Machine learning

MLlib is Spark’s library of machine learning functions. Designed to run in parallel on clusters, MLlib contains a variety of learning algorithms and is accessible from all of Spark’s programming languages.

warning As of Spark 2.0, the RDD-based APIs in the spark.mllib package have entered maintenance mode. The primary Machine Learning API for Spark is now the DataFrame-based API in the package.

Data types

MLlib supports local vectors and matrices stored on a single machine, as well as distributed matrices backed by one or more RDDs. Local vectors and local matrices are simple data models that serve as public interfaces.

Local vectors

A local vector has integer-typed and 0-based indices and double-typed values, stored on a single machine. MLlib supports two types of local vectors: dense and sparse. A dense vector is backed by a double array representing its entry values, while a sparse vector is backed by two parallel arrays: indices and values. For example, a vector (1.0, 0.0, 3.0) can be represented in dense format as [1.0, 0.0, 3.0] or in sparse format as (3, [0, 2], [1.0, 3.0]), where 3 is the size of the vector.

MLlib recognizes the following types as dense vectors:

  • NumPy’s array

  • Python’s list, e.g., [1, 2, 3]

and the following as sparse vectors:

  • MLlib’s SparseVector.

  • SciPy’s csc_matrix with a single column

Info recommend using NumPy arrays over lists for efficiency, and using the factory methods implemented in Vectors to create sparse vectors.

import numpy as np
import scipy.sparse as sps
from pyspark.mllib.linalg import Vectors

# Use a NumPy array as a dense vector.
dv1 = np.array([1.0, 0.0, 3.0])
# Use a Python list as a dense vector.
dv2 = [1.0, 0.0, 3.0]
# Create a SparseVector.
sv1 = Vectors.sparse(3, [0, 2], [1.0, 3.0])
# Use a single-column SciPy csc_matrix as a sparse vector.
sv2 = sps.csc_matrix((np.array([1.0, 3.0]), np.array([0, 2]), np.array([0, 2])), \
                      shape = (3, 1))

Labeled point

A labeled point is a local vector, either dense or sparse, associated with a label/response. In MLlib, labeled points are used in supervised learning algorithms. We use a double to store a label, so we can use labeled points in both regression and classification. For binary classification, a label should be either 0 (negative) or 1 (positive). For multiclass classification, labels should be class indices starting from zero: 0, 1, 2, ...

from pyspark.mllib.linalg import SparseVector
from pyspark.mllib.regression import LabeledPoint

# Create a labeled point with a positive label and a dense feature vector.
pos = LabeledPoint(1.0, [1.0, 0.0, 3.0])

# Create a labeled point with a negative label and a sparse feature vector.
neg = LabeledPoint(0.0, SparseVector(3, [0, 2], [1.0, 3.0]))

Sparse data

It is very common in practice to have sparse training data. MLlib supports reading training examples stored in LIBSVM format, which is the default format used by LIBSVM and LIBLINEAR. It is a text format in which each line represents a labeled sparse feature vector using the following format:

label index1:value1 index2:value2 ...

where the indices are one-based and in ascending order. After loading, the feature indices are converted to zero-based.

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