This talk discusses integrating common data science tools like Python pandas, scikit-learn, and R with MLlib, Spark’s distributed Machine Learning (ML) library. Integration is simple; migration to distributed ML can be done lazily; and scaling to big data can significantly improve accuracy. We demonstrate integration with a simple data science workflow. Data scientists often encounter scaling bottlenecks with single-machine ML tools. Yet the overhead in migrating to a distributed workflow can seem daunting. In this talk, we demonstrate such a migration, taking advantage of Spark and MLlib’s integration with common ML libraries. We begin with a small dataset which runs on a single machine. Increasing the size, we hit bottlenecks in various parts of the workflow: hyperparameter tuning, then ETL, and eventually the core learning algorithm. As we hit each bottleneck, we parallelize that part of the workflow using Spark and MLlib. As we increase the dataset and model size, we can see significant gains in accuracy. We end with results demonstrating the impressive scalability of MLlib algorithms. With accuracy comparable to traditional ML libraries, combined with state-of-the-art distributed scalability, MLlib is a valuable new tool for the modern data scientist.
Joseph Bradley is a Spark Committer working on MLlib at Databricks. Previously, he was a postdoc at UC Berkeley after receiving his Ph.D. in Machine Learning from Carnegie Mellon U. in 2013. His research included probabilistic graphical models, parallel sparse regression, and aggregation mechanisms for peer grading in MOOCs.