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Taming Big Data with Apache Spark and Python – Hands On!

Dive right in with 15+ hands-on examples of analyzing large data sets with Apache Spark, on your desktop or on Hadoop!
Sundog Education by Frank Kane
34,136 students enrolled
English More
Use DataFrames and Structured Streaming in Spark 2
Frame big data analysis problems as Spark problems
Use Amazon's Elastic MapReduce service to run your job on a cluster with Hadoop YARN
Install and run Apache Spark on a desktop computer or on a cluster
Use Spark's Resilient Distributed Datasets to process and analyze large data sets across many CPU's
Implement iterative algorithms such as breadth-first-search using Spark
Use the MLLib machine learning library to answer common data mining questions
Understand how Spark SQL lets you work with structured data
Understand how Spark Streaming lets your process continuous streams of data in real time
Tune and troubleshoot large jobs running on a cluster
Share information between nodes on a Spark cluster using broadcast variables and accumulators
Understand how the GraphX library helps with network analysis problems

“Big data” analysis is a hot and highly valuable skill – and this course will teach you the hottest technology in big data: Apache Spark. Employers including Amazon, EBay, NASA JPL, and Yahoo all use Spark to quickly extract meaning from massive data sets across a fault-tolerant Hadoop cluster. You’ll learn those same techniques, using your own Windows system right at home. It’s easier than you might think.

Learn and master the art of framing data analysis problems as Spark problems through over 15 hands-on examples, and then scale them up to run on cloud computing services in this course. You’ll be learning from an ex-engineer and senior manager from Amazon and IMDb.

  • Learn the concepts of Spark’s Resilient Distributed Datastores

  • Develop and run Spark jobs quickly using Python

  • Translate complex analysis problems into iterative or multi-stage Spark scripts

  • Scale up to larger data sets using Amazon’s Elastic MapReduce service

  • Understand how Hadoop YARN distributes Spark across computing clusters

  • Learn about other Spark technologies, like Spark SQL, Spark Streaming, and GraphX

By the end of this course, you’ll be running code that analyzes gigabytes worth of information – in the cloud – in a matter of minutes. 

This course uses the familiar Python programming language; if you’d rather use Scala to get the best performance out of Spark, see my “Apache Spark with Scala – Hands On with Big Data” course instead.

We’ll have some fun along the way. You’ll get warmed up with some simple examples of using Spark to analyze movie ratings data and text in a book. Once you’ve got the basics under your belt, we’ll move to some more complex and interesting tasks. We’ll use a million movie ratings to find movies that are similar to each other, and you might even discover some new movies you might like in the process! We’ll analyze a social graph of superheroes, and learn who the most “popular” superhero is – and develop a system to find “degrees of separation” between superheroes. Are all Marvel superheroes within a few degrees of being connected to The Incredible Hulk? You’ll find the answer.

This course is very hands-on; you’ll spend most of your time following along with the instructor as we write, analyze, and run real code together – both on your own system, and in the cloud using Amazon’s Elastic MapReduce service. 5 hours of video content is included, with over 15 real examples of increasing complexity you can build, run and study yourself. Move through them at your own pace, on your own schedule. The course wraps up with an overview of other Spark-based technologies, including Spark SQL, Spark Streaming, and GraphX.

Wrangling big data with Apache Spark is an important skill in today’s technical world. Enroll now!

  • ” I studied “Taming Big Data with Apache Spark and Python” with Frank Kane, and helped me build a great platform for Big Data as a Service for my company. I recommend the course!  ” – Cleuton Sampaio De Melo Jr.

Getting Started with Spark


Meet your instructor, and we'll review what this course will cover and what you need to get started.

How to Use This Course

How to find the scripts and data associated with the lectures in this course.

Udemy 101: Getting the Most From This Course
Warning about Java 11 and Spark 2.4.0!

While setting things up, do NOT install Java 9, 10, or 11 - it's not compatible with Spark yet. Scroll down on the JDK download page, and install a JDK for Java 8 instead.

[Activity]Getting Set Up: Installing Python, a JDK, Spark, and its Dependencies.

We'll install Enthought Canopy, a JDK, and Apache Spark on your Windows system. When we're done, we'll run a simple little Spark script on your desktop to test it out!

[Activity] Installing the MovieLens Movie Rating Dataset

Before we can analyze data with Spark, we need some data to analyze! Let's install the MovieLens dataset of movie ratings, which we'll use throughout the course.

[Activity] Run your first Spark program! Ratings histogram example.

We'll run a simple Spark script using Python, and analyze the 100,000 movie ratings you installed in the previous lecture. What is the breakdown of the rating scores in this data set? You'll find it's easy to find out!

Spark Basics and Simple Examples

Introduction to Spark

This high-level introduction will help you understand what Spark is for, who's using it, and why it's such a big deal.

The Resilient Distributed Dataset (RDD)

Understand the core object of Spark: the Resilient Distributed Dataset (RDD), and how you can use Spark to transform and perform actions upon RDD's.

Ratings Histogram Walkthrough

We'll dissect our original ratings histogram Spark example, and understand exactly how every line of it works!

Key/Value RDD's, and the Average Friends by Age Example

You'll learn how to use key/value pairs in RDD's, and special operations you can perform on them. To make it real, we'll introduce a new example: computing the average number of friends by age using a fake social network data set.

[Activity] Running the Average Friends by Age Example

We'll take another look at our "average number of friends by age" example script, actually run it, and examine the results.

Filtering RDD's, and the Minimum Temperature by Location Example

Learn how the filter() operation works on RDD's, and apply this toward finding the minimum temperatures from a real-world weather data set.

[Activity]Running the Minimum Temperature Example, and Modifying it for Maximums

We'll look at the minimum temperatures by location example as a whole, and actually run it! Then, you've got an activity: modify this script to find the maximum temperatures instead. This lecture reinforces using filters and key/value RDD's.

[Activity] Running the Maximum Temperature by Location Example

Check your results for writing a maximum temperature Spark script to my own.

[Activity] Counting Word Occurrences using flatmap()

We'll do the standard "count the number of occurrences of each word in a book" exercise here, and review the differences between map() and flatmap() in the process.

[Activity] Improving the Word Count Script with Regular Expressions

You'll learn how to use regular expressions in Python, and use them to improve the results of our word count script.

[Activity] Sorting the Word Count Results

Finally, we'll learn how to implement countByValue() in a way that returns a new RDD, and sort that RDD to produce our final results for word frequency.

Tally up amount spent by customer using Spark
Sort your results by amount spent per customer

Advanced Examples of Spark Programs

[Activity] Find the Most Popular Movie

We'll write and run a simple script to find the most-rated movie in the MovieLens data set, which we'll build upon later.

[Activity] Use Broadcast Variables to Display Movie Names Instead of ID Numbers

You'll learn how to use "broadcast variables" in Spark to efficiently distribute large objects to every node your Spark program may be running on, and apply this to looking up movie names in our "most popular movie" script.

Find the Most Popular Superhero in a Social Graph

We introduce the Marvel superhero social graph data set, and write a Spark job to find the superhero with the most co-occurrences with other heroes in comic books.

[Activity] Run the Script - Discover Who the Most Popular Superhero is!

Review the source code of our script to discover the most popular superhero, run it, and reveal the answer!

Superhero Degrees of Separation: Introducing Breadth-First Search

We'll introduce the Breadth-First Search (BFS) algorithm, and how we can use it to discover degrees of separation between superheroes.

Superhero Degrees of Separation: Accumulators, and Implementing BFS in Spark

We'll learn how to turn breadth-first search into a Spark problem, and craft our strategy for writing the code. Along the way, we'll cover Spark accumulators and how we can use them to signal our driver script when it's done.

[Activity] Superhero Degrees of Separation: Review the Code and Run it

We'll get our hands on the code to actually implement breadth-first search, and run it to discover the degrees of separation between any two superheroes!

Item-Based Collaborative Filtering in Spark, cache(), and persist()

Learn one technique for finding similar movies based on the MovieLens rating data, and how we can frame it as a Spark problem. We'll also introduce the importance of using cache() or persist() on rdd's that will have more than one action performed on them.

[Activity] Running the Similar Movies Script using Spark's Cluster Manager

We'll review the code for finding similar movies in Spark with the MovieLens ratings data, run it on every available core of your desktop computer, and review the results.

[Exercise] Improve the Quality of Similar Movies

Get your hands dirty! I'll give you some ideas on improving the quality of your similar movie results - go try some out, and mess around with our movie similarity code.

Running Spark on a Cluster

Introducing Elastic MapReduce

Learn how Amazon's Elastic MapReduce makes it easy to rent time on your very own Spark cluster, running on top of Hadoop YARN

[Activity] Setting up your AWS / Elastic MapReduce Account and Setting Up PuTTY

Learn how to set up your AWS account, create a key pair for logging into your Spark / Hadoop cluster, and set up PuTTY to connect to your instances from a Windows desktop.


We'll see what needs to be done to our Movie Similarities script in order to get it to run successfully with one million ratings, on a cluster, by introducing the partitionBy() function.

Create Similar Movies from One Million Ratings - Part 1

We'll study the code of our modified movie similarities script, and get it ready to run on a cluster.

[Activity] Create Similar Movies from One Million Ratings - Part 2

We'll launch a Hadoop cluster with Spark using Amazon's Elastic MapReduce service, and kick off our script to produce similar movies to Star Wars given one million movie ratings.

Create Similar Movies from One Million Ratings - Part 3

We'll look at our results from similar movies from one million ratings, and discuss them.

Troubleshooting Spark on a Cluster

We'll look at the Spark console UI and the information it offers to help understand how to diagnose problems and optimize your large Spark jobs.

More Troubleshooting, and Managing Dependencies

I'll share some more troubleshooting tips when running Spark on a cluster, and talk about how to manage dependencies your code may have.

SparkSQL, DataFrames, and DataSets

Introducing SparkSQL

We'll cover the concepts of SparkSQL, DataFrames, and DataSets, and why they are so important in Spark 2.0 and above.

Executing SQL commands and SQL-style functions on a DataFrame

We'll dive into a real example, revisiting our fake social network data and analyzing it with DataFrames through a SparkSession object.

Using DataFrames instead of RDD's

Let's revisit our "most popular movie" example, and implement it using a DataFrame instead of with RDD's. DataFrames are the preferred API in Spark 2.0+.

Other Spark Technologies and Libraries

Introducing MLLib

We'll briefly cover the capabilities of Spark's MLLib machine learning library, and how it can help you solve data mining, machine learning, and statistical problems you may encounter. We'll go into more depth on MLLib's Alternating Least Squares (ALS) recommendation engine, and how we can use it to produce movie recommendations with the MovieLens data set.

[Activity] Using MLLib to Produce Movie Recommendations

We'll run MLLib's Alternating Least Squares recommender system on the MovieLens 100K dataset.

Analyzing the ALS Recommendations Results

We'll finish running Alternating Least Squares recommendations on the MovieLens ratings data set using MLLib, and evaluate the results.

Using DataFrames with MLLib

DataFrames are the preferred API for MLLib in Spark 2.0+. Let's look at an example of using linear regression with DataFrames.

Spark Streaming and GraphX

An overview of how Spark Streaming lets you process continual streams on input data and aggregate it over time, and how GraphX lets you compute properties of networks.

You Made It! Where to Go from Here.

Learning More about Spark and Data Science

Some suggested resources for learning more about Apache Spark, and data mining and machine learning in general.

Bonus Lecture: Discounts to continue your journey!
You can view and review the lecture materials indefinitely, like an on-demand channel.
Definitely! If you have an internet connection, courses on Udemy are available on any device at any time. If you don't have an internet connection, some instructors also let their students download course lectures. That's up to the instructor though, so make sure you get on their good side!
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