Spark 3.0 is the next major release of Apache Spark. This release brings major changes to abstractions, API’s and libraries of the platform. This release sets the tone for next year’s direction of the framework. So understanding these few features is critical to understand for the ones who want to make use all the advances in this new release. So in this series of blog posts, I will be discussing about different improvements landing in Spark 3.0.

This is the second post in the series where I am going to talk about multiple column feature transformation in Spark ML. You can access all posts in this series here.

TL;DR All code examples are available on github.

Multiple Column Feature Transformation in Spark 2.3

Spark introduced multiple column support for Spark ML transformations in 2.3. But that time it was only limited for few transformations. You can read about the same here.

Multiple Column Feature Transformation in Spark 3.0

From Spark 3.0, all the Spark ML transformation going to be supporting multiple columns. One of those important transformation is StringIndexer which was not supported before.

The below code shows how to use the same

val inputColumns = Array("workclass","education")

val outputColumns = Array("workclass_indexed", "education_indexed")

val stringIndexer = new StringIndexer()

String indexer now exposes new methods like setInputCols and setOutputCols additional to single column counter parts. This allows spark developer to run string indexing on multiple columns together.


Having support for multiple column support in all the transformations bring a huge improvement for the datasets with lot of columns.


You can access complete code on github.