in the original data, there is a high probability that they will be reproduced in the generated data. To make precise predictions, it is imperative to meticulously scrutinise the quality of the data before employing it.
  2. Replicating outliers:

    Synthetic data can imitate real-world data only up to a certain point, implying that disparities may exist between the two. It is conceivable that exceptional data points carry more weightage than usual points when contemplating the precision of the synthetic data.
  3. Complex and laborious because of requiring specialised expertise and attention:

    Synthetic data may be less intricate and less expensive to produce than authentic data, but it still calls for a notable commitment of time and assets.
  4. User acceptance:

    Individuals who are unaware of the benefits that synthetic data can offer may be hesitant to have confidence in the forecasts generated by it. To promote more extensive adoption of synthetic data, it is vital to enhance the comprehension of its significance.
  5. Assessing Product Excellence and Handling Production:

    Generating synthetic data is a procedure intended to replicate the appearance of authentic data. To guarantee the precision of such data, it is imperative to comprehensively verify it through manual inspection before employing it in machine learning or deep learning models. As datasets generated automatically with algorithms are often intricate, this cross-examination step is crucial for successful implementation and integration.

Application of Synthetic Data in Real-life Settings

Below are some pragmatic implementations of synthetic data.

  1. Healthcare:

    Synthetic data is progressively being implemented by the healthcare industry as a tool to test hypotheses and build models for issues for which authentic data is not available. By using synthetic data, specialists in medical imaging can train AI models without endangering patient confidentiality. Furthermore, they are leveraging artificial data to forecast and detect disease patterns. This is a pivotal advancement in the healthcare domain as it provides a secure avenue for generating insights while safeguarding patient privacy.
  2. Agriculture:

    Synthetic data has the potential to substantially benefit computer vision applications that are used to approximate agricultural production, diagnose crop diseases, recognise seeds, fruits, and flowers, as well as develop models of plant growth. By implementing synthetic data, these applications can be enhanced and more precisely depict the real-world circumstances.
  3. Finance and Credit:

    Data scientists can capitalise on synthetic data to formulate advanced fraud detection tools that can be employed by financial institutions, including banks, to identify and prevent online fraud with greater accuracy. Such tools can be tremendously beneficial in protecting clients and securing financial capital.
  4. eCommerce:

    The incorporation of advanced machine learning models that have been trained using synthetic data can furnish enterprises with several advantages, including better inventory and warehouse management, as well as more gratifying online shopping experiences for customers. These models empower businesses to make more accurate decisions concerning the storage and dissemination of their products, enabling them to respond promptly to modifications in consumer demand. Additionally, through the use of these models, businesses can offer customers a more personalised shopping experience, enabling them to find the products they desire more expeditiously and conveniently.
  5. Manufacturing:

    Synthetic data is aiding enterprises with proactive maintenance and quality assurance.
  6. Forecasting and minimising the impact of calamities:

    Synthetic data is being employed by government establishments for disaster prevention and risk mitigation in the event of impending natural disasters.
  7. Automobiles and Robotics:

    Enterprises leverage synthetic data for the emulation and instruction of self-driving vehicles.

Synthetic Data: The Future Ahead

This post explored the various techniques for generating synthetic data and the benefits that come with it. It is now crucial to ponder if synthetic data will replace the use of authentic data or if artificial information is the trend of tomorrow.

It is a truth that synthetic data can be expanded to any magnitude and can be more sophisticated than real data. Nonetheless, the procedure of creating reliable and trustworthy synthetic data demands an extensive understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) along with expertise in handling possibly hazardous frameworks, which is more time-consuming than simply using an AI tool.

It is crucial to guarantee the absence of trained models in the dataset, as this can cause imprecise outcomes. To ensure the data is as precise as possible, it is imperative to contemplate the existing biases and alter the dataset accordingly to reflect actuality. Moreover, the use of synthetic data may be necessary to accomplish the intended results.

It is common knowledge that synthetic data has been created to support data scientists in accomplishing tasks that could be more difficult to perform with real-world data. Thus, it is progressively clear that synthetic data is the path to the future.

The Concluding Thoughts

In numerous scenarios, enterprises and establishments may encounter a dearth of data, which can be resolved by utilising synthetic data. This article explored the possible beneficiaries of exploiting synthetic data, the ways of generating synthetic data, the potential challenges linked with it, and some practical instances of its implementation.

The utilization of authentic information in businesses is vital, and when authentic raw data is not accessible, synthetic data can serve as a suitable substitute. Nevertheless, to create trustworthy synthetic data, it is crucial for data scientists to possess a comprehensive understanding of data modelling and the related information and context. Abiding by this procedure is essential to guarantee the precision of the generated data.

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