# DataProvider Introduction¶

DataProvider is a module that loads training or testing data into cpu or gpu memory for the following triaining or testing process.

For simple use, users can use Python PyDataProvider to dynamically reads the original data in any format or in any form, and then transfer them into a data format PaddlePaddle requires. The process is extremly flexible and highly customized, with sacrificing the efficiency only a little. This is extremly useful when you have to dynamically generate certain kinds of data according to, for example, the training performance.

Besides, users also can customize a C++ DataProvider for a more complex usage, or for a higher efficiency.

The following parameters are required to define in the PaddlePaddle network configuration file (trainer_config.py): which DataProvider is chosen to used, and specific parameters for DataProvider, including training file list (train.list) and testing file list (test.list).

Train.list and test.list are simply two plain text files, which defines path of training or testing data. It is recommended that directly placing them into the training directory, and reference to them by using a relative path ( relative to the PaddePaddle program).

Testing or evaluating will not be performed during training if the test.list is not set or set to None. Otherwise, PaddlePaddle will evaluate the trained model by the specified tesing data while training, every testing period (a user defined command line parameter in PaddlePaddle) to prevent over-fitting.

Each line of train.list and test.list is an absolute or relative path (relative to the PaddePaddle program runtime) of data file. Fascinatingly more, each line can also be a HDFS file path or a SQL connection string. As long as the user assures how to access each file in DataProvider.