Having taught myself a bit of Python I was keen to start using Spark. Spark is an open source project from Apache building on the ideas of MapReduce. It still uses the HDFS but where Hadoop processes on disk, Spark runs things in memory, which can dramatically increase process speeds. Spark also has a great machine learning library you can use with it. Hive on Hadoop limits you to data processing and manipulation, Spark allows you to build models at scale. Spark can be called with its native Scala, or there are APIs so you can use Python or Java (release 1.4 also includes an R API).
I decided to take the lastfm dataset i have been playing with recently and generate some recommendations for the users based on their listening habits.