Spark IPython Notebooks

Spark & Python (pySpark) tutorials as IPython/Jupyter notebooks

View the Project on GitHub jadianes/spark-py-notebooks

Spark Python Notebooks

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This is a collection of IPython notebook/Jupyter notebooks intended to train the reader on different Apache Spark concepts, from basic to advanced, by using the Python language.

If Python is not your language, and it is R, you may want to have a look at our R on Apache Spark (SparkR) notebooks instead. Additionally, if your are interested in being introduced to some basic Data Science Engineering, you might find these series of tutorials interesting. There we explain different concepts and applications using Python and R.


A good way of using these notebooks is by first cloning the repo, and then starting your own IPython notebook/Jupyter in pySpark mode. For example, if we have a standalone Spark installation running in our localhost with a maximum of 6Gb per node assigned to IPython:

MASTER="spark://" SPARK_EXECUTOR_MEMORY="6G" IPYTHON_OPTS="notebook --pylab inline" ~/spark-1.5.0-bin-hadoop2.6/bin/pyspark

Notice that the path to the pyspark command will depend on your specific installation. So as requirement, you need to have Spark installed in the same machine you are going to start the IPython notebook server.

For more Spark options see here. In general it works the rule of passing options described in the form spark.executor.memory as SPARK_EXECUTOR_MEMORY when calling IPython/pySpark.


We will be using datasets from the KDD Cup 1999. The results of this competition can be found here.


The reference book for these and other Spark related topics is:


The following notebooks can be examined individually, although there is a more or less linear 'story' when followed in sequence. By using the same dataset they try to solve a related set of tasks with it.

RDD creation

About reading files and parallelize.

RDDs basics

A look at map, filter, and collect.

Sampling RDDs

RDD sampling methods explained.

RDD set operations

Brief introduction to some of the RDD pseudo-set operations.

Data aggregations on RDDs

RDD actions reduce, fold, and aggregate.

Working with key/value pair RDDs

How to deal with key/value pairs in order to aggregate and explore data.

MLlib: Basic Statistics and Exploratory Data Analysis

A notebook introducing Local Vector types, basic statistics in MLlib for Exploratory Data Analysis and model selection.

MLlib: Logistic Regression

Labeled points and Logistic Regression classification of network attacks in MLlib. Application of model selection techniques using correlation matrix and Hypothesis Testing.

MLlib: Decision Trees

Use of tree-based methods and how they help explaining models and feature selection.

Spark SQL: structured processing for Data Analysis

In this notebook a schema is inferred for our network interactions dataset. Based on that, we use Spark's SQL DataFrame abstraction to perform a more structured exploratory data analysis.


Beyond the basics. Close to real-world applications using Spark and other technologies.

Olssen: On-line Spectral Search ENgine for proteomics

Same tech stack this time with an AngularJS client app.

An on-line movie recommendation web service

This tutorial can be used independently to build a movie recommender model based on the MovieLens dataset. Most of the code in the first part, about how to use ALS with the public MovieLens dataset, comes from my solution to one of the exercises proposed in the CS100.1x Introduction to Big Data with Apache Spark by Anthony D. Joseph on edX, that is also publicly available since 2014 at Spark Summit.

There I've added with minor modifications to use a larger dataset and also code about how to store and reload the model for later use. On top of that we build a Flask web service so the recommender can be use to provide movie recommendations on-line.

KDD Cup 1999

My try using Spark with this classic dataset and Knowledge Discovery competition.


Contributions are welcome! For bug reports or requests please submit an issue.


Feel free to contact me to discuss any issues, questions, or comments.


This repository contains a variety of content; some developed by Jose A. Dianes, and some from third-parties. The third-party content is distributed under the license provided by those parties.

The content developed by Jose A. Dianes is distributed under the following license:

Copyright 2016 Jose A Dianes

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
limitations under the License.


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