Exercise: Word count

Let's count the frequency of words that appear in Charles Dicken's A tale of two cities. Do not include special characters when counting the word frequency.

  • Upload the A tale of two cities file to /user/livy in

    the storage container attached to the Spark cluster.

  • This allows you to read the text file from the root directory directly as sc.textFile("two-cities.txt").

  • Start by creating a new RDD by splitting the words.

  • Then create an RDD of pairs (word, 1) for each occurrence of a word using a map()

  • Finally, use the reduceByKey() function, which merges the values for each key using an associative reduce function.

  • The following function removes any special characters:

# Define a function to remove any special characters
def removePunctuation(text):
    """Removes punctuation, changes to lower case, and strips leading and trailing spaces.
        Only spaces, letters, and numbers should be retained.  Other characters should should be
        eliminated (e.g. it's becomes its).  Leading and trailing spaces should be removed after
        punctuation is removed.
        text (str): A string.
        str: The cleaned up string.
    return re.sub(r'[^a-z0-9\s]','',text.lower().strip())

Exercise: WordCount Jupyter notebook


  • Print only those words thar are mentioned more than 10 times.


  • First, the flatMap() function takes the input file that is returned by the SparkContext function that returns the lines of the file. This flatMap does two things it applies the lambda function to each line, creating a list of space separated words. Then the second thing flatMap does by default is flattening the list of lists, meaning that [[w1,w2],[w2,w3]] becomes [w1,w2,w2,w3].

  • Second, a map() function is applied to the resulting RDD that is produced by flatMap. The map operation applies the lambda function provided to each element in the RDD. Here each element is a word in the list of words RDD and the map produces a pair for each word composed of the word as the key and the initial count as of that word as 1.

  • Finally, the aggregation is performed with the reduceByKey function on the resulting RDD. This is similar to the regular reduce operation that takes two elements and applies a function to those two elements, but in this case the words are first grouped by key, which in the case of (w1,1) is the word part of the pair. This gives the following: [(w1,1),(w1,1),(w2,1)] ==> [(w1,2),(w2,1)].

  • Following that we collect the output and print it as words with their counts.

Solution for Challenge

How about getting the words that are mentioned more than 10 times? You could try to modify the above code using the filter transformation to get only the words that have 10 of more mentions in our output file. To do that we need to chain .filter(lambda x: x[1]>=10) after the reduceByKey function:

Solution: WordCount Jupyter notebook

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