Training an Image Classification Model using PyTorch Lightning

Learn how to train image classification model using PyTorch Lightning



October 14, 2023

Training an Image Classification Model Using PyTorch Lightning

Image classification is a core task in the field of computer vision, and PyTorch Lightning makes it easier than ever to build, train, and evaluate image classification models. PyTorch Lightning is a high-level wrapper around PyTorch that simplifies the training process, allowing you to focus on your model and experiment, rather than boilerplate code. In this blog, we will walk you through the process of training an image classification model using PyTorch Lightning.


Before we start, make sure you have the following prerequisites:

  • Python: Ensure you have Python installed on your system.
  • PyTorch: Install PyTorch as specified on the official PyTorch website.
  • PyTorch Lightning: Install PyTorch Lightning using pip:
pip install pytorch-lightning
  • GPU (optional): While not mandatory, using a GPU can significantly speed up training, especially for larger models and datasets.

Dataset Selection

Selecting the right dataset is a crucial first step in image classification. For this blog, we’ll use the CIFAR-10 dataset, which is available through the torchvision library. It contains 60,000 32x32 color images in 10 different classes.

import torch
import torchvision
from torchvision import transforms

# Define data transformations
transform = transforms.Compose([transforms.ToTensor(), transforms.Normalize((0.5, 0.5, 0.5), (0.5, 0.5, 0.5))])

# Load CIFAR-10 dataset
train_dataset = torchvision.datasets.CIFAR10(root='./data', train=True, download=True, transform=transform)
val_dataset = torchvision.datasets.CIFAR10(root='./data', train=False, download=True, transform=transform)

Model Definition

With PyTorch Lightning, defining your model is as simple as creating a PyTorch module and subclassing pl.LightningModule. Here’s an example of a basic Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) for image classification:

import pytorch_lightning as pl
import torch.nn as nn
import torch.nn.functional as F

class Net(pl.LightningModule):
    def __init__(self):
        super(Net, self).__init__()
        self.conv1 = nn.Conv2d(3, 6, 5)
        self.pool = nn.MaxPool2d(2, 2)
        self.conv2 = nn.Conv2d(6, 16, 5)
        self.fc1 = nn.Linear(16 * 5 * 5, 120)
        self.fc2 = nn.Linear(120, 84)
        self.fc3 = nn.Linear(84, 10)

    def forward(self, x):
        x = self.pool(F.relu(self.conv1(x)))
        x = self.pool(F.relu(self.conv2(x)))
        x = x.view(-1, 16 * 5 * 5)
        x = F.relu(self.fc1(x))
        x = F.relu(self.fc2(x))
        x = self.fc3(x)
        return x

    def training_step(self, batch, batch_idx):
        x, y = batch
        logits = self(x)
        loss = F.cross_entropy(logits, y)
        self.log("train_loss", loss)
        return loss

    def configure_optimizers(self):
        return torch.optim.Adam(self.parameters(), lr=0.001)

net = Net()

Data Loaders

PyTorch Lightning simplifies data loading using DataModules. You can create a custom DataModule to encapsulate data loading and preprocessing:

class CIFAR10DataModule(pl.LightningDataModule):
    def __init__(self, batch_size: int = 32):
        self.batch_size = batch_size

    def prepare_data(self):
        # Download the dataset
        torchvision.datasets.CIFAR10(root='./data', train=True, download=True)
        torchvision.datasets.CIFAR10(root='./data', train=False, download=True)

    def setup(self, stage=None):
        if stage == 'fit' or stage is None:
            self.train_dataset = train_dataset
            self.val_dataset = val_dataset

    def train_dataloader(self):
        return, batch_size=self.batch_size, shuffle=True)

    def val_dataloader(self):
        return, batch_size=self.batch_size)

dm = CIFAR10DataModule()


Now, training your image classification model is as simple as initializing a Trainer and calling the fit method:

trainer = pl.Trainer(max_epochs=5, gpus=1)  # Adjust max_epochs and gpus based on your needs, dm)


Training an image classification model using PyTorch Lightning streamlines the entire process, from data loading to training and evaluation. With its clean, modular structure and high-level abstractions, PyTorch Lightning allows you to focus on building and experimenting with your models. This blog provided a comprehensive guide to help you get started on your image classification journey. Happy experimenting!