Dask – Advanced Parallelism for Analytics

Dask is a flexible, open source, parallel computing library for analytic computing. It takes a Python job and shares it across multiple systems.

It’s main virtue is that if you are familiar with Python’s syntax, you’re ready to use Dask.

Dask consists of two components:

  • Dynamic task scheduling optimized for computation. This is similar to Airflow, Luigi, Celery, or Make, but optimized for interactive computational workloads.
  • “Big Data” collections like parallel arrays, dataframes, and lists that extend common interfaces like NumPy, Pandas, or Python iterators to larger-than-memory or distributed environments. These parallel collections run on top of the dynamic task schedulers.

It offers three main interfaces for many popular machine learning and scientific-computing libraries in Python:

  • Array, which works like NumPy arrays.
  • Bag, which is akin to the RDD interface in Spark. Dask.Bag parallelizes computations across a large collection of generic Python objects.
  • DataFrame, which works like Pandas DataFrame.

Features include:

  • Provides parallelized NumPy array and Pandas DataFrame objects.
  • Scale Pandas, scikit-learn, and NumPy workflows with minimal rewriting.
  • Provides a task scheduling interface for more custom workloads and integration with other projects.
  • Enables distributed computing in pure Python with access to the PyData stack.
  • Operates with low overhead, low latency, and minimal serialization necessary for fast numerical algorithms.
  • Runs resiliently on clusters with thousands of cores.
  • Supports encryption and authentication using TLS/SSL certificates.
  • Resilient – can handle the failure of worker nodes gracefully and is elastic.
  • Scales down – easy to set up and run on a laptop in a single process. This is useful if you need to manipulate some datasets without needing to use a cluster.
  • Responsive – designed with interactive computing in mind it provides rapid feedback and diagnostics to aid humans.
  • Diagnostic and investigative tools:
    • Real-time and responsive dashboard that shows current progress, communication costs, memory use, and more, updated every 100ms.
    • A statistical profiler installed on every worker that polls each thread every 10ms to determine which lines in your code are taking up the most time across your entire computation.
    • An embedded IPython kernel in every worker and the scheduler, allowing users to directly investigate the state of their computation with a pop-up terminal
    • The ability to re-raise errors locally, so that they can use the traditional debugging tools to which they are accustomed, even when the error happens remotely.
  • Several user APIs.

Website: dask.org
Support: Documentation, GitHub
Developer: Dask core developers
License: New BSD License

Dask is written in Python. Learn Python with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

Return to Essential Python Tools Home Page | Return to Python Data Analysis Home Page

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