What is Synthetic Data Generation?

The term “synthetic data generation” is used to describe the practice of making up data that has the same statistical features and characteristics as actual data. To augment or replace real-world data in tasks like testing and training machine learning models, doing data analysis, and modeling situations, synthetic data may be created using computer algorithms, statistical models, or machine learning methods.

Determining the data model, deciding on suitable statistical distributions, and using algorithms to produce data points that match the original data’s statistical features constitute the process of producing synthetic data. New datasets may be generated from the resultant synthetic data generator while maintaining the original’s statistical features, such as value distribution, correlation, and outliers.

  • Large datasets for testing and training machine learning models may be created thanks to the scalability of synthetic data generation.

When real-world data is scarce, costly, or confidential, it may be helpful to generate synthetic data instead. Medical or financial data, for example, might be very time consuming and costly to obtain, but they can be simulated using synthetic data. It may also be utilized to conceal private information by simulating it for the purposes of testing and analysis.

Importance of Synthetic Data

There are a growing number of compelling arguments for the importance of synthetic data:

  • Privacy– Synthetic data may be used to test and analyze systems without compromising the privacy of personally identifiable information. It is possible to develop synthetic data with the same statistical qualities as the original data without disclosing any private details.
  • Bias– The accuracy of machine learning models may be impacted by biases included in datasets. To even out the dataset and remove any bias or outliers, synthetic data may be used to generate new data points.
  • Data scarcity– It’s not always easy or cheap to gather enough real-world information to train machine learning models. It is possible to produce synthetic data to complement the current data, expanding both the quantity and variety of training data.

Since it permits the generation of huge and varied datasets that can be used in real-world situations, synthetic data is an essential tool for data analysis, machine learning, and simulation.

Techniques for Synthetic Data Generation

Synthetic data may be generated using a variety of methods, such as:

  • Modeling– This method involves developing a statistical model of the original data and then producing new data points with the same statistical features. Parametric or non-parametric methods like Gaussian distributions, decision trees, and neural networks may be used to create the model.
  • Augmentation– Modifying preexisting data to generate additional data points is one example of data augmentation. Increasing the amount and variety of the dataset is a common goal in computer vision and natural language processing applications where this method is utilized. Images may be flipped, rotated, or cropped; text can be distorted; and these are all examples of data augmentation methods.
  • Generative adversarial networks (GANs)– The GANs, or generative adversarial networks, are a kind of deep learning model in which two neural networks are trained together. Synthetic data is produced by one network, while the other attempts to tell the difference between actual and simulated data. The use of GANs has been validated for a wide range of applications, including the production of images and texts, where high-quality synthetic data is required.
  • Variational autoencoders (VAEs)– Another sort of deep learning model that may be used to generate synthetic data is VAEs. To produce fresh data points, VAEs may learn the latent space underlying the original data and then randomly sample from this space. Visual and aural content production are two areas where VAEs have been put to use.
  • Simulation– To simulate anything is to create a computer-generated environment whose behavior and attributes are similar to those of the real-world data being simulated. Robotics and autonomous cars are two fields where collecting real-world data may be challenging or even hazardous, and hence where simulation is often employed.These synthetic data generation methods may be employed alone or in concert to create synthetic data for machine learning models.

Wrapping Up

Data analysis, machine learning, and simulation may all benefit greatly from the use of synthetic data. When actual data is scarce, expensive, or sensitive, it enables the production of massive and varied datasets that may be utilized to address real-world issues.

Synthetic data may aid with privacy, bias reduction, dataset variety, and the ability to try new things by augmenting or substituting real-world data. The value of synthetic data production is predicted to rise in tandem with the rising need for data-driven solutions.