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From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, by MultiMedia

MapReduce is a programming tool developed by Google in C++, in which parallel computations over large (> 1 terabyte) data sets are performed. The terminology of "Map" and "Reduce", and their general idea, is borrowed from functional programming languages use of the constructs map and reduce in functional programming and features of array programming languages.

The actual software is implemented by specifying a Map function that maps key-value pairs to new key-value pairs and a subsequent Reduce function that consolidates all mapped key-value pairs sharing the same keys to single key-value pairs.

map and reduce

In simpler terms, what a map function does is go over a conceptual list of independent elements (for example, a list of test scores) and performs a specified operation on each element (with the previous example, one might have discovered a flaw in the test that gave each student a score too high by one; one could then define a map function of "minus 1"- it would subtract one from each score, correcting them.); the fact that each element is operated on independently, and that the original list is not being modified because a new list is created to hold the answers means that it is very easy to make a map operation highly parallel, and thus useful in high-performance applications and domains like parallel programming.

A reduce operation on the other hand, usually takes a list and combines elements appropriately (Continuing the preceding example, what if one wanted to know the class average? One could define a reduce function which halved the size of the list by adding an entry in the list to its neighbor, recursively continuing until there is only one (large) entry, and dividing the total sum by the original entry of elements to get the average); while since a reduce always ends up with a single answer, it is not as parallelizable as a map function, the large number of fairly independent calculations means that reduce functions are still useful in highly parallel environments.

Distribution and reliability

MapReduce achieves reliability by parceling out a number of operations on the set of data to each node in the network; each node is expected to report back periodically with completed work and status updates. If a node falls silent for longer than that interval, the master node (similar to the master server in the Google File System) records the node as dead, and sends out the node's assigned data to other nodes. Individual operations use atomic operations for naming file outputs as a double check to insure that there are not parallel conflicting threads running; when files are renamed, it is possible to also copy them to another name in addition to the name of the task (allowing for side-effects).

The reduce operations operate much the same way, but because of their inferior properties with regard to parallel operations, the master node attempts to schedule reduce operations on the same node, or as close as possible to the node holding the data being operated on; this property is desirable for Google as it conserves bandwidth, which their internal networks do not have much of.


According to Google, they use MapReduce in a wide range of applications, including: "distributed grep, distributed sort, web link-graph reversal, term-vector per host, web access log stats inverted index construction, document clustering, machine learning, statistical machine translation..." Most significantly, when MapReduce was finished, it was used to completely regenerate Google's index of the Internet, and replaced the old ad hoc programs that updated the index.

MapReduce generates a large number of intermediate, temporary files, which are generally managed by, and accessed through, Google File System, for greater performance.

Other Implementations

The Nutch project has developed an experimental implementation of MapReduce.


"Our abstraction is inspired by the map and reduce primitives present in Lisp and many other functional languages." -"MapReduce: Simplified Data Processing on Large Clusters"

External link

Google Guide made by MultiMedia | Free content and software

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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