CRF Spark Save Abandoned

A Spark-based implementation of Conditional Random Fields (CRFs) for segmenting/labeling sequential data

Project README


A Spark-based implementation of Conditional Random Fields (CRFs) for segmenting/labeling sequential data. Basically this project is deprecated, and we will not maintain it any more, please check the new project at


This documentation is for Spark 1.4+. Other version will probably work yet not tested.


CRF-Spark provides following features:

  • Training in parallel based on Spark RDD
  • Support a simple format of training and test file. Any other format also can be read by a simple tokenizer.
  • A common feature templates design, which is also used in other machine learning tools, such as CRF++ and miralium
  • Fast training based on Limited-memory BFGS optimizaton algorithm (fitting L2-regularized models) or Orthant-wise Limited Memory Quasi-Newton optimizaton algorithm (fitting L1-regularized models)
  • Support two verbose levels to provide extra information. VerboseLevel1 shows marginal probabilities for each tag and a conditional probability for the entire output; VerboseLevel2 shows marginal probabilities for all other candidates additionally.
  • Support n-best outputs
  • Linear-chain (first-order Markov) CRF
  • Test can run both in parallel and in serial


A web-based application of this package to Chinese POS Tagging.


Scala API

  val template = Array("U00:%x[-1,0]", "U01:%x[0,0]", "U02:%x[1,0]", "B")

  val train1 = Array("B-NP|--|Friday|-|NNP\tB-NP|--|'s|-|POS", "I-NP|--|Market|-|NNP\tI-NP|--|Activity|-|NN")
  val test1 = Array("null|--|Market|-|NNP\tnull|--|Activity|-|NN")
  val trainRdd1 = sc.parallelize(train).map(Sequence.deSerializer)
  val model1 = CRF.train(template, trainRdd)
  val result1 = model.predict(
  val train2 = Array("Friday NNP B-NP\nB-NP 's POS", "Market NNP I-NP\nActivity NN I-NP")
  val test2 = Array("Market NNP\nActivity NN")
  val trainRdd2 = sc.parallelize(train2).map(sentence => {
    val tokens = sentence.split("\n")
    Sequence( => {
      val tags: Array[String] = token.split(' ')
      Token.put(tags.last, tags.dropRight(1))
  val model2 = CRF.train(template, trainRdd2)
  val result2 = model2.predict( => {
    val tokens = sentence.split("\n")
    Sequence( => {
      val tags: Array[String] = token.split(' ')

Building From Source

sbt package

Building with breeze version 0.12

CRF-Spark built with breeze-0.12 improved dramatically on the performance as our experiments shown. The dependent breeze in Spark even in the newest release version 2.0.0 is still version 0.11.2 though. Luckily, the support to breeze-0.12 is added in a later commit. So if you want to try it, you could git clone the Spark upstream repo to build a Spark 2.1.0 SNAPSHOT by yourself. In addition, don't forget to change the dependent version of breeze from 0.11.2 to 0.12 in your build.sbt file.

Note that there seems be a difference (maybe a bug) of convergence check in breeze 0.12 when CRF-Spark do L-BFGS optimization. For example, in breeze 0.11.2, iterations stop at the oneOffImprovement's value 1E-3 to 1E-4 if the tolerance set by user is only 1E-3. But in in breeze 0.12, iterations always stop at 1E-6 with the same parameters. Thus, when you use breeze 0.12, please set the tolerance at a little higher value to prevent from computing too many iterations, or you can set the maxIterations what you need simply.

Contact & Feedback

If you encounter bugs, feel free to submit an issue or pull request. Also you can mail to:

Open Source Agenda is not affiliated with "CRF Spark" Project. README Source: Intel-bigdata/CRF-Spark
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