3. Experiments

The main purpose of the BEAT platform is to allow researchers to construct Experiments. An Experiment is a specific combination of a dataset, a Toolchain, and a set of relevant, and appropriately parameterised, Algorithms. Executing an Experiment produces a set of numerical and graphical results.

Each experiment uses different resources available on the BEAT platform such as different databases and algorithms. Each experiment has its own Toolchains which cannot be changed after the experiment is created. Experiments can be shared and forked, to ensure maximum re-usability.

3.1. Displaying an existing experiment

To see the list of existing Experiments, click the User Resources tab in your home page and select Experiments from the drop-down menu. You will see a webpage similar to the following image:


You can use the various filters (Attestation, Privacy and Status) as well as the free-text Search-box to narrow down your search. For each Experiment shown in the list, additional information is also displayed. This includes:

  • a gold medal: indicating whether an attestation has already been generated for this experiment,

  • a green tick: indicating that the last execution of the Experiment was successful,

  • the database used in this Experiment, and,

  • the analyzers used in this Experiment.

Clicking on any Experiment, leads to a new page, displaying its configuration and results:


This page consists of several Tabs: Results, Execution Details, Documentation, and Referers. Of these, the first two tabs are the most useful. By default, the Results tab is open, showing the results of the Experiment.

The contents of the Results tab depends on the configuration of the Analyzer in the Toolchain. Typically, numerical values, such as various kinds of error-rates, as well as graphical elements, such as ROC curves for different data-sets, are displayed in this tab.

On the Execution Details tab , a graphical representation of the Toolchain is displayed. This tab also displays the parameters selected for each block in the Toolchain, as well as information about the execution of each block (queuing time and execution time).

Icons for several actions are provided in the top-right region of the Experiment page. The list of icons should be similar to that shown in the image below:


These icons represent the following options (from left to right):

  • green arrow: share the (currently private) experiment with other users

  • red cross: delete the experiment

  • blue tag: rename the experiment

  • gold medal: request attestation

  • circular arrow: reset the experiment (if some of the blocks in the experiment have been ran before the platform will use the cache available for the outputs of those blocks)

  • fork: fork a new, editable copy of this experiment

  • page: add experiment to report

  • blue lens: search for similar experiments

(Placing the mouse of an icon will also display a tool-tip indicating the function of the icon.) The exact list of options provided will depend on what kind of experiment you are looking at. For example, the gold medal will appear on the page only if you are permitted to request attestation for this particular experiment (i.e., if you are the owner of this experiment and it executed sucessfully).

The button Similar experiments opens a new tab where experiments using the same toolchain, analyzer or database are shown:


3.2. Creating a new experiment

On the main Experiments page, new experiments can be created by clicking on the New button. You will immediately be prompted to select a Toolchain for your new experiment. Once you have specified a toolchain, a page similar to that in the image below will be displayed:


The next step in constructing a new experiment is to defined an experiment name and, finally, configure the contents of each and every block of the selected toolchain:

  • Datasets: choose the database, from among the existing databases fulfilling the toolchain requirements, and then choose the protocol among the ones available in the database. In this “simplified” configuration mode, the platform chooses the contents of the input dataset blocks based on preset configurations for particular databases and protocols. Use this configuration mode for making sure you respect protocol usage for a given database.

    You may optionally click on Advanced to turn-on advanced dataset selection mode, in which you can hand-pick the datasets to be used in each dataset block. In this mode, you’re responsible for selecting the appropriate dataset for each relevant block of your toolchain. You can mix and match as you like. For example, train using a particular dataset, test using another one.

    You may reset back to “simplified” selection mode by clicking on Reset.

  • Blocks: assign one algorithm to each block, such as image pre-processing, classifier or similarity score function. If similar blocks exist on the toolchain, selecting an algorithm for a block will make the platform suggest the same algorithm for similar blocks. This mechanism is in place to ease algorithm selection and avoid common mistakes. You may override platform suggestions (marked in orange) at any moment by removing the automatically assigned algorithm and choosing another one from the list.

    The user should make sure that the correct algorithm is selected for each block. Configurable parameters, if provided by the selected algorithms, are dynamically added to the Global Parameters panel, to the right of the screen.

    Use that panel to setup global values which are effective for all instances of the same algorithm on the experiment. You may, optionally, override global values locally, by clicking on the algorithm’s arrow down icon and selecting which values, from the global parameters, to override for that particular block.

    Among local override options, you’ll also find a handle to change the environment, queue or the used number of slots (if the algorithm is splittable) on a per-block basis. Use these options to allow the algorithm on a specific block to run on a special queue (e.g., that makes available more memory), a special environment (e.g., with a different backend that contains a specific library version you need) or with more slots.

  • Analyzer: algorithm used to evaluate the performance and generate results. Options for this block are similar for normal blocks.


As mentioned in the “Experiments” section of “Getting Started with BEAT” in BEAT documentation, BEAT checks that connected datasets, algorithms and analyzers produce or consume data in the right format. It only presents options which are compatible with adjacent blocks.

Tip: If you reach a situation where no algorithms are available for a given block, reset the experiment and try again, making sure the algorithms you’d like to pick have compatible inputs and outputs respecting the adjacent blocks.


Queues and Environments

For a better understanding of queues and environments, please consult our dedicated Queues and Environments section.

The complete toolchain for the Experiment can be viewed on the Toolchain tab (expanded view shown below):


After an Experiment has been set up completely, you can save the the experiment in the BEAT platform via the blue Save button or execute it immediately by clicking the green Go! button.