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RAPIDS Plugin for Apache Spark Developer Overview

This document provides a developer overview of the project and covers the following topics:

Spark SQL and Query Plans

Apache Spark provides a module for working with structured data called Spark SQL. Spark takes SQL queries, or the equivalent in the DataFrame API, and creates an unoptimized logical plan to execute the query. That plan is then optimized by Catalyst, a query optimizer built into Apache Spark. Catalyst optimizes the logical plan in a series of phases and eventually forms a physical plan that is used to execute the query on the Spark cluster. Executing a SQL EXPLAIN statement or using the .explain method on a DataFrame will show how Catalyst has planned to execute the query.

Catalyst Query Plans

Catalyst Query plans consist of a directed, acyclic graph of executor nodes. Each node has an output schema and zero or more child nodes that provide input. The tree of executor nodes is rooted at the node that will produce the final output of the query. The leaves of the tree are the executors that will load the initial data for the query (e.g.: table scans, etc.).

For example, the following shows the Spark explanation of a query plan. Note how the tree is rooted at the Sort node which is the last step in the query. The leaves of the tree are BatchScan operations on files.

== Physical Plan ==
*(7) Sort [o_orderpriority#5 ASC NULLS FIRST], true, 0
+- Exchange rangepartitioning(o_orderpriority#5 ASC NULLS FIRST, 200), true, [id=#446]
   +- *(6) HashAggregate(keys=[o_orderpriority#5], functions=[count(1)])
      +- Exchange hashpartitioning(o_orderpriority#5, 200), true, [id=#442]
         +- *(5) HashAggregate(keys=[o_orderpriority#5], functions=[partial_count(1)])
            +- *(5) Project [o_orderpriority#5]
               +- SortMergeJoin [o_orderkey#0L], [l_orderkey#18L], LeftSemi
                  :- *(2) Sort [o_orderkey#0L ASC NULLS FIRST], false, 0
                  :  +- Exchange hashpartitioning(o_orderkey#0L, 200), true, [id=#424]
                  :     +- *(1) Project [o_orderkey#0L, o_orderpriority#5]
                  :        +- *(1) Filter ((isnotnull(o_orderdate#4) AND (o_orderdate#4 >= 8582)) AND (o_orderdate#4 < 8674))
                  :           +- *(1) ColumnarToRow
                  :              +- BatchScan[o_orderkey#0L, o_orderdate#4, o_orderpriority#5] ParquetScan Location: InMemoryFileIndex[file:/home/example/parquet/orders.tbl], ReadSchema: struct<o_orderkey:bigint,o_orderdate:date,o_orderpriority:string>
                  +- *(4) Sort [l_orderkey#18L ASC NULLS FIRST], false, 0
                     +- Exchange hashpartitioning(l_orderkey#18L, 200), true, [id=#433]
                        +- *(3) Project [l_orderkey#18L]
                           +- *(3) Filter (((l_commitdate#29 < l_receiptdate#30) AND isnotnull(l_commitdate#29)) AND isnotnull(l_receiptdate#30))
                              +- *(3) ColumnarToRow
                                 +- BatchScan[l_orderkey#18L, l_commitdate#29, l_receiptdate#30] ParquetScan Location: InMemoryFileIndex[file:/home/example/parquet/lineitem.tbl], ReadSchema: struct<l_orderkey:bigint,l_commitdate:date,l_receiptdate:date>

How Spark Executes the Physical Plan

Each node in the tree pulls inputs from child nodes via iterators of rows and produces output via an iterator of rows. Therefore executing the plan consists of pulling rows from the output iterator of the root node. That in turn will need to pull values from the input nodes, chaining all the way down the tree until eventually the iterator of the leaf nodes is pulled and causes the reading of rows from the raw input data.

How the RAPIDS Plugin Works

The plugin leverages two main features in Spark. The first is a plugin interface in Catalyst that allows the optimizer to be extended. The plugin is a Catalyst extension that analyzes the physical plan and replaces executor and expression nodes with GPU versions when those operations can be performed on the GPU. The other feature is columnar processing which allows extensions to operate on Spark SQL data in a ColumnarBatch form. Processing columnar data is much more GPU friendly than row-by-row processing.

For example, the same query plan shown above becomes the following plan after being processed by the RAPIDS plugin:

*(5) Sort [o_orderpriority#5 ASC NULLS FIRST], true, 0
+- Exchange rangepartitioning(o_orderpriority#5 ASC NULLS FIRST, 200), true, [id=#611]
   +- *(4) HashAggregate(keys=[o_orderpriority#5], functions=[count(1)])
      +- Exchange hashpartitioning(o_orderpriority#5, 200), true, [id=#607]
         +- *(3) HashAggregate(keys=[o_orderpriority#5], functions=[partial_count(1)])
            +- *(3) GpuColumnarToRow false
               +- !GpuProject [o_orderpriority#5]
                  +- GpuRowToColumnar TargetSize(1000000)
                     +- SortMergeJoin [o_orderkey#0L], [l_orderkey#18L], LeftSemi
                        :- *(1) GpuColumnarToRow false
                        :  +- !GpuSort [o_orderkey#0L ASC NULLS FIRST], false, 0
                        :     +- GpuCoalesceBatches com.nvidia.spark.rapids.PreferSingleBatch$@40dcd875
                        :        +- !GpuColumnarExchange gpuhashpartitioning(o_orderkey#0L, 200), true, [id=#543]
                        :           +- !GpuProject [o_orderkey#0L, o_orderpriority#5]
                        :              +- GpuCoalesceBatches TargetSize(1000000)
                        :                 +- !GpuFilter ((gpuisnotnull(o_orderdate#4) AND (o_orderdate#4 >= 8582)) AND (o_orderdate#4 < 8674))
                        :                    +- GpuBatchScan[o_orderkey#0L, o_orderdate#4, o_orderpriority#5] GpuParquetScan Location: InMemoryFileIndex[file:/home/example/parquet/orders.tbl], ReadSchema: struct<o_orderkey:bigint,o_orderdate:date,o_orderpriority:string>
                        +- *(2) GpuColumnarToRow false
                           +- !GpuSort [l_orderkey#18L ASC NULLS FIRST], false, 0
                              +- GpuCoalesceBatches com.nvidia.spark.rapids.PreferSingleBatch$@40dcd875
                                 +- !GpuColumnarExchange gpuhashpartitioning(l_orderkey#18L, 200), true, [id=#551]
                                    +- !GpuProject [l_orderkey#18L]
                                       +- GpuCoalesceBatches TargetSize(1000000)
                                          +- !GpuFilter (((l_commitdate#29 < l_receiptdate#30) AND gpuisnotnull(l_commitdate#29)) AND gpuisnotnull(l_receiptdate#30))
                                             +- GpuBatchScan[l_orderkey#18L, l_commitdate#29, l_receiptdate#30] GpuParquetScan Location: InMemoryFileIndex[file:/home/example/parquet/lineitem.tbl], ReadSchema: struct<l_orderkey:bigint,l_commitdate:date,l_receiptdate:date>

Notice how most of the nodes in the original plan have been replaced with GPU versions. In the cases where nodes were not replaced, the plugin inserts data format conversion nodes, like GpuColumnarToRow and GpuRowToColumnar to convert between columnar processing for nodes that will execute on the GPU and row processing for nodes that will execute on the CPU.

Plugin Replacement Rules

The plugin uses a set of rules to update the query plan. The physical plan is walked, node by node, looking up rules based on the type of node (e.g.: scan, executor, expression, etc.), and applying the rule that matches. See the ColumnarOverrideRules and GpuOverrides classes for more details.

There is a separate guide for working with Adaptive Query Execution.

Guidelines for Replacing Catalyst Executors and Expressions

Most development work in the plugin involves translating various Catalyst executor and expression nodes into new nodes that execute on the GPU. This section provides tips on how to construct a new Catalyst node class that will execute on the GPU.

Setting Up the Class

Catalyst requires that all query plan nodes are case classes. Since the GPU versions of nodes often shares significant functionality with the original CPU version, it is tempting to derive directly from the CPU class. Do NOT derive from the case class!. Case class derivation, while currently allowed in Scala, is not guaranteed to continue working in the future. In addition it can cause subtle problems when these derived nodes appear in the query plan because the derived case class compares as equal to the parent case class when using the parent’s comparator method.

The proper way to setup the class is to create a new case class that derives from the same parent class of the CPU node case class. Any methods overridden by the CPU node case class should be examined closely to see if the same overrides need to appear in the GPU version.

Adding Configuration Properties

All plugin configuration properties should be cataloged in the RapidsConf class. Every property needs well-written documentation, and this documentation is used to automatically generate the plugin configuration documentation.

Generating the Configuration Documentation

The plugin configuration documentation can be generated by executing the method. An easy way to do this is to use the Spark shell REPL then copy-n-paste the resulting output. For example:

scala> import com.nvidia.spark.rapids.RapidsConf
import com.nvidia.spark.rapids.RapidsConf

# Rapids Plugin 4 Spark Configuration
The following is the list of options that `rapids-plugin-4-spark` supports.

On startup use: `--conf [conf key]=[conf value]`. For example:



For nodes expecting GPU columnar data as input and producing GPU columnar data as output, the child node(s) passed to the case class constructor should have the Expression type. This is a little odd because they should all be instances of GpuExpression except for AttributeReference and SortOrder. This is needed because AttributeReference is weaved into a lot of the magic that is built into Spark expressions. SortOrder is similar as Spark itself will insert SortOrder instances into the plan automatically in many cases. These are both Unevaluable expressions so they should never be run columnar or otherwise. These Expressions should be bound using GpuBindReferences which will make sure that all AttributeReference instances are replaced with GpuBoundReference implementations and everything is on the GPU. So after calling GpuBindReferences.bindReferences you should be able to cast the result to GpuExpression unless you know you have a SortOrder in there, which should be rare.

The GPU Semaphore

Typically, Spark runs a task per CPU core, but there are often many more CPU cores than GPUs. This can lead to situations where Spark wants to run more concurrent tasks than can reasonably fit on a GPU. The plugin works around this problem with the GpuSemaphore object. This object acts as a traffic cop, limiting the number of tasks concurrently operating on the GPU.

When and How to Use the Semaphore

The semaphore only needs to be used by nodes that are “transition” nodes, i.e.: nodes that are transitioning the data to or from the GPU. Most nodes expect their input to already be on the GPU and produce output on the GPU, so those nodes do not need to worry about using GpuSemaphore. The general rules for using the semaphore are:

  • If the plan node has inputs not on the GPU but produces outputs on the GPU then the node must acquire the semaphore by calling GpuSemaphore.acquireIfNecessary.
  • If the plan node has inputs on the GPU but produces outputs not on the GPU then the node must release the semaphore by calling GpuSemaphore.releaseIfNecessary.

GpuSemaphore automatically installs a task completion listener when a task acquires the semaphore for the first time. This prevents task failures from leaking references to the semaphore and possibly causing deadlocks.

Disabling the Semaphore

If there is ever a need to execute without the semaphore semantics, the semaphore code can be disabled at runtime by setting the Java system property com.nvidia.spark.rapids.semaphore.enabled to false before the GpuSemaphore class is loaded. Typically this would be set as one of the Spark executor Java options, e.g.:

--conf spark.executor.extraJavaOptions=-Dcom.nvidia.spark.rapids.semaphore.enabled=false

Debugging Tips

An easy way to debug the plugin is to run in Spark local mode. This runs the Spark driver and executor all in the same JVM process, making it easy for breakpoints to catch everything. You do not have to worry about whether the code is executing on the driver or the executor, since they are all part of the same process.

Once configured for local mode, a debugger agent can be added by specifying it in the driver options, e.g.:

--conf spark.driver.extraJavaOptions="-agentlib:jdwp=transport=dt_socket,server=y,suspend=y,address=5005"

The Spark process will wait upon launch for a remote debugger to attach via port 5005.

You can also use Compute Sanitizer to debug CUDA memory errors.

Profiling Tips

NVIDIA Nsight Systems makes profiling easy. In addition to showing where time is being spent in CUDA runtime calls, GPU memory transfers, and GPU kernels, custom markers can be added to the profile via NVTX ranges. See the NVTX profiling guide for additional information on setting up the build for profiling and adding NVTX ranges.

Note: Nsight Systems is installed as part of the CUDA Toolkit. However, it is recommended that you download the latest release from the product page directly.

Code Coverage

We use jacoco for code coverage because it lets us gather code coverage for both Java and Scala. It also lets us instrument shaded jars, and use tests that are written in pyspark. We have had to jump through some hoops to make it work, which is partly why the tests are in the test and integration_test directories.

The regular jacoco maven plugin, however is not currently able to support this type of setup. So if you want to generate a coverage report you need to do it manually. Coverage is collected by default so first run the tests, and then generate the report, this should be run from the root project directory. It will print out the URL of the report at the end. Besides, coverage report only covers test with Spark 301 by default as jacoco can’t support combined jars. If you’re testing with different Spark version, please change it via environment variable JACOCO_SPARK_VER before generate coverage report, e.g, export JACOCO_SPARK_VER=311.

mvn clean verify

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