Apache Spark on a Raspberry Pi

2 minute read

Valentine’s Day has just passed and I still have some Raspberry Pi left, so I thought I try something out.

Can we run an Apache Spark on a Raspberry Pi?

Yes we can

I have taken a very small program which listens to a twitter feed, filtered by a set of predefined words and outputs the most frequent hashtags (every 15 sec) and the latest tweets (every minute). It is basically one of the examples in Andy Petrella’s spark-notebook converted into a standalone spark application. It does not actualy use a Hadoop cluster, only the spark libraries locally.

The sources are in my repo abarbanell/tweetfeed and it is simple to use.

You need a Raspberry Pi with Java 8 and sbt, if you follow my blog you have already seen this part in a previous post about Scala on Raspberry - updated

Next you clone my repo with

$ git clone https://github.com/abarbanell/tweetfeed.git
$ cd tweetfeed

You will need to register on http://dev.twitter.com for some API keys: register as a developer, create your application, and create API tokens for it, you need the following values in your file .conf.rc:

# this file should be gitignore'd

Next is to run the tweetfeed app with

$ . .conf.rc
$ sbt run -mem 512 

this -mem 512 restricts the application to 512 MB memory, which works on the Raspberry Pi 3 which has total 1 GB memory. With less memory the spark libaries won’t start.

Be prepared to wait a bit for all scala and spark libraries downloaded by the sbt tool. You will probably need 5-10 min to start the first time, and later it should be around 1 min to start.

It will beautifully list the recent tweets with the given filter words and, while not using much CPU, the memory footprint is of course significant.

rpym dashboard

The program in my repo (as of now) will do this for 5 minutes and then quit. Of course it is easy to change, and I may change this in the future. Just read the code to check if you are interested.

Why bother?

Just because we can. Of course we can now build more beautiful output and more fancy data algorithms, I just wanted to show that it can work.

So if you still have some Rasperry Pie, errh Pi left over, give it a go.


I hope this was helpful, you may also like the articles on my blog about my spark notebooks or, for less technical fun, how about some romantic valentines day videos?

You are always welcome to comment below.