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Apache Spark is an open-source cluster computing framework. It has emerged as the next generation big data processing engine, overtaking Hadoop MapReduce which helped ignite the big data revolution. Spark maintains MapReduce’s linear scalability and fault tolerance, but extends it in a few important ways: it is much faster (100 times faster for certain applications), much easier to program in due to its rich APIs in Python, Java, Scala (and R), and its core data abstraction, the distributed data frame, and it goes far beyond batch applications to support a variety of compute-intensive tasks, including interactive queries, streaming, machine learning, and graph processing.

This tutorial will provide an accessible introduction to those not already familiar with Spark and its potential to revolutionize academic and commercial data science practices. It is divided into two parts: the first part will introduce fundamental Spark concepts, including Spark Core, data frames, the Spark Shell, Spark Streaming, Spark SQL, MLlib, and more; the second part will focus on hands-on algorithmic design and development with Spark (developing algorithms from scratch such as decision tree learning, graph processing algorithms such as pagerank/shortest path, gradient descent algorithms such as support vectors machines and matrix factorization. Industrial applications and deployments of Spark will also be presented. Example code will be made available in python (PySpark) notebooks.

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