Troubleshooting Guide

ClassNotFoundException for commons-math3

The Apache Commons Math library is utilized by SystemML. The commons-math3 dependency is included with Spark and with newer versions of Hadoop. Running SystemML on an older Hadoop cluster can potentially generate an error such as the following due to the missing commons-math3 dependency:

java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: org.apache.commons.math3.linear.RealMatrix

This issue can be fixed by changing the commons-math3 scope in the pom.xml file from provided to compile.


SystemML can then be rebuilt with the commons-math3 dependency using Maven (mvn clean package -P distribution).

OutOfMemoryError in Hadoop Reduce Phase

In Hadoop MapReduce, outputs from mapper nodes are copied to reducer nodes and then sorted (known as the shuffle phase) before being consumed by reducers. The shuffle phase utilizes several buffers that share memory space with other MapReduce tasks, which will throw an OutOfMemoryError if the shuffle buffers take too much space:

Error: java.lang.OutOfMemoryError: Java heap space
    at org.apache.hadoop.mapred.IFile$Reader.readNextBlock(
    at org.apache.hadoop.mapred.IFile$
    at org.apache.hadoop.mapred.Merger$
    at org.apache.hadoop.mapred.Merger$MergeQueue.adjustPriorityQueue(
    at org.apache.hadoop.mapred.Merger$
    at org.apache.hadoop.mapred.Merger.writeFile(

One way to fix this issue is lowering the following buffer thresholds.

mapred.job.shuffle.input.buffer.percent # default 0.70; try 0.20 
mapred.job.shuffle.merge.percent # default 0.66; try 0.20
mapred.job.reduce.input.buffer.percent # default 0.0; keep 0.0

These configurations can be modified globally by inserting/modifying the following in mapred-site.xml.


They can also be configured on a per SystemML-task basis by inserting the following in SystemML-config.xml.


Note: The default SystemML-config.xml is located in <path to SystemML root>/conf/. It is passed to SystemML using the -config argument:

hadoop jar SystemML.jar [-? | -help | -f <filename>] (-config <config_filename>) ([-args | -nvargs] <args-list>)

See Invoking SystemML in Hadoop Batch Mode for details of the syntax.

Total size of serialized results is bigger than spark.driver.maxResultSize

Spark aborts a job if the estimated result size of collect is greater than maxResultSize to avoid out-of-memory errors in driver. However, SystemML’s optimizer has estimates the memory required for each operator and provides guards against these out-of-memory errors in driver. So, we recommend setting the configuration --conf spark.driver.maxResultSize=0.

File does not exist on HDFS/LFS error from remote parfor

This error usually comes from incorrect HDFS configuration on the worker nodes. To investigate this, we recommend

We recommend providing 10% of maximum memory to young generation and using -server flag for robust garbage collection policy. For example: if you intend to use 20G driver and 60G executor, then please add following to your configuration:

 spark-submit --driver-memory 20G --executor-memory 60G --conf "spark.executor.extraJavaOptions=-Xmn6G -server" --conf  "spark.driver.extraJavaOptions=-Xmn2G -server" ... 

Memory overhead

Spark sets spark.yarn.executor.memoryOverhead, spark.yarn.driver.memoryOverhead and to be 10% of memory provided to the executor, driver and YARN Application Master respectively (with minimum of 384 MB). For certain workloads, the user may have to increase this overhead to 12-15% of the memory budget.

Network timeout

To avoid false-positive errors due to network failures in case of compute-bound scripts, the user may have to increase the timeout (default: 120s).

Advanced developer statistics

Few of our operators (for example: convolution-related operator) and GPU backend allows an expert user to get advanced statistics by setting the configuration systemml.stats.extraGPU and systemml.stats.extraDNN in the file SystemML-config.xml.

Out-Of-Memory on executors

Out-Of-Memory on executors is often caused due to side-effects of lazy evaluation and in-memory input data of Spark for large-scale problems. Though we are constantly improving our optimizer to address this scenario, a quick hack to resolve this is reducing the number of cores allocated to the executor. We would highly appreciate if you file a bug report on our issue tracker if and when you encounter OOM.

Native BLAS errors

Please see the user guide of native backend.