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The Meeshkan Client for interactive machine learning

Project description

Meeshkan client

This repository contains Meeshkan client-side code.

Table of contents

  1. Overview
  2. Quick start
  3. Command-line interface
  4. Usage as Python library
  5. Working with Amazon SageMaker
  6. Known issues
  7. Development


Client code consists of two parts: the Meeshkan agent controlled with command-line interface and the Python library meeshkan.

Using the client requires signing up at If you want to control your jobs via Slack, you also need to set up the Slack integration as explained in the documentation.

How it works

The Meeshkan agent

The agent is a daemonized process running in the background. Agent is responsible for scheduling jobs (Python scripts) and interacting with them. Agent is responsible for, e.g.,

  1. sending job notifications so that you know how your jobs are doing and
  2. listening to instructions from the server. If you remotely execute the command to, for example, stop a job, the agent gets the instruction to stop the job from the server and stops the job.

The agent is managed using the command-line interface (CLI).

The Meeshkan Python library

The Python library imported with import meeshkan is used in scripts to control the notifications you get. For example, by including a command such as

import meeshkan
meeshkan.report_scalar("Train loss", loss)

in your Python script you specify that notifications you get should contain the value for loss. Similarly, meeshkan.add_condition can be used to send notifications for arbitrary events. For detailed documentation of the library usage, see below.

Note that using meeshkan in your Python scripts is optional (though recommended). If you do not specify reported scalars, you will only get notifications for when jobs start or finish.

Quick start

We recommend running all command-line commands below in a Python virtual environment.


Sign up at and you will get your client secret via email.


Install meeshkan with pip:

$ pip install meeshkan

If install fails, your Python version may be too old. Please try again with Python >= 3.6.2.


Setup your credentials:

$ meeshkan setup

You are prompted for your client secret that you should have received when signing up, so fill that in. The command creates the folder.meeshkan in your home directory. The folder contains your credentials, agent logs and outputs from your submitted jobs.

Download example script called from meeshkan-client repository to your current directory:

$ wget

Submitting jobs

Start the agent:

$ meeshkan start

If starting the agent fails, check that your credentials are properly setup. Also check known issues.

Submit the example job with 10 second reporting interval:

$ meeshkan submit --name report-example --report-interval 10

If you setup Slack integration in, you should receive a notification for job being started. You should get notifications every ten seconds. The script runs for 20 seconds, so you should get one notification containing scalar values.

Other helpful commands

List running jobs:

$ meeshkan list

Retrieve logs for the job named report-example:

$ meeshkan logs report-example

Stop the agent:

$ meeshkan stop

PyTorch example

You can use Meeshkan with any Python machine learning framework. As an example, let us use PyTorch to train a convolution neural network on MNIST.

First install torch and torchvision:

$ pip install torch torchvision

Then download our PyTorch example:

$ wget

Ensure that the agent is running:

$ meeshkan start

Submit the PyTorch example with a one-minute report interval:

$ meeshkan submit --name pytorch-example --report-interval 60

Command-line interface

To list available commands, execute meeshkan or meeshkan help:

Usage: meeshkan [OPTIONS] COMMAND [ARGS]...

  -h, --help  Show this message and exit.
  --version   Show the version and exit.

  clean          Alias for `meeshkan clear`
  clear          Clears Meeshkan log and job directories in ~/.meeshkan.
  help           Show this message and exit.
  list           Lists the job queue and status for each job.
  logs           Retrieves the logs for a given job.
  notifications  Retrieves notification history for a given job.
  report         Returns latest scalar from given job identifier
  setup          Configures the Meeshkan client.
  sorry          Send error logs to Meeshkan HQ.
  start          Starts Meeshkan service daemon.
  status         Checks and returns the service daemon status.
  stop           Stops the service daemon.
  submit         Submits a new job to the service daemon.

In all instances used, a JOB_IDENTIFIER can be either the job's UUID, the job number, or a pattern to match against the job's name. In the latter case, the first match is returned.

Start the agent


meeshkan start

starts the agent as daemonized service. If you get Unauthorized error, please check your credentials. Also check known issues. If the problem persists, please contact Meeshkan support.

Submit a script for execution

Submit a Python script as job:

meeshkan submit [--name job_name] [--report-interval 60] examples/

The agent runs submitted jobs sequentially in first-in-first-out order. By default, the submit command will run your code without time-based notifications (see below). When presented with the -r/--report-interval flag, the service will notify you with recent updates every time the report interval has elapsed. The report interval is measured in seconds. The default argument (if none are provided) is 3600 seconds (i.e. hourly notifications).

List submitted jobs

meeshkan list

Retrieve stdout and stderr for a job

meeshkan logs JOB_IDENTIFIER

Here JOB_IDENTIFIER can be either the job's UUID, the job number, or a pattern to match against the job's name.

You will get a complete output of stderr and stdout for the given job, and it's output path for any additional files.

Review job notification history

meeshkan notifications JOB_IDENTIFIER

Review latest scalar reports

meeshkan report JOB_IDENTIFER

Canceling a job

meeshkan cancel JOB_IDENTIFIER

If the job is currently running, you will be prompted to verify you want to abruptly cancel a running job.

Stop service

meeshkan stop

Usage as Python library


The purpose of the Python API is to be as intuitive, minimal and least invasive as possible. Once the agent has been started using meeshkan start, you can communicate with it from your Python scripts through meeshkan library.

To begin, import meeshkan.

Reporting scalars

You can report scalars from within a given script using meeshkan.report_scalar(name1, value1, name2, value2, ...). The command allows reporting multiple values at once, and giving them self-documenting names (you may use anything, as long as it's a string!).

Some examples include (assume the mentioned variables exist, and are updated in some loop, e.g. a training/evaluation loop):

meeshkan.report_scalar("train loss", train_loss)  # Adds a single value for this process
# Or add multiple scalars simulatenously
meeshkan.report_scalar("train loss", train_loss, "evaluation loss", eval_loss, "evaluation accuracy", eval_acc)
# Or possibly combine them for a new metric
meeshkan.report_scalar("F1", 2*precision*recall/(precision+recall))

Adding conditions

The agent only notifies you on either a scheduled notification (using the --report-interval/-r flag, e.g. hourly notifications), or when a certain criteria has been met. You can define these criteria anywhere in your code (but outside of loops, these conditions only need to be set once!), even before your scalars have been registered. When a scalar is used before it is registered, a default value of 1 is used in its place.

Consider the following examples:

# Notify when evaluation loss and train loss are significantly different.
meeshkan.add_condition("train loss", "evaluation loss", lambda train_loss, eval_loss: abs(train_loss - eval_loss) > 0.2)
# Notify when the F1 score is suspiciously low
meeshkan.add_condition("F1", lambda f1: f1 < 0.1)

Working with Amazon SageMaker

For an example of how to use Meeshkan to monitor Amazon SageMaker jobs, see the example notebook.

Known issues

Start occasionally fails in macOS

In macOS, running meeshkan start may fail with

objc[60320]: +[NSValue initialize] may have been in progress in another thread when fork() was called. We cannot safely call it or ignore it in the fork() child process. Crashing instead. Set a breakpoint on objc_initializeAfterForkError to debug.

This happens because of threading restrictions introduced in macOS High Sierra. You can read more about it here, here, here, and here. We hope to find a permanent fix for this, but in the meanwhile you can run


before starting the client and then try again. If this does not fix the issue, please contact


We welcome contributions!

Install from the source

First clone this repository. Then install dependencies excluding test dependencies:

pip install -e .

Include test dependencies:

pip install -e .[dev]

Running tests


Running lint

pylint -f msvs meeshkan

Running static type checks

mypy --ignore-missing-imports meeshkan

Building the documentation

python doc
# OR (the long way...)
cd docs
sphinx-apidoc -f -e -o source/ ../meeshkan/
sphinx-build -M html -D version={VERSION} source build

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