SparkR is an R package that provides a light-weight frontend to use Apache Spark from R. Starting with Spark 1.5.1, SparkR provides a distributed DataFrame implementation that supports operations such as selection, filtering, and aggregation (similar to R data frames and dplyr) but on large datasets. SparkR also supports distributed machine learning using MLlib.
This overview covers the following topics:
Azure Databricks also supports sparklyr.
SparkR started as a research project at AMPLab. With the
release of Spark 1.4.0, SparkR was inlined in Apache Spark. At that time Databricks released
R notebooks, becoming the
first company officially to support SparkR. To facilitate the usage of SparkR, Databricks R
notebooks imported SparkR by default and provided a working
SparkR and Databricks R notebooks have evolved significantly since 2015. For the best experience, Databricks recommends that you use the latest version of Spark on Databricks when you use either R or SparkR. Some of the most notable changes in R and SparkR since Spark 1.6 include:
- Starting with Spark 2.0,
you do not need to explicitly pass a
sqlContextobject to every function call. This change reduced boilerplate code and made SparkR user code more intuitive and readable. In this document we use the new syntax. For old syntax examples, see SparkR 1.6 Overview.
- Starting with Spark 2.2, Databricks notebooks no longer imports SparkR by default. Some SparkR
functions were conflicting with similarly named functions from other popular packages. To use SparkR you
library(SparkR)in your notebooks. The SparkR session is already configured, and all SparkR functions will talk to your attached cluster using the existing session.
You can create a DataFrame from a local R
data.frame, from a data source, or using a Spark
The simplest way to create a DataFrame is to convert a local R
data.frame into a
SparkDataFrame. Specifically we can use
createDataFrame and pass in the local R
data.frame to create a
SparkDataFrame. Like most other SparkR functions,
syntax changed in Spark 2.0. You can see examples of this in the code snippet bellow.
Refer to createDataFrame for more examples.
library(SparkR) df <- createDataFrame(faithful) # Displays the content of the DataFrame to stdout head(df)
The general method for creating a DataFrame from a data source is
This method takes the path for the file to load and the type of data source.
SparkR supports reading CSV, JSON, text, and Parquet files
natively. Through Spark Packages you can find data source connectors
for popular file formats such as Avro.
library(SparkR) diamondsDF <- read.df("/databricks-datasets/Rdatasets/data-001/csv/ggplot2/diamonds.csv", source = "csv", header="true", inferSchema = "true") head(diamondsDF)
SparkR automatically infers the schema from the CSV file.
First we take an existing
data.frame, convert to a Spark DataFrame, and save it as an Avro file.
require(SparkR) irisDF <- createDataFrame(iris) write.df(irisDF, source = "com.databricks.spark.avro", path = "dbfs:/tmp/iris.avro", mode = "overwrite")
To verify that we saved an Avro file:
%fs ls /tmp/iris
Now we use the spark-avro package again to read back the data.
irisDF2 <- read.df(path = "/tmp/iris.avro", source = "com.databricks.spark.avro") head(irisDF2)
The data sources API can also be used to save DataFrames into multiple file formats. For example we can save the DataFrame from the previous example to a Parquet file using write.df
write.df(irisDF2, path="dbfs:/tmp/iris.parquet", source="parquet", mode="overwrite")
%fs ls dbfs:/tmp/people.parquet
You can also create SparkR DataFrames using Spark SQL queries.
# Register earlier df as temp table registerTempTable(people, "peopleTemp")
# Create a df consisting of only the 'age' column using a Spark SQL query age <- sql("SELECT age FROM peopleTemp") head(age)
age is a SparkDataFrame.
# Resulting df is a SparkDataFrame str(age)
SparkDataFrames support a number of functions to do structured data processing. Here we include some basic examples and a complete list can be found in the API docs.
# Import SparkR package if this is a new notebook require(SparkR) # Create DataFrame df <- createDataFrame(faithful) df
# Select only the "eruptions" column head(select(df, df$eruptions))
# You can also pass in column name as strings head(select(df, "eruptions"))
# Filter the DataFrame to only retain rows with wait times shorter than 50 mins head(filter(df, df$waiting < 50))
SparkDataFrames support a number of commonly used functions to aggregate data after grouping. For example we can count the number of times each waiting time appears in the faithful dataset.
# We can also sort the output from the aggregation to get the most common waiting times waiting_counts <- count(groupBy(df, df$waiting)) head(arrange(waiting_counts, desc(waiting_counts$count)))
SparkR provides a number of functions that can be directly applied to columns for data processing and aggregation. The example below shows the use of basic arithmetic functions.
# Convert waiting time from hours to seconds. # Note that we can assign this to a new column in the same DataFrame df$waiting_secs <- df$waiting * 60 head(df)
SparkR exposes most of MLLib algorithms. Under the hood, SparkR uses MLlib to train the model.
The example below shows the use of building a gaussian GLM model using SparkR. To run Linear Regression, set family to “gaussian”. To run Logistic Regression, set family to “binomial”. When using SparkML GLM SparkR automatically performs one-hot encoding of categorical features so that it does not need to be done manually. Beyond String and Double type features, it is also possible to fit over MLlib Vector features, for compatibility with other MLlib components.
# Create the DataFrame df <- createDataFrame(sqlContext, iris) # Fit a linear model over the dataset. model <- glm(Sepal_Length ~ Sepal_Width + Species, data = df, family = "gaussian") # Model coefficients are returned in a similar format to R's native glm(). summary(model)