**R-english – Freakonometrics**, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers]. (You can report issue about the content on this page here)

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Sometimes, with big data, matrices are too big to handle, and it is possible to use tricks to numerically still do the map. Map-Reduce is one of those. With several cores, it is possible to split the problem, to map on each machine, and then to agregate it back at the end.

Consider the case of the linear regression, \mathbf{y}=\mathbf{X}\mathbf{\beta}+\mathbf{\varepsilon} (with classical matrix notations). The OLS estimate of \mathbf{\beta} is \widehat{\mathbf{\beta}}=[\mathbf{X}^T\mathbf{X}]^{-1}\mathbf{X}^T\mathbf{y}. To illustrate, consider a not too big dataset, and run some regression.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 | lm(dist~speed,data=cars)$coefficients (Intercept) speed -17.579095 3.932409 y=cars$dist X=cbind(1,cars$speed) solve(crossprod(X,X))%*%crossprod(X,y) [,1] [1,] -17.579095 [2,] 3.932409 |

How is this computed in R? Actually, it is based on the QR decomposition of \mathbf{X}, \mathbf{X}=\mathbf{Q}\mathbf{R}, where \mathbf{Q} is an orthogonal matrix (ie \mathbf{Q}^T\mathbf{Q}=\mathbb{I}). Then \widehat{\mathbf{\beta}}=[\mathbf{X}^T\mathbf{X}]^{-1}\mathbf{X}^T\mathbf{y}=\mathbf{R}^{-1}\mathbf{Q}^T\mathbf{y}

1 2 3 4 | solve(qr.R(qr(as.matrix(X)))) %*% t(qr.Q(qr(as.matrix(X)))) %*% y [,1] [1,] -17.579095 [2,] 3.932409 |

So far, so good, we get the same output. Now, what if we want to parallelise computations. Actually, it is possible.

Consider m blocks

1 | m = 5 |

and split vectors and matrices

\mathbf{y}=\left[\begin{matrix}\mathbf{y}_1\\\mathbf{y}_2\\\vdots \\\mathbf{y}_m\end{matrix}\right] and \mathbf{X}=\left[\begin{matrix}\mathbf{X}_1\\\mathbf{X}_2\\\vdots\\\mathbf{X}_m\end{matrix}\right]=\left[\begin{matrix}\mathbf{Q}_1^{(1)}\mathbf{R}_1^{(1)}\\\mathbf{Q}_2^{(1)}\mathbf{R}_2^{(1)}\\\vdots \\\mathbf{Q}_m^{(1)}\mathbf{R}_m^{(1)}\end{matrix}\right]

To split vectors and matrices, use (eg)

1 2 3 4 | Xlist = list() for(j in 1:m) Xlist[[j]] = X[(j-1)*10+1:10,] ylist = list() for(j in 1:m) ylist[[j]] = y[(j-1)*10+1:10] |

and get small QR recomposition (per subset)

1 2 | QR1 = list() for(j in 1:m) QR1[[j]] = list(Q=qr.Q(qr(as.matrix(Xlist[[j]]))),R=qr.R(qr(as.matrix(Xlist[[j]])))) |

Consider the QR decomposition of \mathbf{R}^{(1)} which is the first step of the reduce part\mathbf{R}^{(1)}=\left[\begin{matrix}\mathbf{R}_1^{(1)}\\\mathbf{R}_2^{(1)}\\\vdots \\\mathbf{R}_m^{(1)}\end{matrix}\right]=\mathbf{Q}^{(2)}\mathbf{R}^{(2)}where\mathbf{Q}^{(2)}=\left[\begin{matrix}\mathbf{Q}^{(2)}_1\\\mathbf{Q}^{(2)}_2\\\vdots\\\mathbf{Q}^{(2)}_m\end{matrix}\right]

1 2 3 4 5 6 | R1 = QR1[[1]]$R for(j in 2:m) R1 = rbind(R1,QR1[[j]]$R) Q1 = qr.Q(qr(as.matrix(R1))) R2 = qr.R(qr(as.matrix(R1))) Q2list=list() for(j in 1:m) Q2list[[j]] = Q1[(j-1)*2+1:2,] |

Define – as step 2 of the reduce part\mathbf{Q}^{(3)}_j=\mathbf{Q}^{(2)}_j\mathbf{Q}^{(1)}_j

and\mathbf{V}_j=\mathbf{Q}^{(3)T}_j\mathbf{y}_j

1 2 3 4 | Q3list = list() for(j in 1:m) Q3list[[j]] = QR1[[j]]$Q %*% Q2list[[j]] Vlist = list() for(j in 1:m) Vlist[[j]] = t(Q3list[[j]]) %*% ylist[[j]] |

and finally set – as the step 3 of the reduce part\widehat{\mathbf{\beta}}=[\mathbf{R}^{(2)}]^{-1}\sum_{j=1}^m\mathbf{V}_j

1 2 3 4 5 6 | sumV = Vlist[[1]] for(j in 2:m) sumV = sumV+Vlist[[j]] solve(R2) %*% sumV [,1] [1,] -17.579095 [2,] 3.932409 |

It looks like we’ve been able to parallelise our linear regression…

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