Big Data-2: Move into the big league:Graduate from R to SparkR

This post is a continuation of my earlier post Big Data-1: Move into the big league:Graduate from Python to Pyspark. While the earlier post discussed parallel constructs in Python and Pyspark, this post elaborates similar and key constructs in R and SparkR. While this post just focuses on the programming part of R and SparkR it is essential to understand and fully grasp the concept of Spark, RDD and how data is distributed across the clusters. This post like the earlier post shows how if you already have a good handle of R, you can easily graduate to Big Data with SparkR

Note 1: This notebook has also been published at Databricks community site Big Data-2: Move into the big league:Graduate from R to SparkR

Note 2: You can download this RMarkdown file from Github at Big Data- Python to Pyspark and R to SparkR
1a. Read CSV- R

Note: To upload the CSV to databricks see the video Upload Flat File to Databricks Table

# Read CSV file
tendulkar= read.csv("/dbfs/FileStore/tables/tendulkar.csv",stringsAsFactors = FALSE,na.strings=c(NA,"-"))
#Check the dimensions of the dataframe
[1] 347  12
1b. Read CSV – SparkR
# Load the SparkR library
# Initiate a SparkR session
tendulkar1 <- read.df("/FileStore/tables/tendulkar.csv", 
                header = "true", 
                delimiter = ",", 
                source = "csv", 
                inferSchema = "true", 
                na.strings = "")

# Check the dimensions of the dataframe
[1] 347  12
2a. Data frame shape – R
# Get the shape of the dataframe in R
[1] 347  12
2b. Dataframe shape – SparkR

The same ‘dim’ command works in SparkR too!

[1] 347  12
3a . Dataframe columns – R
# Get the names
names(tendulkar) # Also colnames(tendulkar)
 [1] "Runs"       "Mins"       "BF"         "X4s"        "X6s"       
 [6] "SR"         "Pos"        "Dismissal"  "Inns"       "Opposition"
[11] "Ground"     "Start.Date"
3b. Dataframe columns – SparkR
 [1] "Runs"       "Mins"       "BF"         "4s"         "6s"        
 [6] "SR"         "Pos"        "Dismissal"  "Inns"       "Opposition"
[11] "Ground"     "Start Date"
4a. Rename columns – R
 [1] "Runs"       "Minutes"    "BallsFaced" "Fours"      "Sixes"     
 [6] "StrikeRate" "Position"   "Dismissal"  "Innings"    "Opposition"
[11] "Ground"     "StartDate"
4b. Rename columns – SparkR
 [1] "Runs"       "Minutes"    "BallsFaced" "Fours"      "Sixes"     
 [6] "StrikeRate" "Position"   "Dismissal"  "Innings"    "Opposition"
[11] "Ground"     "StartDate"
5a. Summary – R
     Runs              Minutes        BallsFaced         Fours       
 Length:347         Min.   :  1.0   Min.   :  0.00   Min.   : 0.000  
 Class :character   1st Qu.: 33.0   1st Qu.: 22.00   1st Qu.: 1.000  
 Mode  :character   Median : 82.0   Median : 58.50   Median : 4.000  
                    Mean   :125.5   Mean   : 89.75   Mean   : 6.274  
                    3rd Qu.:181.0   3rd Qu.:133.25   3rd Qu.: 9.000  
                    Max.   :613.0   Max.   :436.00   Max.   :35.000  
                    NA's   :18      NA's   :19       NA's   :19      
     Sixes          StrikeRate        Position     Dismissal        
 Min.   :0.0000   Min.   :  0.00   Min.   :2.00   Length:347        
 1st Qu.:0.0000   1st Qu.: 38.09   1st Qu.:4.00   Class :character  
 Median :0.0000   Median : 52.25   Median :4.00   Mode  :character  
 Mean   :0.2097   Mean   : 51.79   Mean   :4.24                     
 3rd Qu.:0.0000   3rd Qu.: 65.09   3rd Qu.:4.00                     
 Max.   :4.0000   Max.   :166.66   Max.   :7.00                     
 NA's   :18       NA's   :20       NA's   :18                       
    Innings       Opposition           Ground           StartDate        
 Min.   :1.000   Length:347         Length:347         Length:347        
 1st Qu.:1.000   Class :character   Class :character   Class :character  
 Median :2.000   Mode  :character   Mode  :character   Mode  :character  
 Mean   :2.376                                                           
 3rd Qu.:3.000                                                           
 Max.   :4.000                                                           
 NA's   :1
5b. Summary – SparkR
SparkDataFrame[summary:string, Runs:string, Minutes:string, BallsFaced:string, Fours:string, Sixes:string, StrikeRate:string, Position:string, Dismissal:string, Innings:string, Opposition:string, Ground:string, StartDate:string]
6a. Displaying details of dataframe with str() – R
'data.frame':	347 obs. of  12 variables:
 $ Runs      : chr  "15" "DNB" "59" "8" ...
 $ Minutes   : int  28 NA 254 24 124 74 193 1 50 324 ...
 $ BallsFaced: int  24 NA 172 16 90 51 134 1 44 266 ...
 $ Fours     : int  2 NA 4 1 5 5 6 0 3 5 ...
 $ Sixes     : int  0 NA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ...
 $ StrikeRate: num  62.5 NA 34.3 50 45.5 ...
 $ Position  : int  6 NA 6 6 7 6 6 6 6 6 ...
 $ Dismissal : chr  "bowled" NA "lbw" "run out" ...
 $ Innings   : int  2 4 1 3 1 1 3 2 3 1 ...
 $ Opposition: chr  "v Pakistan" "v Pakistan" "v Pakistan" "v Pakistan" ...
 $ Ground    : chr  "Karachi" "Karachi" "Faisalabad" "Faisalabad" ...
 $ StartDate : chr  "15-Nov-89" "15-Nov-89" "23-Nov-89" "23-Nov-89" ...
6b. Displaying details of dataframe with str() – SparkR
'SparkDataFrame': 12 variables:
 $ Runs      : chr "15" "DNB" "59" "8" "41" "35"
 $ Minutes   : chr "28" "-" "254" "24" "124" "74"
 $ BallsFaced: chr "24" "-" "172" "16" "90" "51"
 $ Fours     : chr "2" "-" "4" "1" "5" "5"
 $ Sixes     : chr "0" "-" "0" "0" "0" "0"
 $ StrikeRate: chr "62.5" "-" "34.3" "50" "45.55" "68.62"
 $ Position  : chr "6" "-" "6" "6" "7" "6"
 $ Dismissal : chr "bowled" "-" "lbw" "run out" "bowled" "lbw"
 $ Innings   : chr "2" "4" "1" "3" "1" "1"
 $ Opposition: chr "v Pakistan" "v Pakistan" "v Pakistan" "v Pakistan" "v Pakistan" "v Pakistan"
 $ Ground    : chr "Karachi" "Karachi" "Faisalabad" "Faisalabad" "Lahore" "Sialkot"
 $ StartDate : chr "15-Nov-89" "15-Nov-89" "23-Nov-89" "23-Nov-89" "1-Dec-89" "9-Dec-89"
7a. Head & tail -R
 Runs Minutes BallsFaced Fours Sixes StrikeRate Position Dismissal Innings
1   15      28         24     2     0      62.50        6    bowled       2
2  DNB      NA         NA    NA    NA         NA       NA             4
3   59     254        172     4     0      34.30        6       lbw       1
4    8      24         16     1     0      50.00        6   run out       3
5   41     124         90     5     0      45.55        7    bowled       1
6   35      74         51     5     0      68.62        6       lbw       1
  Opposition     Ground StartDate
1 v Pakistan    Karachi 15-Nov-89
2 v Pakistan    Karachi 15-Nov-89
3 v Pakistan Faisalabad 23-Nov-89
4 v Pakistan Faisalabad 23-Nov-89
5 v Pakistan     Lahore  1-Dec-89
6 v Pakistan    Sialkot  9-Dec-89
    Runs Minutes BallsFaced Fours Sixes StrikeRate Position Dismissal Innings
342   37     125         81     5     0      45.67        4    caught       2
343   21      71         23     2     0      91.30        4   run out       4
344   32      99         53     5     0      60.37        4       lbw       2
345    1       8          5     0     0      20.00        4       lbw       4
346   10      41         24     2     0      41.66        4       lbw       2
347   74     150        118    12     0      62.71        4    caught       2
       Opposition  Ground StartDate
342   v Australia  Mohali 14-Mar-13
343   v Australia  Mohali 14-Mar-13
344   v Australia   Delhi 22-Mar-13
345   v Australia   Delhi 22-Mar-13
346 v West Indies Kolkata  6-Nov-13
347 v West Indies  Mumbai 14-Nov-13
7b. Head – SparkR
  Runs Minutes BallsFaced Fours Sixes StrikeRate Position Dismissal Innings
1   15      28         24     2     0       62.5        6    bowled       2
2  DNB       -          -     -     -          -        -         -       4
3   59     254        172     4     0       34.3        6       lbw       1
  Opposition     Ground StartDate
1 v Pakistan    Karachi 15-Nov-89
2 v Pakistan    Karachi 15-Nov-89
3 v Pakistan Faisalabad 23-Nov-89
8a. Determining the column types with sapply -R
       Runs     Minutes  BallsFaced       Fours       Sixes  StrikeRate 
"character"   "integer"   "integer"   "integer"   "integer"   "numeric" 
   Position   Dismissal     Innings  Opposition      Ground   StartDate 
  "integer" "character"   "integer" "character" "character" "character"
8b. Determining the column types with printSchema – SparkR
 |-- Runs: string (nullable = true)
 |-- Minutes: string (nullable = true)
 |-- BallsFaced: string (nullable = true)
 |-- Fours: string (nullable = true)
 |-- Sixes: string (nullable = true)
 |-- StrikeRate: string (nullable = true)
 |-- Position: string (nullable = true)
 |-- Dismissal: string (nullable = true)
 |-- Innings: string (nullable = true)
 |-- Opposition: string (nullable = true)
 |-- Ground: string (nullable = true)
 |-- StartDate: string (nullable = true)
9a. Selecting columns – R
  Runs BallsFaced Minutes
1   15         24      28
2  DNB         NA      NA
3   59        172     254
4    8         16      24
5   41         90     124
9b. Selecting columns – SparkR
.libPaths(c(file.path(Sys.getenv("SPARK_HOME"), "R", "lib"), .libPaths()))
# Initiate a SparkR session
tendulkar1 <- read.df("/FileStore/tables/tendulkar.csv", 
                header = "true", 
                delimiter = ",", 
                source = "csv", 
                inferSchema = "true", 
                na.strings = "")
df=SparkR::select(tendulkar1, "Runs", "BF","Mins")
  Runs  BF Mins
1   15  24   28
2  DNB   -    -
3   59 172  254
4    8  16   24
5   41  90  124
6   35  51   74
10a. Filter rows by criteria – R
df=tendulkar %>% filter(Runs > 50)
  Runs Minutes BallsFaced Fours Sixes StrikeRate Position Dismissal Innings
1  DNB      NA         NA    NA    NA         NA       NA             4
2   59     254        172     4     0      34.30        6       lbw       1
3    8      24         16     1     0      50.00        6   run out       3
4   57     193        134     6     0      42.53        6    caught       3
5   88     324        266     5     0      33.08        6    caught       1
     Opposition     Ground StartDate
1    v Pakistan    Karachi 15-Nov-89
2    v Pakistan Faisalabad 23-Nov-89
3    v Pakistan Faisalabad 23-Nov-89
4    v Pakistan    Sialkot  9-Dec-89
5 v New Zealand     Napier  9-Feb-90
10b. Filter rows by criteria – SparkR
df=SparkR::filter(tendulkar1, tendulkar1$Runs > 50)
  Runs Mins  BF 4s 6s    SR Pos Dismissal Inns     Opposition       Ground
1   59  254 172  4  0  34.3   6       lbw    1     v Pakistan   Faisalabad
2   57  193 134  6  0 42.53   6    caught    3     v Pakistan      Sialkot
3   88  324 266  5  0 33.08   6    caught    1  v New Zealand       Napier
4   68  216 136  8  0    50   6    caught    2      v England   Manchester
5  114  228 161 16  0  70.8   4    caught    2    v Australia        Perth
6  111  373 270 19  0 41.11   4    caught    2 v South Africa Johannesburg
  Start Date
1  23-Nov-89
2   9-Dec-89
3   9-Feb-90
4   9-Aug-90
5   1-Feb-92
6  26-Nov-92
11a. Unique values -R
  [1] "15"   "DNB"  "59"   "8"    "41"   "35"   "57"   "0"    "24"   "88"  
 [11] "5"    "10"   "27"   "68"   "119*" "21"   "11"   "16"   "7"    "40"  
 [21] "148*" "6"    "17"   "114"  "111"  "1"    "73"   "50"   "9*"   "165" 
 [31] "78"   "62"   "TDNB" "28"   "104*" "71"   "142"  "96"   "43"   "11*" 
 [41] "34"   "85"   "179"  "54"   "4"    "0*"   "52*"  "2"    "122"  "31"  
 [51] "177"  "74"   "42"   "18"   "61"   "36"   "169"  "9"    "15*"  "92"  
 [61] "83"   "143"  "139"  "23"   "148"  "13"   "155*" "79"   "47"   "113" 
 [71] "67"   "136"  "29"   "53"   "124*" "126*" "44*"  "217"  "116"  "52"  
 [81] "45"   "97"   "20"   "39"   "201*" "76"   "65"   "126"  "36*"  "69"  
 [91] "155"  "22*"  "103"  "26"   "90"   "176"  "117"  "86"   "12"   "193" 
[101] "16*"  "51"   "32"   "55"   "37"   "44"   "241*" "60*"  "194*" "3"   
[111] "32*"  "248*" "94"   "22"   "109"  "19"   "14"   "28*"  "63"   "64"  
[121] "101"  "122*" "91"   "82"   "56*"  "154*" "153"  "49"   "10*"  "103*"
[131] "160"  "100*" "105*" "100"  "106"  "84"   "203"  "98"   "38"   "214" 
[141] "53*"  "111*" "146"  "14*"  "56"   "80"   "25"   "81"   "13*"
11b. Unique values – SparkR
1 119*
2    7
3   51
4  169
5  32*
12a. Aggregate – Mean, min and max – R
a <- tendulkar$Runs != "DNB"
tendulkar <- tendulkar[a,]

# Remove rows with 'TDNB'
c <- tendulkar$Runs != "TDNB"
tendulkar <- tendulkar[c,]

# Remove rows with absent
d <- tendulkar$Runs != "absent"
tendulkar <- tendulkar[d,]

# Remove the "* indicating not out
tendulkar$Runs <- as.numeric(gsub("\\*","",tendulkar$Runs))
c <- complete.cases(tendulkar)

#Subset the rows which are complete
tendulkar <- tendulkar[c,]
df <-tendulkar %>%  group_by(Ground) %>% summarise(meanRuns= mean(Runs), minRuns=min(Runs), maxRuns=max(Runs)) 
[1] 327  12
# A tibble: 6 x 4
  Ground       meanRuns minRuns maxRuns
1 Adelaide        32.6       0.    153.
2 Ahmedabad       40.1       4.    217.
3 Auckland         5.00      5.      5.
4 Bangalore       57.9       4.    214.
5 Birmingham      46.8       1.    122.
6 Bloemfontein    85.0      15.    155.
12b. Aggregate- Mean, Min, Max – SparkR

tendulkar1 <- read.df("/FileStore/tables/tendulkar.csv", 
                header = "true", 
                delimiter = ",", 
                source = "csv", 
                inferSchema = "true", 
                na.strings = "")

tendulkar1 <-SparkR::filter(tendulkar1,tendulkar1$Runs != "DNB")
tendulkar1<-SparkR::filter(tendulkar1,tendulkar1$Runs != "TDNB")
tendulkar1<-SparkR::filter(tendulkar1,tendulkar1$Runs != "absent")

# Cast the string type Runs to double
withColumn(tendulkar1, "Runs", cast(tendulkar1$Runs, "double"))
# Remove the "* indicating not out
tendulkar1$Runs=SparkR::regexp_replace(tendulkar1$Runs, "\\*", "")
df=SparkR::summarize(SparkR::groupBy(tendulkar1, tendulkar1$Ground), mean = mean(tendulkar1$Runs), minRuns=min(tendulkar1$Runs),maxRuns=max(tendulkar1$Runs))
[1] 347  12
[1] 330  12
[1] 329  12
[1] 329  12
          Ground       mean minRuns maxRuns
1      Bangalore  54.312500       0      96
2       Adelaide  32.600000       0      61
3  Colombo (PSS)  37.200000      14      71
4   Christchurch  12.000000       0      24
5       Auckland   5.000000       5       5
6        Chennai  60.625000       0      81
7      Centurion  73.500000     111      36
8       Brisbane   7.666667       0       7
9     Birmingham  46.750000       1      40
10     Ahmedabad  40.125000     100       8
11 Colombo (RPS) 143.000000     143     143
12    Chittagong  57.800000     101      36
13     Cape Town  69.857143      14       9
14    Bridgetown  26.000000       0      92
15      Bulawayo  55.000000      36      74
16         Delhi  39.947368       0      76
17    Chandigarh  11.000000      11      11
18  Bloemfontein  85.000000      15     155
19 Colombo (SSC)  77.555556     104       8
20       Cuttack   2.000000       2       2
13a Using SQL with SparkR
tendulkar1 <- read.df("/FileStore/tables/tendulkar.csv", 
                header = "true", 
                delimiter = ",", 
                source = "csv", 
                inferSchema = "true", 
                na.strings = "")

# Register this SparkDataFrame as a temporary view.
createOrReplaceTempView(tendulkar1, "tendulkar2")

# SQL statements can be run by using the sql method
df=SparkR::sql("SELECT * FROM tendulkar2 WHERE Ground='Karachi'")


  Runs Mins BF 4s 6s    SR Pos Dismissal Inns Opposition  Ground Start Date
1   15   28 24  2  0  62.5   6    bowled    2 v Pakistan Karachi  15-Nov-89
2  DNB    -  -  -  -     -   -         -    4 v Pakistan Karachi  15-Nov-89
3   23   49 29  5  0 79.31   4    bowled    2 v Pakistan Karachi  29-Jan-06
4   26   74 47  5  0 55.31   4    bowled    4 v Pakistan Karachi  29-Jan-06

This post discusses some of the key constructs in R and SparkR and how one can transition from R to SparkR fairly easily. I will be adding more constructs later. Do check back!

You may also like
1. Exploring Quantum Gate operations with QCSimulator
2. Deep Learning from first principles in Python, R and Octave – Part 4
3. A Bluemix recipe with MongoDB and Node.js
4. Practical Machine Learning with R and Python – Part 5
5. Introducing cricketr! : An R package to analyze performances of cricketers

To see all posts click Index of posts

Big Data-1: Move into the big league:Graduate from Python to Pyspark

This post discusses similar constructs in Python and Pyspark. As in my earlier post R vs Python: Different similarities and similar differences the focus is on the key and common constructs to highlight the similarities.

Important Note:You can also access this notebook at databricks public site  Big Data-1: Move into the big league:Graduate from Python to Pyspark (the formatting here is much better!!).

For this notebook I have used Databricks community edition

You can download the notebook from Github at Big Data-1:PythontoPysparkAndRtoSparkR

Hope you found this useful!

Note: There are still a few more important constructs which I will be adding to this post.

Also see
1. My book “Deep Learning from first principles” now on Amazon
2. My book ‘Practical Machine Learning in R and Python: Second edition’ on Amazon
3. Re-introducing cricketr! : An R package to analyze performances of cricketers
4. GooglyPlus: yorkr analyzes IPL players, teams, matches with plots and tables
5. Deblurring with OpenCV: Weiner filter reloaded
6. Design Principles of Scalable, Distributed Systems

My travels through the realms of Data Science, Machine Learning, Deep Learning and (AI)

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies 
When a new planet swims into his ken; 
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes 
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men 
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise— 
Silent, upon a peak in Darien. 
On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer by John Keats

The above excerpt from John Keat’s poem captures the the exhilaration that one experiences, when discovering something for the first time. This also  summarizes to some extent my own as enjoyment while pursuing Data Science, Machine Learning and the like.

I decided to write this post, as occasionally youngsters approach me and ask me where they should start their adventure in Data Science & Machine Learning. There are other times, when the ‘not-so-youngsters’ want to know what their next step should be after having done some courses. This post includes my travels through the domains of Data Science, Machine Learning, Deep Learning and (soon to be done AI).

By no means, am I an authority in this field, which is ever-widening and almost bottomless, yet I would like to share some of my experiences in this fascinating field. I include a short review of the courses I have done below. I also include alternative routes through  courses which I did not do, but are probably equally good as well.  Feel free to pick and choose any course or set of courses. Alternatively, you may prefer to read books or attend bricks-n-mortar classes, In any case,  I hope the list below will provide you with some overall direction.

All my learning in the above domains have come from MOOCs and I restrict myself to the top 3 MOOCs, or in my opinion, ‘the original MOOCs’, namely Coursera, edX or Udacity, but may throw in some courses from other online sites if they are only available there. I would recommend these 3 MOOCs over the other numerous online courses and also over face-to-face classroom courses for the following reasons. These MOOCs

  • Are taken by world class colleges and the lectures are delivered by top class Professors who have a great depth of knowledge and a wealth of experience
  • The Professors, besides delivering quality content, also point out to important tips, tricks and traps
  • You can revisit lectures in online courses
  • Lectures are usually short between 8 -15 mins (Personally, my attention span is around 15-20 mins at a time!)

Here is a fair warning and something quite obvious. No amount of courses, lectures or books will help if you don’t put it to use through some language like Octave, R or Python.

The journey
My trip through Data Science, Machine Learning  started with an off-chance remark,about 3 years ago,  from an old friend of mine who spoke to me about having done a few  courses at Coursera, and really liked it.  He further suggested that I should try. This was the final push which set me sailing into this vast domain.

I have included the list of the courses I have done over the past 3 years (33 certifications completed and another 9 audited-listened only without doing the assignments). For each of the courses I have included a short review of the course, whether I think the course is mandatory, the language in which the course is based on, and finally whether I have done the course myself etc. I have also included alternative courses, which I may have not done, but which I think are equally good. Finally, I suggest some courses which I have heard of and which are very good and worth taking.

1. Machine Learning, Stanford, Prof Andrew Ng, Coursera
(Requirement: Mandatory, Language:Octave,Status:Completed)
This course provides an excellent foundation to build your Machine Learning citadel on. The course covers the mathematical details of linear, logistic and multivariate regression. There is also a good coverage of topics like Neural Networks, SVMs, Anamoly Detection, underfitting, overfitting, regularization etc. Prof Andrew Ng presents the material in a very lucid manner. It is a great course to start with. It would be a good idea to brush up  some basics of linear algebra, matrices and a little bit of calculus, specifically computing the local maxima/minima. You should be able to take this course even if you don’t know Octave as the Prof goes over the key aspects of the language.

2. Statistical Learning, Prof Trevor Hastie & Prof Robert Tibesherani, Online Stanford– (Requirement:Mandatory, Language:R, Status;Completed) –
The course includes linear and polynomial regression, logistic regression. Details also include cross-validation and the bootstrap methods, how to do model selection and regularization (ridge and lasso). It also touches on non-linear models, generalized additive models, boosting and SVMs. Some unsupervised learning methods are  also discussed. The 2 Professors take turns in delivering lectures with a slight touch of humor.

3a. Data Science Specialization: Prof Roger Peng, Prof Brian Caffo & Prof Jeff Leek, John Hopkins University (Requirement: Option A, Language: R Status: Completed)
This is a comprehensive 10 module specialization based on R. This Specialization gives a very broad overview of Data Science and Machine Learning. The modules cover R programming, Statistical Inference, Practical Machine Learning, how to build R products and R packages and finally has a very good Capstone project on NLP

3b. Applied Data Science with Python Specialization: University of Michigan (Requirement: Option B, Language: Python, Status: Not done)
In this specialization I only did  the Applied Machine Learning in Python (Prof Kevyn-Collin Thomson). This is a very good course that covers a lot of Machine Learning algorithms(linear, logistic, ridge, lasso regression, knn, SVMs etc. Also included are confusion matrices, ROC curves etc. This is based on Python’s Scikit Learn

3c. Machine Learning Specialization, University Of Washington (Requirement:Option C, Language:Python, Status : Not completed). This appears to be a very good Specialization in Python

4. Statistics with R Specialization, Duke University (Requirement: Useful and a must know, Language R, Status:Not Completed)
I audited (listened only) to the following 2 modules from this Specialization.
a.Inferential Statistics
b.Linear Regression and Modeling
Both these courses are taught by Prof Mine Cetikya-Rundel who delivers her lessons with extraordinary clarity.  Her lectures are filled with many examples which she walks you through in great detail

5.Bayesian Statistics: From Concept to Data Analysis: Univ of California, Santa Cruz (Requirement: Optional, Language : R, Status:Completed)
This is an interesting course and provides an alternative point of view to frequentist approach

6. Data Science and Engineering with Spark, University of California, Berkeley, Prof Antony Joseph, Prof Ameet Talwalkar, Prof Jon Bates
(Required: Mandatory for Big Data, Status:Completed, Language; pySpark)
This specialization contains 3 modules
a.Introduction to Apache Spark
b.Distributed Machine Learning with Apache Spark
c.Big Data Analysis with Apache Spark

This is an excellent course for those who want to make an entry into Distributed Machine Learning. The exercises are fairly challenging and your code will predominantly be made of map/reduce and lambda operations as you process data that is distributed across Spark RDDs. I really liked  the part where the Prof shows how a matrix multiplication on a single machine is of the order of O(nd^2+d^3) (which is the basis of Machine Learning) is reduced to O(nd^2) by taking outer products on data which is distributed.

7. Deep Learning Prof Andrew Ng, Younes Bensouda Mourri, Kian Katanforoosh : Requirement:Mandatory,Language:Python, Tensorflow Status:Completed)

This course had 5 Modules which start from the fundamentals of Neural Networks, their derivation and vectorized Python implementation. The specialization also covers regularization, optimization techniques, mini batch normalization, Convolutional Neural Networks, Recurrent Neural Networks, LSTMs applied to a wide variety of real world problems

The modules are
a. Neural Networks and Deep Learning
In this course Prof Andrew Ng explains differential calculus, linear algebra and vectorized Python implementations of Deep Learning algorithms. The derivation for back-propagation is done and then the Prof shows how to compute a multi-layered DL network
b.Improving Deep Neural Networks: Hyperparameter tuning, Regularization and Optimization
Deep Neural Networks can be very flexible, and come with a lots of knobs (hyper-parameters) to tune with. In this module, Prof Andrew Ng shows a systematic way to tune hyperparameters and by how much should one tune. The course also covers regularization(L1,L2,dropout), gradient descent optimization and batch normalization methods. The visualizations used to explain the momentum method, RMSprop, Adam,LR decay and batch normalization are really powerful and serve to clarify the concepts. As an added bonus,the module also includes a great introduction to Tensorflow.
c.Structuring Machine Learning Projects
A very good module with useful tips, tricks and traps that need to be considered while working on Machine Learning and Deep Learning projects
d. Convolutional Neural Networks
This domain has a lot of really cool ideas, where images represented as 3D volumes, are compressed and stretched longitudinally before applying a multi-layered deep learning neural network to this thin slice for performing classification,detection etc. The Prof provides a glimpse into this fascinating world of image classification, detection andl neural art transfer with frameworks like Keras and Tensorflow.
e. Sequence Models
In this module covers in good detail concepts like RNNs, GRUs, LSTMs, word embeddings, beam search and attention model.

8. Neural Networks for Machine Learning, Prof Geoffrey Hinton,University of Toronto
(Requirement: Mandatory, Language;Octave, Status:Completed)
This is a broad course which starts from the basic of Perceptrons, all the way to Boltzman Machines, RNNs, CNNS, LSTMs etc The course also covers regularization, learning rate decay, momentum method etc

9.Probabilistic Graphical Models, Stanford  Prof Daphne Koller(Language:Octave, Status: Partially completed)
This has 3 courses
a.Probabilistic Graphical Models 1: Representation – Done
b.Probabilistic Graphical Models 2: Inference – To do
c.Probabilistic Graphical Models 3: Learning – To do
This course discusses how a system, which can be represented as a complex interaction
of probability distributions, will behave. This is probably the toughest course I did.  I did manage to get through the 1st module, While I felt that grasped a few things, I did not wholly understand the import of this. However I feel this is an important domain and I will definitely revisit this in future

10. Mining Massive Data Sets Prof Jure Leskovec, Prof Anand Rajaraman and ProfJeff Ullman. Online Stanford, Status Partially done.
I did quickly audit this course, a year back, when it used to be in Coursera. It now seems to have moved to Stanford online. But this is a very good course that discusses key concepts of Mining Big Data of the order a few Petabytes

11. Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, Prof Sebastian Thrun & Prof Peter Norvig, Udacity
This is a really good course. I have started on this course a couple of times and somehow gave up. Will revisit to complete in future. Quite extensive in its coverage.Touches BFS,DFS, A-Star, PGM, Machine Learning etc.

12. Deep Learning (with TensorFlow), Vincent Vanhoucke, Principal Scientist at Google Brain.
Got started on this one and abandoned some time back. In my to do list though

My learning journey is based on Lao Tzu’s dictum of ‘A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving’. You could have a goal and try to plan your courses accordingly.
And so my journey continues…

I hope you find this list useful.
Have a great journey ahead!!!

IBM Data Science Experience:  First steps with yorkr

Fresh, and slightly dizzy, from my foray into Quantum Computing with IBM’s Quantum Experience, I now turn my attention to IBM’s Data Science Experience (DSE).

I am on the verge of completing a really great 3 module ‘Data Science and Engineering with Spark XSeries’ from the University of California, Berkeley and I have been thinking of trying out some form of integrated delivery platform for performing analytics, for quite some time.  Coincidentally,  IBM comes out with its Data Science Experience. a month back. There are a couple of other collaborative platforms available for playing around with Apache Spark or Data Analytics namely Jupyter notebooks, Databricks,

I decided to go ahead with IBM’s Data Science Experience as  the GUI is a lot cooler, includes shared data sets and integrates with Object Storage, Cloudant DB etc,  which seemed a lot closer to the cloud, literally!  IBM’s DSE is an interactive, collaborative, cloud-based environment for performing data analysis with Apache Spark. DSE is hosted on IBM’s PaaS environment, Bluemix. It should be possible to access in DSE the plethora of cloud services available on Bluemix. IBM’s DSE uses Jupyter notebooks for creating and analyzing data which can be easily shared and has access to a few hundred publicly available datasets

Disclaimer: This article represents the author’s viewpoint only and doesn’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions

In this post, I use IBM’s DSE and my R package yorkr, for analyzing the performance of 1 ODI match (Aus-Ind, 2 Feb 2012)  and the batting performance of Virat Kohli in IPL matches. These are my ‘first’ steps in DSE so, I use plain old “R language” for analysis together with my R package ‘yorkr’. I intend to  do more interesting stuff on Machine learning with SparkR, Sparklyr and PySpark in the weeks and months to come.

You can checkout the Jupyter notebooks created with IBM’s DSE Y at Github  – “Using R package yorkr – A quick overview’ and  on NBviewer at “Using R package yorkr – A quick overview

Working with Jupyter notebooks are fairly straight forward which can handle code in R, Python and Scala. Each cell can either contain code (Python or Scala), Markdown text, NBConvert or Heading. The code is written into the cells and can be executed sequentially. Here is a screen shot of the notebook.


The ‘File’ menu can be used for ‘saving and checkpointing’ or ‘reverting’ to a checkpoint. The ‘kernel’ menu can be used to start, interrupt, restart and run all cells etc. Data Sources icon can be used to load data sources to your code. The data is uploaded to Object Storage with appropriate credentials. You will have to  import this data from Object Storage using the credentials. In my notebook with yorkr I directly load the data from Github.  You can use the sharing to share the notebook. The shared notebook has an extension ‘ipynb’. You can use the ‘Sharing’ icon  to share the notebook. The shared notebook has an extension ‘ipynb’. You an import this notebook directly into your environment and can get started with the code available in the notebook.

You can import existing R, Python or Scala notebooks as shown below. My notebook ‘Using R package yorkr – A quick overview’ can be downloaded using the link ‘yorkrWithDSE’ and clicking the green download icon on top right corner.


I have also uploaded the file to Github and you can download from here too ‘yorkrWithDSE’. This notebook can be imported into your DSE as shown below


Jupyter notebooks have been integrated with Github and are rendered directly from Github.  You can view my Jupyter notebook here  – “Using R package yorkr – A quick overview’. You can also view it on NBviewer at “Using R package yorkr – A quick overview

So there it is. You can download my notebook, import it into IBM’s Data Science Experience and then use data from ‘yorkrData” as shown. As already mentioned yorkrData contains converted data for ODIs, T20 and IPL. For details on how to use my R package yorkr  please my posts on yorkr at “Index of posts

Hope you have fun playing wit IBM’s Data Science Experience and my package yorkr.

I will be exploring IBM’s DSE in weeks and months to come in the areas of Machine Learning with SparkR,SparklyR or pySpark.

Watch this space!!!

Disclaimer: This article represents the author’s viewpoint only and doesn’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions

Also see

1. Introducing QCSimulator: A 5-qubit quantum computing simulator in R
2. Natural Processing Language : What would Shakespeare say?
3. Introducing cricket package yorkr:Part 1- Beaten by sheer pace!
4. A closer look at “Robot horse on a Trot! in Android”
5.  Re-introducing cricketr! : An R package to analyze performances of cricketers
6.   What’s up Watson? Using IBM Watson’s QAAPI with Bluemix, NodeExpress – Part 1
7.  Deblurring with OpenCV: Wiener filter reloaded

To see all my posts check
Index of posts

Into the Telecom vortex

“Ten little Indian boys went out to dine,
One choked his little self and then there were nine
Nine little Indian boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight…”

From the poem “Ten Little Indians”


You don’t need to be particularly observant to notice that the telecom landscape over the last decade and a half is full of dead organizations, bloodshed and gore. Organizations have been slain by ruthless times and bigger ones have devoured the weaker, fallen ones. Telecom titans have vanished, giants have been reduced to dwarfs.

Some telecom companies have merged in a deadly embrace trying to beat the market forces only to capitulate to its inexorable death march.

The period from the early 1980s to the late 1990’s were the glorious periods for telecommunication. Digital switches (1972-1982), ISDN (1988), international calling, trunk protocols, mobile (~1991), 2G, 2.5G, and 3G moved in succession, one after another.

Advancement came after advancement. The future had never looked so bright for telecom companies.

The late 1990’s were heady years, not just for telecom companies, but to all technology companies. Stock prices soared. Many stocks were over-valued.  This was mainly due to what was described as the ‘irrational exuberance’ of the stock market.

Lucent, Alcatel, Ericsson, Nortel Networks, Nokia, Siemens, Telecordia all ruled supreme.

1997-2000. then the inevitable happened. There was the infamous dot-com bust of the 2000 which sent reduced many technology stocks to penny stocks. Telecom company stocks went into a major tail spin.  Stock prices of telecom organizations plummeted. This situation, many felt, was further exacerbated by the fact that nothing important or earth shattering was forth-coming from the telecom. In other words, there was no ‘killer app’ from the telecommunication domain.

From 2000 onwards 3G, HSDPA, LTE etc. have all come and gone by. But the markets were largely unimpressed. This was also the period of the downward slide for telecom. The last decade and a half has been extra-ordinarily violent. Technology units of dying organizations have been cannibalized by the more successful ones.

Stellar organizations collapsed, others transformed into ‘white dwarfs’, still others shattered with the ferocity of a super nova.

Here is a short recap of the major events.

  • 2006 – After a couple of unsuccessful attempts Alcatel and Lucent finally decide to merge
  • 2006 – Nokia marries Siemens in a 20 billion Euro deal. N
  • 2009-10 – Ericsson purchases Nortel’s CDMA and LTE business for $1.13 billion
  • 2009-10 – Nortel implodes
  • 2010 – Motorola sells networking unit to Nokia for $1.2 Billion
  • 2011 – Internet giant Google mops up Motorola’s handset division for $12.5 billion, largely for the patents
  • 2012 – Ericsson closes a deal with Telcordia for $1.15 billion
  • 2013 – Nokia sells its handset division to Microsoft after facing a serious beating from smartphones
  • 2015 – Nokia agrees to a $16.6 billion takeover of Alcatel Lucent

And so the story continues like the rhyme in Agatha Christie’s mystery novel

And then there were none

Ten little Indian boys went out to dine,                                                                                                                
One choked his little self and then there were nine…”

The Telecom companies continue their search for the elusive ‘killer app’ as progress comes in small increments – 3G, 3.5G, 3.75G, 4G, and 5G etc.

Personally I think the future of Telecom companies, lies in its ability to embrace the latest technologies of Cloud Computing, Big Data, Software Defined Networks, and Software Defined Datacenters and re-invent themselves. Rather than looking for some elusive ‘killer app’ they have to re-enter the technology scene with a Big Bang

As I referred to in one of my earlier posts “Architecting a cloud Based IP Multimedia System” the proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow may be in

  1. Virtualizing IP Multimedia Switches (IMS) namely the CSCFs (P-CSCF, S-CSCF, I-CSCF etc.),
  2. Using the features of the cloud like Software Defined Storage (SDS) , Load balancers and auto-scaling to elastically scale-up or scale down the CSCF instances to handle varying ‘call traffic’
  3. Having equipment manufacturers (Nokia, Ericsson, and Huawei) will have to use innovating pricing models with the carriers like AT&T, MCI, Airtel or Vodafone. Instead of a one-time cost for hardware and software, the equipment manufacturers will need to charge based on usage or call traffic (utility charging). This will be a win-win for both the equipment manufacturer and carrier
  4. Using SDN to provide the necessary virtualized pipes between users with the necessary policies for advanced services like video-chat, white-boarding, real-time gaming etc.
  5. Using Big Data and Hadoop to analyze Call Detail Records (CDRs) and provide advanced services to customers like differential rates for calls etc

Clearly there will be challenges in this virtualized view of things. Telecom equipment is renowned for its 5 9’s availability. The challenge will be achieving this resiliency, high availability and fault-tolerance with cloud servers. How can WAN latencies be mitigated? How to can SDN provide the QoS required for voice, video and data traffic in IMS?

IMS has many interesting services where video calls from laptops can be transferred as data calls to mobile phones and vice versa, from mobile networks to WiFi  and so on.

Many hurdles will have to be crossed. But this is, in my opinion, will be the path forward.

While the last decade and a half have been bad for the telecom industry, I personally feel we are on the verge on the next big breakthrough in telecom in the next year or two. Telecom will rise like the phoenix from its ashes in the next couple of years

Also see
1. A crime map of India in R: Crimes against women
2.  What’s up Watson? Using IBM Watson’s QAAPI with Bluemix, NodeExpress – Part 1
3.  Bend it like Bluemix, MongoDB with autoscaling – Part 2
4. Informed choices through Machine Learning : Analyzing Kohli, Tendulkar and Dravid
5. Thinking Web Scale (TWS-3): Map-Reduce – Bring compute to data
6. Deblurring with OpenCV:Weiner filter reloaded