Q1. What are you trying to do? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon.
Porting Koalas into PySpark to support the pandas API layer on PySpark for:
- Users can easily leverage their existing Spark cluster to scale their pandas workloads.
- Support plot and drawing a chart in PySpark
- Users can easily switch between pandas APIs and PySpark APIs
Q2. What problem is this proposal NOT designed to solve?
Some APIs of pandas are explicitly unsupported. For example, memory_usage in pandas will not be supported because DataFrames are not materialized in memory in Spark unlike pandas.
This does not replace the existing PySpark APIs. PySpark API has lots of users and existing code in many projects, and there are still many PySpark users who prefer Spark’s immutable DataFrame API to the pandas API.
Q3. How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?
The current practice has 2 limits as below.
- There are many features missing in Apache Spark that are very commonly used in data science. Specifically, plotting and drawing a chart is missing which is one of the most important features that almost every data scientist use in their daily work.
- Data scientists tend to prefer pandas APIs, but it is very hard to change them into PySpark APIs when they need to scale their workloads. This is because PySpark APIs are difficult to learn compared to pandas' and there are many missing features in PySpark.
Q4. What is new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?
I believe this suggests a new way for both PySpark and pandas users to easily scale their workloads. I think we can be successful because more and more people tend to use Python and pandas. In fact, there are already similar tries such as Dask and Modin which are all growing fast and successfully.
Q5. Who cares? If you are successful, what difference will it make?
Anyone who wants to scale their pandas workloads on their Spark cluster. It will also significantly improve the usability of PySpark.
Q6. What are the risks?
Technically I don't see many risks yet given that:
- Koalas has grown separately for more than two years, and has greatly improved maturity and stability.
- Koalas will be ported into PySpark as a separate package
It is more about putting documentation and test cases in place properly with properly handling dependencies. For example, Koalas currently uses pytest with various dependencies whereas PySpark uses the plain unittest with fewer dependencies.
In addition, Koalas' default Indexing system could not be much loved because it could potentially cause overhead, so applying it properly to PySpark might be a challenge.
Q7. How long will it take?
Before the Spark 3.2 release.
Q8. What are the mid-term and final “exams” to check for success?
The first check for success would be to make sure that all the existing Koalas APIs and tests work as they are without any affecting the existing Koalas workloads on PySpark.
The last thing to confirm is to check whether the usability and convenience that we aim for is actually increased through user feedback and PySpark usage statistics.
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