While Map/Reduce is an excellent environment for some parallel computing tasks, there are many ways to use a cluster beyond Map/Reduce. Within the last year, the YARN and NextGen Map/Reduce has been contributed into the Hadoop trunk, Mesos has been released as an open source project, and a variety of new parallel programming environments have emerged such as Spark, Giraph, Golden Orb, Accumulo, and others.
We will discuss the features of YARN and Mesos, and talk about obvious yet relatively unexplored uses of these cluster schedulers as simple work queues. Examples will be provided in the context of machine learning. Next, we will provide an overview of the Bulk-Synchronous-Parallel model of computation, and compare and contrast the implementations that have emerged over the last year. We will also discuss two other alternative environments: Spark, an in-memory version of Map/Reduce which features a Scala-based interpreter; and Accumulo, a BigTable-style database that implements a novel model for parallel computation and was recently released by the NSA.