This article explains amplify technique that is useful for improving prediction score.

Iterations are mandatory in machine learning (e.g., in stochastic gradient descent) to get good prediction models. However, MapReduce is known to be not suited for iterative algorithms because IN/OUT of each MapReduce job is through HDFS.

In this example, we show how Hivemall deals with this problem. We use KDD Cup 2012, Track 2 Task as an example.

WARNING: rand_amplify() is supported in v0.2-beta1 and later.

Amplify training examples in Map phase and shuffle them in Reduce phase

Hivemall provides the amplify UDTF to enumerate iteration effects in machine learning without several MapReduce steps.

The amplify function returns multiple rows for each row. The first argument ${xtimes} is the multiplication factor.
In the following examples, the multiplication factor is set to 3.

set hivevar:xtimes=3;

create or replace view training_x3
from (
   amplify(${xtimes}, *) as (rowid, label, features)
) t
CLUSTER BY rand();

In the above example, the CLUSTER BY clause distributes Map outputs to reducers using a random key for the distribution key. And then, the input records of the reducer is randomly shuffled.

The multiplication of records and the random shuffling has a similar effect to iterations. So, we recommend users to use an amplified view for training as follows:

create table lr_model_x3 
 cast(avg(weight) as float) as weight
     logress(features,label) as (feature,weight)
 ) t 
group by feature;

The above query is executed by 2 MapReduce jobs as shown below:


Using trainning_x3 instead of the plain training table results in higher and better AUC (0.746214) in this example.

A problem in amplify() is that the shuffle (copy) and merge phase of the stage 1 could become a bottleneck. When the training table is so large that involves 100 Map tasks, the merge operator needs to merge at least 100 files by (external) merge sort!

Note that the actual bottleneck is not M/R iterations but shuffling training instance. Iteration without shuffling (as in the Spark example) causes very slow convergence and results in requiring more iterations. Shuffling cannot be avoided even in iterative MapReduce variants.

amplify elapsed

Amplify and shuffle training examples in each Map task

To deal with large training data, Hivemall provides rand_amplify UDTF that randomly shuffles input rows in a Map task. The rand_amplify UDTF outputs rows in a random order when the local buffer specified by ${shufflebuffersize} is filled.

With rand_amplify(), the view definition of training_x3 becomes as follows:

set hivevar:shufflebuffersize=1000;

create or replace view training_x3
   rand_amplify(${xtimes}, ${shufflebuffersize}, *) as (rowid, label, features)

The training query is executed as follows:

Random amplify

The map-local multiplication and shuffling has no bottleneck in the merge phase and the query is efficiently executed within a single MapReduce job.

rand_amplify elapsed

Using rand_amplify results in a better AUC (0.743392) in this example.


We recommend users to use amplify() for small training inputs and to use rand_amplify() for large training inputs to get a better accuracy in a reasonable training time.

Plain 89.718 0.734805
amplifier+clustered by 479.855 0.746214
rand_amplifier 116.424 0.743392

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