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Design for ODPS Data Source Support

This document describes the design for supporting ODPS data source in ElasticDL.

Existing ODPSReader Class

The interface to read data from ODPS with the existing ODPSReader is defined as follows:

class ODPSReader(object):
    def __init__(self, project, access_id, access_key, endpoint,
                 table, partition=None, options=None):
        """
        Constructs a `ODPSReader` instance.

        Args:
            project: Name of the ODPS project.
            access_id: ODPS user access ID.
            access_key: ODPS user access key.
            endpoint: ODPS cluster endpoint.
            table: ODPS table name.
            partition: ODPS table's partition.
            options: Other options passed to ODPS context.
        """
        pass

    def to_iterator(self, num_workers, worker_index, batch_size, epochs=1, shuffle=False,
                    columns=None, table_size_limit=-1, num_processes=None):
        """
        Load slices of ODPS table (partition of table if `partition` was specified) data with Python iterator.

        Args:
            num_workers: Total number of worker in the cluster.
            worker_index: Current index of the worker in the cluster.
            batch_size: Size of a slice.
            epochs: Repeat the data for this many times.
            shuffle: Whether to shuffle the data or rows.
            columns: The list of columns to load. If `None`, use all schema names of ODPS table.
            table_size_limit: The limit for the table size to load.
            num_processes: Number of parallel processes on this worker. If `None`, use the number of cores.
        """
        pass

For example, if we have 5 workers in total, in the first worker, we can run the following to load the ODPS table into a Python iterator where each batch contains 100 rows:

reader = ODPSReader(...)
data_iterator = reader.to_iterator(num_workers=5, worker_index=0, batch_size=100)
for batch in data_iterator:
    print("Batch size %d\n. Data: %s" % (len(batch), batch))

Support ODPS Data Source in ElasticDL

The current Worker relies heavily on TaskDispatcher and RecordIO which overlaps with the existing ODPSReader so we could not use the above existing ODPSReader directly. For example, Worker does the following related steps:

  1. recordio.Scanner(task.shard_file_name, task.start, task.end - task.start) to create the reader for RecordIO data source.
  2. self._get_batch(reader, task.minibatch_size) to get one batch based on the batch_size that users specified.
  3. Use the user-provided input_fn to fetch the features and labels from this batch.

Here’s a list of things we need to do in order to support ODPS data source:

  1. Create ODPSReader based on user-provided ODPS information such as ODPS project name and credentials.
  2. Implement a method to create training and evaluation shards based on table name and column names instead of RecordIO data directories, and then pass the shards to TaskDispatcher.
  3. Modify Worker to support instantiating a ODPSReader in addition to RecordIO reader.
  4. Implement ODPSReader.record() for Worker._get_batch() to use. Alternatively, we can also re-implement Worker._get_batch() so it can get the whole batch of data rows if the data source is ODPS. This is because the current implementation of Worker._get_batch() method contains a for loop that reads one record at a time which is inefficient.

Once the above work is done and we have a clearer picture, we could then think about how to allow users to plug in their custom data readers like ODPSReader so that they don’t have to convert data to RecordIO format, which could avoid the IO overhead. This should be discussed further in high-level API designs.