What is a memory error in a Python Machine-Learning Script?


Memory problems are a regular complication when using Python machine learning programs, especially when working with sizable datasets. Making these errors might hinder the performance of your code and make it difficult to complete demanding machine-learning tasks. A memory error is an illustration of a runtime error; it occurs when a piece of software tries to allocate more memory than the system can handle. This can happen when a Python machine learning script tries to load a large dataset into memory while creating an excessive number of objects, or when using bad data structures.

According to certain error messages, a memory issue can cause the software to crash or stop and cause the system to run out of memory. Troubleshooting this may be challenging and time-consuming, especially if you're utilizing complex machine-learning algorithms. Everyone using Python for machine learning must be aware of the causes and solutions to memory problems in Python programs. In this post, we will look at memory problems in Python machine-learning systems and give some suggestions on how to fix them.

What is a Memory Error?

You can have memory issues if you deploy Python's machine-learning applications. Specifically, if you were inexperienced in machine learning, it could be challenging to address this challenge. In this article, memory faults will be defined, along with their causes and solutions.

A memory issue happens when a Python program tries to allocate more memory than the system can manage. This issue frequently arises when dealing with models or sizable datasets that need a lot of memory to operate properly. Software may experience "out of memory" or "memory issues" when it tries to allocate more memory than is available.

You have a memory issue if your computer runs out of memory while a Python script is running. This can happen if the Memory on your machine isn't large enough to accommodate all the data your script is attempting to analyze. Your script may terminate as a result and show the subsequent error message −

MemoryError: Unable to allocate [amount] bytes of memory

Depending upon how much memory your script was attempting to allocate, different [amounts]s will appear in the error message.

Why do memory errors occur in Python Machine Learning Scripts?

Python runs programs that are not translated into machine code since it is an interpreted language. Python, in contrast, runs each line of code individually when it is encountered. This method has certain benefits, including making the language more adaptable and simpler to learn. The fact that Python applications must concurrently keep code and data in memory also implies that they might require more memory than compiled programs.

Memory failures in machine learning programs can happen for a number of different causes. One of the most frequent causes is the memory-intensive loading of massive datasets. For instance, putting an image dataset into memory that is several gigabytes in size might use up a lot of RAM. A memory error may occur if your system doesn't have enough memory accessible.

Working with sophisticated models usually causes memory issues in machine learning systems. For data storage and processing, some big machine-learning models need a lot of memory. For instance, a deep neural network with millions of parameters might not fit into memory on a normal laptop or desktop computer.

Lastly, memory issues in Python machine-learning scripts can also be brought on by wasteful code. A program may produce too many objects or variables in memory, store too much data in memory, or both as a result of inefficient coding. For instance, if you don't take care while loading data into memory, you could load more data than you require, which could lead to a memory error.

How to fix a memory error?

Here are some ways to fix a memory error in your Python machine-learning script −

1. Reduce the amount of data being loaded into memory

Reducing the amount of data placed into memory is one of the best approaches to address memory issues in Python machine-learning scripts. This may be done by utilizing generators to load data in batches or by merely loading a portion of the data into memory. For instance, if your picture dataset is too vast to fit entirely in memory, you may load just a section of it and train your model using just that. As an alternative, you may train on batches of photos loaded from a generator.

2. Use efficient data structures

Python machine-learning programs can also benefit from the use of effective data structures to address memory issues. For instance, switching from Python lists or dictionaries to NumPy arrays or sparse matrices might result in a large memory consumption reduction. Lists are less memory-efficient than NumPy arrays, which are specialized for mathematical operations. Similar to how data that is primarily zero is represented, sparse matrices are the best representation for datasets that include a lot of empty values.

3. Use garbage collection

Memory that is no longer in use can be automatically reclaimed with the aid of Python's garbage collector module. When working with huge datasets or a lot of items, garbage collection may be especially useful. Python's garbage collector is turned on by default, but you may change its settings to improve memory use.

4. Use smaller batch sizes

Another approach to resolving memory problems in Python machine learning algorithms is to use smaller batch sizes. Batch sizes control the number of samples that are handled concurrently during training. Lower batch sizes can reduce the amount of memory required to train a model, but they can also make it take longer.

5. Use data compression techniques

Python machine learning applications can utilize data compression techniques like gzip or bzip2 to reduce memory use of large datasets before they are loaded into memory. Huge datasets may be handled more easily since these compression techniques can greatly reduce the amount of memory required to store the data. Although there may be a potential that memory can be saved, it's crucial to keep in mind that compression may lengthen the time it takes for data to load.

This is because before it can be used, compressed data must first be decompressed, which is a time-consuming computer procedure. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of data compression is crucial when dealing with large datasets in Python machine learning methods. While memory use can be reduced by compression, loading code could take longer. By carefully analyzing these factors, you may find the best approach for exploiting large datasets in your machine-learning applications.


Working with huge datasets in machine learning may frequently lead to memory issues when using Python. Programs may freeze or crash as a result of these issues, which may be frustrating and waste time. Any Python-using machine learning expert must have a solid understanding of memory errors' causes and solutions. We will examine memory issues in Python machine-learning programs in this post and provide useful guidance for preventing and fixing them.

Updated on: 13-Apr-2023


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