Speculative Approximations for Terascale Analytics
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Speculative Approximations for Terascale Analytics


Model calibration is a major challenge faced by the plethora of statistical analytics packages that are increasingly used in Big Data applications. Identifying the optimal model parameters is a time-consuming process that has to be executed from scratch for every dataset/model combination even by experienced data scientists. We argue that the incapacity to evaluate multiple parameter configurations simultaneously and the lack of support to quickly identify sub-optimal configurations are the principal causes. In this paper, we develop two database-inspired techniques for efficient model calibration. Speculative parameter testing applies advanced parallel multi-query processing methods to evaluate several configurations concurrently. The number of configurations is determined adaptively at runtime, while the configurations themselves are extracted from a distribution that is continuously learned following a Bayesian process. Online aggregation is applied to identify sub-optimal configurations early in the processing by incrementally sampling the training dataset and estimating the objective function corresponding to each configuration. We design concurrent online aggregation estimators and define halting conditions to accurately and timely stop the execution. We apply the proposed techniques to distributed gradient descent optimization -- batch and incremental -- for support vector machines and logistic regression models. We implement the resulting solutions in GLADE PF-OLA -- a state-of-the-art Big Data analytics system -- and evaluate their performance over terascale-size synthetic and real datasets. The results confirm that as many as 32 configurations can be evaluated concurrently almost as fast as one, while sub-optimal configurations are detected accurately in as little as a $1/20^{\text{th}}$ fraction of the time.

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