PredictionIO's DASE architecture brings the separation-of-concerns design principle to predictive engine development. DASE stands for the following components of an engine:

  • Data - includes Data Source and Data Preparator
  • Algorithm(s)
  • Serving
  • Evaluator

Let's look at the code and see how you can customize the engine you built from the E-Commerce Recommendation Engine Template.

Evaluator will not be covered in this tutorial.

The Engine Design

As you can see from the Quick Start, MyECommerceRecommendation takes a JSON prediction query, e.g. { "user": "u1", "num": 4 }, and return a JSON predicted result. In MyECommerceRecommendation/src/main/scala/Engine.scala, the Query case class defines the format of such query:

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case class Query(
  user: String,
  num: Int,
  categories: Option[Set[String]],
  whiteList: Option[Set[String]],
  blackList: Option[Set[String]]
) extends Serializable

The PredictedResult case class defines the format of predicted result, such as

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{"itemScores":[
  {"item":22,"score":4.07},
  {"item":62,"score":4.05},
  {"item":75,"score":4.04},
  {"item":68,"score":3.81}
]}

with:

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case class PredictedResult(
  itemScores: Array[ItemScore]
) extends Serializable

case class ItemScore(
  item: String,
  score: Double
) extends Serializable

Finally, ECommerceRecommendationEngine is the Engine Factory that defines the components this engine will use: Data Source, Data Preparator, Algorithm(s) and Serving components.

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object ECommerceRecommendationEngine extends IEngineFactory {
  def apply() = {
    new Engine(
      classOf[DataSource],
      classOf[Preparator],
      Map("ecomm" -> classOf[ECommAlgorithm]),
      classOf[Serving])
  }
}

Spark MLlib

The PredictionIO E-Commerce Recommendation Engine Template integrates Spark's MLlib ALS algorithm under the DASE architecture. We will take a closer look at the DASE code below.

The MLlib ALS algorithm takes training data of RDD type, i.e. RDD[Rating] and train a model, which is a MatrixFactorizationModel object.

You can visit here to learn more about MLlib's ALS collaborative filtering algorithm.

Data

In the DASE architecture, data is prepared by 2 components sequentially: DataSource and DataPreparator. They take data from the data store and prepare them for Algorithm.

Data Source

In MyECommerceRecommendation/src/main/scala/DataSource.scala, the readTraining method of class DataSource reads and selects data from the Event Store (data store of the Event Server). It returns TrainingData.

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case class DataSourceParams(appName: String) extends Params

class DataSource(val dsp: DataSourceParams)
  extends PDataSource[TrainingData,
      EmptyEvaluationInfo, Query, EmptyActualResult] {

  @transient lazy val logger = Logger[this.type]

  override
  def readTraining(sc: SparkContext): TrainingData = {

    // create a RDD of (entityID, User)
    val usersRDD: RDD[(String, User)] = PEventStore.aggregateProperties(...) ...

    // create a RDD of (entityID, Item)
    val itemsRDD: RDD[(String, Item)] = PEventStore.aggregateProperties(...) ...

    // get all "user" "view" or "buy" "item" events from event store
    val eventsRDD: RDD[Event] = PEventStore.find(...) ...

    // filter all view events
    val viewEventsRDD: RDD[ViewEvent] = eventsRDD.filter { ... } ...

    // filter all buy events
    val buyEventsRDD: RDD[BuyEvent] = eventsRDD.filter { ...} ...

    new TrainingData(
      users = usersRDD,
      items = itemsRDD,
      viewEvents = viewEventsRDD,
      buyEvents = buyEventsRDD
    )
  }
}

PredictionIO automatically loads the parameters of datasource specified in MyECommerceRecommendation/engine.json, including appName, to dsp.

In engine.json:

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{
  ...
  "datasource": {
    "params" : {
      "appName": "MyApp1"
    }
  },
  ...
}

In readTraining(), PEventStore is an object which provides function to access dataa that is collected by PredictionIO Event Server.

This E-Commerce Recommendation Engine Template requires "user" and "item" entities that are set by events.

PEventStore.aggregateProperties(...) aggregates properties of the user and item that are set, unset, or delete by special events $set, $unset and $delete. Please refer to Event API for more details of using these events.

The following code aggregates the properties of user and then map each result to a User() object.

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  // create a RDD of (entityID, User)
  val usersRDD: RDD[(String, User)] = PEventStore.aggregateProperties(
    appName = dsp.appName,
    entityType = "user"
  )(sc).map { case (entityId, properties) =>
    val user = try {
      User()
    } catch {
      case e: Exception => {
        logger.error(s"Failed to get properties ${properties} of" +
          s" user ${entityId}. Exception: ${e}.")
        throw e
      }
    }
    (entityId, user)
  }.cache()

In the template, User() object is a simple dummy as a placeholder for you to customize and expand.

Similarly, the following code aggregates item properties and then map each result to an Item() object. By default, this template assumes each item has an optional property categories, which is a list of String.

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  // create a RDD of (entityID, Item)
  val itemsRDD: RDD[(String, Item)] = PEventStore.aggregateProperties(
    appName = dsp.appName,
    entityType = "item"
  )(sc).map { case (entityId, properties) =>
    val item = try {
      // Assume categories is optional property of item.
      Item(categories = properties.getOpt[List[String]]("categories"))
    } catch {
      case e: Exception => {
        logger.error(s"Failed to get properties ${properties} of" +
          s" item ${entityId}. Exception: ${e}.")
        throw e
      }
    }
    (entityId, item)
  }.cache()

The Item case class is defined as

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case class Item(categories: Option[List[String]])

PEventStore.find(...) specifies the events that you want to read. In this case, "user view item" and "user buy item" events are read

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  // get all "user" "view" "item" events
  val eventsRDD: RDD[Event] = PEventStore.find(
      appName = dsp.appName,
      entityType = Some("user"),
      eventNames = Some(List("view", "buy")),
      // targetEntityType is optional field of an event.
      targetEntityType = Some(Some("item")))(sc)
      .cache()

Note that .cache() is used to cache the RDD data into memory since eventsRDD will be used multiple times later.

Then we filter the events we are intersted in and map the event to a ViewEvent object.

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  val viewEventsRDD: RDD[ViewEvent] = eventsRDD
      .filter { event => event.event == "view" }
      .map { event =>
        try {
          ViewEvent(
            user = event.entityId,
            item = event.targetEntityId.get,
            t = event.eventTime.getMillis
          )
        } catch {
          case e: Exception =>
            logger.error(s"Cannot convert ${event} to ViewEvent." +
              s" Exception: ${e}.")
            throw e
        }
      }

ViewEvent case class is defined as:

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case class ViewEvent(user: String, item: String, t: Long)

We filter buy event in similar way and map to BuyEvent object for later use.

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  val buyEventsRDD: RDD[BuyEvent] = eventsRDD
      .filter { event => event.event == "buy" }
      .map { event =>
        try {
          BuyEvent(
            user = event.entityId,
            item = event.targetEntityId.get,
            t = event.eventTime.getMillis
          )
        } catch {
          case e: Exception =>
            logger.error(s"Cannot convert ${event} to BuyEvent." +
              s" Exception: ${e}.")
            throw e
        }
      }

BuyEvent case class is defined as:

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case class BuyEvent(user: String, item: String, t: Long)

For flexibility, this template is designed to support user ID and item ID in String.

TrainingData contains an RDD of User, Item and ViewEvent objects. The class definition of TrainingData is:

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class TrainingData(
  val users: RDD[(String, User)],
  val items: RDD[(String, Item)],
  val viewEvents: RDD[ViewEvent],
  val buyEvents: RDD[BuyEvent]
) extends Serializable { ... }

PredictionIO then passes the returned TrainingData object to Data Preparator.

You could modify the DataSource to read other event other than the default view or buy.

Data Preparator

In MyECommerceRecommendation/src/main/scala/Preparator.scala, the prepare method of class Preparator takes TrainingData as its input and performs any necessary feature selection and data processing tasks. At the end, it returns PreparedData which should contain the data Algorithm needs.

By default, prepare simply copies the unprocessed TrainingData data to PreparedData:

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class Preparator
  extends PPreparator[TrainingData, PreparedData] {

  def prepare(sc: SparkContext, trainingData: TrainingData): PreparedData = {
    new PreparedData(
      users = trainingData.users,
      items = trainingData.items,
      viewEvents = trainingData.viewEvents,
      buyEvents = trainingData.buyEvents)
  }
}

class PreparedData(
  val users: RDD[(String, User)],
  val items: RDD[(String, Item)],
  val viewEvents: RDD[ViewEvent],
  val buyEvents: RDD[BuyEvent]
) extends Serializable

PredictionIO passes the returned PreparedData object to Algorithm's train function.

Algorithm

In MyECommerceRecommendation/src/main/scala/ECommAlgorithm.scala, the two methods of the algorithm class are train and predict. train is responsible for training the predictive model;predict is responsible for using this model to make prediction.

Algorithm parameters

The ECommAlgorithm takes the following parameters, as defined by the ECommAlgorithmParams case class:

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case class ECommAlgorithmParams(
  appName: String,
  unseenOnly: Boolean,
  seenEvents: List[String],
  similarEvents: List[String],
  rank: Int,
  numIterations: Int,
  lambda: Double,
  seed: Option[Long]
) extends Params

Parameter description:

  • appName: Your App name. Events defined by "seenEvents" and "similarEvents" will be read from this app during predict.
  • unseenOnly: true or false. Set to true if you want to recommmend unseen items only. Seen items are defined by seenEvents which mean if the user has these events on the items, then it's treated as seen.
  • seenEvents: A list of user-to-item events which will be treated as seen events. Used when unseenOnly is set to true.
  • similarEvents: A list of user-item-item events which will be used to find similar items to the items which the user has performend these events on.
  • rank: Parameter of the MLlib ALS algorithm. Number of latent features.
  • numIterations: Parameter of the MLlib ALS algorithm. Number of iterations.
  • lambda: Regularization parameter of the MLlib ALS algorithm.
  • seed: Optional. A random seed of the MLlib ALS algorithm. Specify a fixed value if want to have deterministic result.

train(...)

train is called when you run pio train. This is where MLlib ALS algorithm, i.e. ALS.trainImplicit(), is used to train a predictive model. In addition, we also count the number of items being bought for each item as default model which will be used when there is no ALS model avaiable or other useful information about the user is avaiable during predict.

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  def train(sc: SparkContext, data: PreparedData): ECommModel = {
    ...

    // create User and item's String ID to integer index BiMap
    val userStringIntMap = BiMap.stringInt(data.users.keys)
    val itemStringIntMap = BiMap.stringInt(data.items.keys)

    // generate MLlibRating data for ALS algorithm
    val mllibRatings: RDD[MLlibRating] = genMLlibRating(
      userStringIntMap = userStringIntMap,
      itemStringIntMap = itemStringIntMap,
      data = data
    )

    // seed for MLlib ALS
    val seed = ap.seed.getOrElse(System.nanoTime)

    val m = ALS.trainImplicit(
      ratings = mllibRatings,
      rank = ap.rank,
      iterations = ap.numIterations,
      lambda = ap.lambda,
      blocks = -1,
      alpha = 1.0,
      seed = seed)

    ...

    // count the number of items being bought for recommendation popular items as default case
    val popularCount = trainDefault(
      userStringIntMap = userStringIntMap,
      itemStringIntMap = itemStringIntMap,
      data = data
    )
    ...

  }

Working with Spark MLlib's ALS.trainImplicit(....)

MLlib ALS does not support String user ID and item ID. ALS.trainImplicit thus also assumes int-only Rating object. First, you can rename MLlib's Integer-only Rating to MLlibRating for clarity:

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import org.apache.spark.mllib.recommendation.{Rating => MLlibRating}

In order to use MLlib's ALS algorithm, we need to convert the viewEvents into MLlibRating. There are two things we need to handle:

  1. Map user and item String ID of the ViewEvent into Integer ID, as required by MLlibRating.
  2. ViewEvent object is an implicit event that does not have an explicit rating value. ALS.trainImplicit() supports implicit preference. If the MLlibRating has higher rating value, it means higher confidence that the user prefers the item. Hence we can aggregate how many times the user has viewed the item to indicate the confidence level that the user may prefer the item.

You create a bi-directional map with BiMap.stringInt which maps each String record to an Integer index.

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val userStringIntMap = BiMap.stringInt(data.users.keys)
val itemStringIntMap = BiMap.stringInt(data.items.keys)

Then convert the user and item String ID in each ViewEvent to Int with these BiMaps. We use default -1 if the user or item String ID couldn't be found in the BiMap and filter out these events with invalid user and item ID later. After filtering, we use reduceByKey() to add up all values for the same key (uindex, iindex) and then finally map to MLlibRating object. You can find the code inside the function genMLlibRating():

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  def genMLlibRating(
    userStringIntMap: BiMap[String, Int],
    itemStringIntMap: BiMap[String, Int],
    data: PreparedData): RDD[MLlibRating] = {

    val mllibRatings = data.viewEvents
      .map { r =>
        // Convert user and item String IDs to Int index for MLlib
        val uindex = userStringIntMap.getOrElse(r.user, -1)
        val iindex = itemStringIntMap.getOrElse(r.item, -1)

        if (uindex == -1)
          logger.info(s"Couldn't convert nonexistent user ID ${r.user}"
            + " to Int index.")

        if (iindex == -1)
          logger.info(s"Couldn't convert nonexistent item ID ${r.item}"
            + " to Int index.")

        ((uindex, iindex), 1)
      }
      .filter { case ((u, i), v) =>
        // keep events with valid user and item index
        (u != -1) && (i != -1)
      }
      .reduceByKey(_ + _) // aggregate all view events of same user-item pair
      .map { case ((u, i), v) =>
        // MLlibRating requires integer index for user and item
        MLlibRating(u, i, v)
      }
      .cache()

    mllibRatings
  }

You can customize this function if you want to convert other events to MLlibRating or need different ways to aggreagte the events into MLlibRating.

In addition to RDD[MLlibRating], ALS.trainImplicit takes the following parameters: rank, iterations, lambda and seed.

The values of these parameters are specified in algorithms of MyECommerceRecommendation/engine.json:

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{
  ...
  "algorithms": [
    {
      "name": "als",
      "params": {
        "appName": "MyApp1",
        "unseenOnly": true,
        "seenEvents": ["buy", "view"],
        "similarEvents" : ["view"]
        "rank": 10,
        "numIterations" : 20,
        "lambda": 0.01,
        "seed": 3
      }
    }
  ]
  ...
}

The parameters appName, unseenOnly, seenEvents and similarEvents are used during predict(), which will be explained later.

PredictionIO will automatically loads these values into the constructor ap, which has a corresponding case class ECommAlgorithmParams.

The seed parameter is an optional parameter, which is used by MLlib ALS algorithm internally to generate random values. If the seed is not specified, current system time would be used and hence each train may produce different reuslts. Specify a fixed value for the seed if you want to have deterministic result (For example, when you are testing).

ALS.trainImplicit() returns a MatrixFactorizationModel model which contains two RDDs: userFeatures and productFeatures. They correspond to the user X latent features matrix and item X latent features matrix, respectively.

In addition to the latent feature vector, the item properties (e.g. categories) and popular count are also used during predict(). Hence, we also save these data along with the feature vector by joining them and then collect the data as local Map. Each item is represented by a ProductModel class, which cosists of the item information, features calculated by ALS, and count returned by trainDefault().

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case class ProductModel(
  item: Item,
  features: Option[Array[Double]], // features by ALS
  count: Int // popular count for default score
)

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    // join item with the trained productFeatures
    val productFeatures: Map[Int, (Item, Option[Array[Double]])] =
      items.leftOuterJoin(m.productFeatures).collectAsMap.toMap

    ...

    val productModels: Map[Int, ProductModel] = productFeatures
      .map { case (index, (item, features)) =>
        val pm = ProductModel(
          item = item,
          features = features,
          // NOTE: use getOrElse because popularCount may not contain all items.
          count = popularCount.getOrElse(index, 0)
        )
        (index, pm)
      }

    new ECommModel(
      rank = m.rank,
      userFeatures = userFeatures,
      productModels = productModels,
      userStringIntMap = userStringIntMap,
      itemStringIntMap = itemStringIntMap
    )

Note that leftOuterJoin is used because the productFeatures returned by ALS may not contain all items.

The ECommModel is defined as the following:

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class ECommModel(
  val rank: Int,
  val userFeatures: Map[Int, Array[Double]],
  val productModels: Map[Int, ProductModel],
  val userStringIntMap: BiMap[String, Int],
  val itemStringIntMap: BiMap[String, Int]
) extends Serializable  { ... }

PredictionIO will automatically store the returned model after training, i.e. ECommModel in this example.

predict(...)

predict is called when you send a JSON query to http://localhost:8000/queries.json. PredictionIO converts the query, such as { "user": "u1", "num": 4 } to the Query class you defined previously.

We can use the userFeatures and productFeatures stored in ECommModel to calculate the scores of items for the user.

This template also supports additional business logic features, such as filtering items by categories, recommending items in the white list, excluding items in the black list, recommend unseen items only, and exclude unavaiable items defined in constraint event.

The predict() function does the following:

  1. Convert the item in query's whilteList from string ID to integer index
  2. Get a list seen items by the user (defined by parmater seenEvents)
  3. Get the latest unavailableItems which is used to exclude unavailable items for all users
  4. Combine query's blackList, seenItems, and unavailableItems into a final black list of items to be excluded from recommendation.
  5. Get the user feature vector from the ECommModel.
  6. If there is feature vector for the user, recommend top N items based on the user feature and prodcut features.
  7. If there is no feature vector for the user, use the recent items acted by the user (defined by similarEvents parameter) to recommend similar items.
  8. If there is no recent similarEvents available for the user, popular items are then recommended (added in template version 0.4.0).

Only items which satisfy the isCandidate() condition will be recommended. By default, the item can be recommended if:

  • it belongs to one of the categories defined in query.
  • it is one of the white list items if white list is defined.
  • it is not in the black list.

You can easily modify isCandidate() checking or related logic if you have different requirements or condition to determine if an item is a candidate item to be recommended.

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  def predict(model: ECommModel, query: Query): PredictedResult = {

    val userFeatures = model.userFeatures
    val productFeatures = model.productFeatures

    // convert whiteList's string ID to integer index
    val whiteList: Option[Set[Int]] = query.whiteList.map( set =>
      set.map(model.itemStringIntMap.get(_)).flatten
    )

    // generate final blackList based on additional constraints
    val finalBlackList: Set[Int] = genBlackList(query = query)
      // convert seen Items list from String ID to interger Index
      .flatMap(x => model.itemStringIntMap.get(x))

    // look up user feature from model
    val userFeature =
      model.userStringIntMap.get(query.user).map { userIndex =>
        userFeatures.get(userIndex)
      }
      // flatten Option[Option[Array[Double]]] to Option[Array[Double]]
      .flatten

    val topScores: Array[(Int, Double)] = if (userFeature.isDefined) {
      // the user has feature vector
      predictKnownUser(
        userFeature = userFeature.get,
        productModels = productModels,
        query = query,
        whiteList = whiteList,
        blackList = finalBlackList
      )
    } else {
      // the user doesn't have feature vector.
      // For example, new user is created after model is trained.
      logger.info(s"No userFeature found for user ${query.user}.")

      // check if the user has recent events on some items
      val recentItems: Set[String] = getRecentItems(query)
      val recentList: Set[Int] = recentItems.flatMap (x =>
        model.itemStringIntMap.get(x))

      val recentFeatures: Vector[Array[Double]] = recentList.toVector
        // productModels may not contain the requested item
        .map { i =>
          productModels.get(i).flatMap { pm => pm.features }
        }.flatten

      if (recentFeatures.isEmpty) {
        logger.info(s"No features vector for recent items ${recentItems}.")
        predictDefault(
          productModels = productModels,
          query = query,
          whiteList = whiteList,
          blackList = finalBlackList
        )
      } else {
        predictSimilar(
          recentFeatures = recentFeatures,
          productModels = productModels,
          query = query,
          whiteList = whiteList,
          blackList = finalBlackList
        )
      }
    }

    ...
  }

Note that the item IDs in top N results are the Int indices. You map them back to String with itemIntStringMap before they are returned.

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  val itemScores = topScores.map { case (i, s) =>
    new ItemScore(
      // convert item int index back to string ID
      item = model.itemIntStringMap(i),
      score = s
    )
  }

  new PredictedResult(itemScores)

PredictionIO passes the returned PredictedResult object to Serving.

Serving

The serve method of class Serving processes predicted result. It is also responsible for combining multiple predicted results into one if you have more than one predictive model. Serving then returns the final predicted result. PredictionIO will convert it to a JSON response automatically.

In MyECommerceRecommendation/src/main/scala/Serving.scala,

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class Serving
  extends LServing[Query, PredictedResult] {

  override
  def serve(query: Query,
    predictedResults: Seq[PredictedResult]): PredictedResult = {
    predictedResults.head
  }
}

When you send a JSON query to http://localhost:8000/queries.json, PredictedResult from all models will be passed to serve as a sequence, i.e. Seq[PredictedResult].

An engine can train multiple models if you specify more than one Algorithm component in object RecommendationEngine inside Engine.scala. Since only one ECommAlgorithm is implemented by default, this Seq contains one element.