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Parallelism with Map/Reduce

In this article, we will explore the Map/Reduce approach to turn a sequential algorithm into parallel

Overview of Map/Reduce

Since the "reduce" operation needs to accumulate results for the whole job, as well as having a communication overhead in sending and collecting data, the Map/Reduce model is more suitable for long running, batch-oriented jobs.

In the Map/Reduce model, "parallelism" is achieved via a "split/sort/merge/join" process and is described as follows.
  • A MapReduce Job starts from a predefined set of Input data (usually sitting in some directory of a distributed file system). A master daemon (which is a central co-ordinator) is started and gets the job configuration.
  • According to the job config, the master daemon will start multiple Mapper daemons as well as Reducer daemons in different machines. And then it starts the input reader to read data from some DFS directory. The input reader will chunk the read data accordingly and send them to a "randomly" chosen Mapper. This is the "split" phase and begins the parallelism.
  • After getting the data chunks, the mapper daemon will run a "user-supplied map function" and produce a collection of (key, value) pairs. Each item within this collection will be sorted according to the key and then sent to the corresponding Reducer daemon. This is the "sort" phase.
  • All items with the same key will come to the same Reducer daemon, which collects all the items of that key and invokes a "user-supplied reduce function" and produce a single entry (key, aggregatedValue) as a result. This is the "merge" phase.
  • The output of reducer daemon will be collected by the Output writer, which is effective the "join" phase and ends the parallelism.
Here is an simple word-counting example ...


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