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Data Science Using Docker Containers

Data Science Using Docker Containers

It’s been few months since I started using docker containers for my data science experiments. I have never been so excited about a software product than a docker at least in the recent past. I wanted to review the steps that I followed to set up this excellent platform so that it can be a reference for myself and can help others who are interested to do the same.
The Motivation
I happened to read this article Kaggle Blog, which was in fact the motivation behind my attempt to try Dockers in the first place. Though the examples in the article are for Mac users, I was sure Linux shouldn’t be a problem as Mac OS is just another Unix flavor.
I bought a new laptop during Thanksgiving shopping. It was a good deal for a Windows laptop ( Windows 10 Pro). I started trying to setup Docker in Windows and soon realized that it will be a long learning curve or as many Linux lovers says, “Windows sucks”. Fortunately for me, my old laptop was still in good condition and had 16GB of RAM. I thought that would make an excellent server for my use case and I could open few ports and access it from anywhere. I do most of my data science work using R and wanted to try Python and practice it as much as possible. This struck me as a perfect platform.
Initial Setup
Below are the steps I followed to get the initial setup up and running. I have to mention that setting up docker was super easy in Linux and is not fair to be compared to the Windows experience.
* Installed Ubuntu 16.04.1 – 64 Bit
* Refer Docker Documentation – [Docker Docs](
* Add relevant key to the key-chain

sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https ca-certificatessudo apt-key adv –keyserver hkp://–recv-keys 58118E89F3A912897C070ADBF76221572C52609D

* Add the docker repository for my Ubuntu version

echo “deb ubuntu-xenial main” | sudo tee

* Update APT package index and verify it is using the right repository.

sudo apt-get updateapt-cache policy docker-engine

* Install Docker

sudo apt-get install docker-engine

* Start Docker

sudo service docker start

* Run the docker “Hello World” to test.

sudo docker run hello-world

* If you want to run docker commands without using sudo then add your user id to the docker group

sudo groupadd dockersudo usermod -aG docker renjithdocker run hello-world

* Configure Docker to start on system boot.

sudo systemctl enable docker

Ok, we are done with setting up and installing Docker. Let’s move on to Data Science.
The Magic Commands
Kaggle has to be thanked for setting up these Docker images that can be downloaded and run in just few minutes.
There are 3 Kaggle Docker images that I am aware of:
1. kaggle/python2. kaggle/rstats and3. kaggle/julia
Since I am more interested Python and R, I have downloaded only those. However the steps remain the same for Julia. The commands are slightly different than what is given in Kaggle but I made that changes to work in Ubuntu. Below commands work perfectly in Ubuntu 16.04 and mac users can refer the commands given by Kaggle in the above link.

sudo docker run -v $PWD:/tmp/working -w=/tmp/working -p 8888:8888 –rm -it kaggle/python jupyter notebook –no-browser –ip=”″ –notebook-dir=/tmp/working

sudo docker run -it -p 8787:8787 –rm -v $PWD:/tmp/working kaggle/rstats /bin/bash -c “rstudio-server restart & /bin/bash”

Both Python Notebook and Rstudio Web Interface can be opened using the below url’s in a web browser.

http://<your machine IP>:8888
http://<your machine IP>:8787

Python and IPython consoles can be opened directly as below.

docker run -v $PWD:/tmp/working -w=/tmp/working –rm -it kaggle/python python “$@”
docker run -v $PWD:/tmp/working -w=/tmp/working –rm -it kaggle/python ipython

Final Notes
The cream of all this is that you can try all those amazing kernels in Kaggle data science problems using this docker without any errors.If you are someone like me who have struggled maintaining all the Python and R packages and is into a lot of experiments, I am sure you will admire how cool a docker platform is.

Link: Data Science Using Docker Containers