Danny Luo Data Scientist, UToronto Math & Physics Student

Spark Performance Tuning

At ZeroGravityLabs, Taraneh Khazaei and I co-authored a fantastic blog post that details resolutions of common Spark performance issues. It was featured on the Roaring Elephant - Bite-Sized Big Data podcast.

Spark Performance Tuning: A Checklist

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Data Science Resources

I have made a list of useful data science resources and recommended study routes. This will be updated from time to time.

Check it out here.

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Toronto Apache Spark 19

TAS 19 2

I had the pleasure of presenting how to set up Spark with Jupyter on AWS at Toronto Apache Spark #19.

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HackOn(Data) 2017

HackOn(Data) 2017

HackOn(Data), Toronto’s very own data hackathon in the heart of downtown, is back for 2017!

At HackOn(Data) last year, I learned a lot, had lots of fun, and made industry connections that landed me and my teammate great summer internships (my blog post). This year I plan on volunteering for HackOn(Data) 2017.

I highly recommend HackOn(Data). Register at hackondata.com/2017!

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University of Toronto Data Science Team

The UDST Kaggle Team discussing strategies for the kaggle Data Science Bowl 2017

Over the past school year (2016-2017), I have been participating in kaggle competitions with the University of Toronto Data Science Team (UDST).

We have participated in competitions such as the Outbrain Click Prediction, DSTL Satellite Imagery Feature Detection and Data Science Bowl 2017. I have learned a lot from my participation in UDST. In fact, it was these competitions that led me to write my spark-Jupyter-AWS guide, and the posts on multi-cpu data processing and s3 data access with boto3.

If you are a UofT student or simply a data enthusiast in the Toronto area, come check us out! We will be continuing activities in the summer of 2017.

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Multi-CPU Data Processing

Using all 8 CPUs of an AWS EC2 c4.2xlarge instance. Keep an eye on your memory!

When the University of Toronto Data Science Team participated in Data Science Bowl 2017, we had to preprocess a large dataset (~150GB, compressed) of lung CT images. I was tasked with the following:

  • Read data from S3 bucket
  • Pre-process the lung CT images, following this tutorial
  • Write the pre-processed image array back to S3

For S3 I/O on python, see my other post. In order to analyze the data efficiently, I used the python package multiprocessing to maximize CPU usage on an AWS compute instance. The result: Multi-CPU processing on a c4.2xlarge was 6 times faster than ordinary pre-processing on my local computer.

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Accessing S3 Data in Python with boto3

Working with the University of Toronto Data Science Team on kaggle competitions, there was only so much you could do on your local computer. So, when we had to analyze 100GB of satellite images for the kaggle DSTL challenge, we moved to cloud computing.

We chose AWS for its ubiquity and familiarity. To prepare the data pipeline, I downloaded the data from kaggle onto a EC2 virtual instance, unzipped it, and stored it on S3. Storing the unzipped data prevents you from having to unzip it every time you want to use the data, which takes a considerable amount of time. However, this increases the size of the data substantially and as a result, incurs higher storage costs.

Now that the data was stored on AWS, the question was: How do we programmatically access the S3 data to incorporate it into our workflow? The following details how to do so in python.

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My Experience as a TA

TA 2

I’ve always loved to teach. In high school, I lead an AP Physics group for one and a half years in which I taught my fellow students the AP Physics B curriculum in preparation for the AP examination. I found teaching to be a very fulfilling experience. It added a new dimension of meaning to my knowledge: I didn’t learn just for my own sake but also so I may help others learn.

In my first year at the University of Toronto, I resolved to become a Teaching Assistant. At UofT, TAs mainly teach tutorials, small interactive classes that focus on the practical applications of concepts taught in lectures. I was motivated by my own experiences in tutorials: the usefulness of having a good TA and the frustration of having a bad one. I wanted to be that good TA.

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Book List

My Book List is now live! Come take a look at what I’ve read so far.

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HackOn(Data) 2016


For our third-place project description, click here
For the video of our presentation, click here

Last September, I participated in HackOn(Data), a two-day data hackathon in Toronto. It was the first year it was held and one of the few data science competitions in Toronto. I learned a lot, met similar-minded data enthusiasts and even ended up winning third-place with my teammate Chris!

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