## Sunday, August 6, 2017

### Time Series Cross-correlation and Lagged Regression With Solr Streaming Expresssions

One of the more interesting capabilities in Solr's new statistical library is cross-correlation. But before diving into cross-correlation, let's start by describing correlation. Correlation measures the extent that two variables fluctuate together. For example if the rise of stock A typically coincides with a rise in stock B they are positively correlated. If a rise in stock A typically coincides with a fall in stock B they are negatively correlated.

When two variables are highly correlated it may be possible to predict the value of one variable based on the value of the other variable. A technique called simple regression can be used to describe the linear relationship between two variables and provide a prediction formula.

Sometimes there is a time lag in the correlation. For example, if stock A rises and three days later stock B rises then there is a 3 day lag time in the correlation.

We need to account for this lag time before we can perform a regression analysis.

Cross-correlation is a tool for discovering the lag time in correlation between two time series. Once we know the lag time we can account for it in our regression analysis using a technique known as lagged regression

Working With Sine Waves

This blog will demonstrate cross-correlation using simple sine waves. The same approach can be used on time series waveforms generated from data stored in Solr collections.

The screenshot below shows how to generate and plot a sine wave:

Let's break down what the expression is doing.

let(a=sin(sequence(100, 1, 6)),
plot(type=line, y=a))

1. The let expression is setting the variable a and then calling the plot function.
2. Variable a holds the output of the sin function which is wrapped around a sequence function. The sequence function creates a sequence of 100 numbers, starting from 1 with a stride of 6. The sin function wraps the sequence array and converts it to a sine wave by calling the trigonometric sine function on each element in the array.
3. The plot function plots a line using the array in variable a as the y axis.

To demonstrate cross-correlation we'll need to plot a second sine wave and create a lag between the two waveforms.

The screenshot below shows the statistical functions for adding and plotting the second sine wave.

Let's explore the statistical expression:

let(a=sin(sequence(100, 1, 6)),
b=copyOfRange(a, 5, 100),
x=sequence(100, 0, 1),
list(tuple(plot=line, x=x, y=a),
tuple(plot=line, x=x, y=b)))

1. The let expression is setting variable a, b, x and returning a list of tuples with plotting data.
2. Variable a holds the data for the first sine wave.
3. Variable b has a copy of the array stored in variable a starting from index 5. Starting the second sine wave from the 5th index creates the lag time between the two sine waves.
4. Variable x holds a sequence from 0 to 99 which will be used for plotting the x access.
5. The list contains two output tuples which provide the plotting data. You'll notice that the syntax for plotting two lines does not involve the plot function, but instead requires a list of tuples containing plotting data. As Sunplot matures the syntax for plotting a single line and multiple lines will likely converge.

Convolution and Cross-correlation

We're going to be using the math behind convolution to cross-correlate the two waveforms. So before delving into cross-correlation its worth having a discussion about convolution.

Convolution is a mathematical operation that has a wide number of uses. In the field of Digital Signal Processing (DSP) convolution is considered the most important function. Convolution is also a key function in deep learning where it's used in convolutional neural networks.

So what is convolution? Convolution takes two waveforms and produces a third waveform through a mathematical operation. The gist of the operation is to reverse one of the waveforms and slide it across the other waveform. As the waveform is slid across the other, a cross product is calculated at each position. The integral of the cross product at each position is stored in a new array which is the "convolution" of the two waveforms.

That's all very interesting, but what does it have to do with cross-correlation? Well as it turns out convolution and cross-correlation are very closely related. The only difference between convolution and cross-correlation is that the waveform being slid across is not reversed.

In the example below the convolve function (conv) is called on two waveforms. Notice that the second waveform is reversed with the rev function before the convolution. This is done because the convolution operation will reverse the second waveform. Since it's already been reversed the convolution function will reverse it again and work with the original waveform.

This will result in a cross-correlation operation rather then convolution.

The screenshot below shows the cross-correlation operation and it's plot.

The highest peak in the cross-correlation plot is the point where the two waveforms have the highest correlation.

Finding the Delay Between Two Time Series

We've visualized the cross-correlation, but how do we use the cross-correlation array to find the delay? We actually have a function called finddelay which will calculate the delay for us. The finddelay function uses convolution math to calculate the cross-correlation array. But instead of returning the cross-correlation array it takes it a step further and calculates the delay.

The screenshot below shows how the finddelay function is called.

Lagged Regression

Once we know the delay between the two sine waves it's very easy to perform the lagged regression. The screenshot below shows the statistical expression and regression result.

Let's quickly review the expression and interpret the regression results:

let(a=sin(sequence(100, 1, 6)),
b=copyOfRange(a, 5, 100),
c=finddelay(a, b),
d=copyOfRange(a, c, 100),
r=regress(b, d),
tuple(reg=r))

1. Variables a and b hold the two sine waves with the 5 increment lag time between them.
2. Variable c holds the delay between the two signals.
3. Variable d is a copy of the first sine wave starting from the delay index specified in variable c

The sine waves in variables b and d are now in sync and ready to regress.

The regression result is as follows:

{ "reg": { "significance": 0, "totalSumSquares": 48.42686366058407, "R": 1, "meanSquareError": 0, "intercept": 0, "slopeConfidenceInterval": 0, "regressionSumSquares": 48.42686366058407, "slope": 1, "interceptStdErr": 0, "N": 95, "RSquare": 1 } }

The RSquare value of 1 indicates that the regression equation perfectly describes the linear relationship
between the two arrays.

## Tuesday, August 1, 2017

### Sunplot

The last several blogs have discussed the new statistical programming syntax for Streaming Expressions. What was missing in those blogs was plotting.  Plotting plays a central role in statistical analysis. Plotting allows you to quickly understand the shape of your data in a way that the numbers alone cannot.

Sunplot is a new statistical plotting engine written by Michael Suzuki to work specifically with Solr's statistical programming syntax. This blog explores some of the features of Sunplot.

SQL and Statistical Expressions

Sunplot supports both SQL and Streaming Expressions. The SQL queries are sent to Solr's parallel SQL interface which evaluates the query across Solr Cloud collections. Streaming Expressions and statistical functions are evaluated by Solr's stream handler.

Sunplot has a json view, table view and charting view. The image below shows a SQL query with results in the table view.

The main code window handles both SQL and Streaming Expressions.

The Plot Function

Plotting of statistical functions is handled by the new plot function. The plot function allows you to specify arrays for the x and y axis and set the plot type. Supported plot types are scatter, line, bar and pie.

Below is a screenshot of a very simple plot command:

Notice that the plot function is plotting hard-coded arrays. Using this approach you can use Sunplot as a general purpose plotting tool.

The plot function also plots arrays generated by Streaming Expressions and statistical functions.

Scatter Plots

One of the core statistical plot types is the scatter plot. A scatter plot can be used to quickly understand how individual samples are distributed. It is also very helpful in visualizing the outliers in a sample set.

The screenshot below shows a statistical expression and scatter plot of the result set.

Let's explore the statistical syntax shown in the screen shot and interpret the scatter plot.

let(a=random(collection1, q="*:*", rows="500", fl="test_d"),
b=col(a, test_d),
plot(type=scatter, y=b))
1. The let function is setting variables a, b and then executing the plot function.
2. Variable a is holding the output of the random function. The random function is returning 500 random result tuples from collection1. Each tuple has a single field called test_d.
3. Variable b is holding the output of the col function. The col function returns a numeric array containing the values in the test_d field from the tuples stored in variable a
4. The plot function returns the x,y coordinates and the plot type used by Sunplot to draw the plot. In the example the y access is set to the numeric array stored in variable b. If no x axis is provided the plot function will generate a sequence for the x axis.

The scatter plot moves across the x axis from the left to right and plots the y axis for each point. This allows you to immediately see how the y axis points are spread.

In the example you can tell a few things very quickly:

1) The points seem to fall fairly evenly above and below 500.
2) The bulk of the points fall between 480 and 520.
3) Virtually all of the points fall between 460 and 540.
4) There are a few outliers below 460 and above 540.

This data set seems to have many of the characteristics of a normal distribution. In a normal distribution most of the points will be clustered above and below the mean. As you continue to move farther away from the mean the number of points taper off until there are just a few outliers.

Sorting the Points

We can learn more about the data set by sorting the y axis points before plotting. In the example below note how the asc function is applied to first sort the y axis points before plotting.

Once sorted you can see the how the lower outliers and upper outliers form curves with steeper slopes while the bulk of the points form a gently sloping line passing through the mean.

Histograms

Now that we've seen the scatter plot of the individual points we can continue to visualize the data by plotting a histogram with the points.

Before plotting lets look at how to create a histogram and what a histogram output looks like:

Let's explore the statistical expression that builds and outputs a histogram:

let(a=random(collection1, q="*:*", rows="500", fl="test_d"),
b=col(a, test_d),
c=hist(b, 7),
get(c))
1. The let function is setting variables a, b, c and then executes the get function.
2. Variable a is holding the output of the random function. The random function is returning 500 random result tuples from collection1. Each tuple has a single field called test_d.
3. Variable b is holding the output of the col function. The col function returns a numeric array containing the values in the test_d field from the tuples stored in variable a
4. Variable c is holding the output of the hist function. The hist function creates a histogram with 7 bins from the numeric array stored in variable b.  The histogram returns one tuple for each bin with a statistical summary of the bin.
5. The get function returns the list of histogram tuples held in variable c.
The screenshot above shows the histogram results listed in table view. Each row in the table represents a bin in the histogram. The N field is the number of observations that fall within the bin. The mean is the mean value of observations within the bin.

To plot the histogram will need to extract the N and mean columns into arrays. We will then use the mean array as the x axis and the N array as the y axis. We will use 11 bins for the plot.

The screen shot below shows the statistical expression and plot of the histogram:

The histogram plot has the bell curve you would expect to see with a normal distribution. Both the scatter plot and histogram plot are pointing to a normal distribution.

Now we'll take a quick look at a statistical test to confirm that this data is a normal distribution.

Descriptive Statistics

First lets compute the descriptive statistics for the sample set with the describe function:

The statistical expression above outputs a single tuple with the descriptive statistics for the sample set. Notice that the sample has a mean of 500 and a standard deviation of 20. Both the scatter and histogram plots provide visual confirmation of these statistics.

Normal Distribution Testing With Kolmogorov–Smirnov Test

Now that we know the mean and standard deviation we have enough information to run a one sample Kolmogorov–Smirnov (k-s) Test. A one sample k-s test is used to determine if a sample data set fits a reference distribution.

The screenshot below shows the syntax and output for the k-s test:

The expression in the example calls the normalDistribution function which returns a reference distribution for the ks function. The normalDistribution function is created with a mean of 500 and standard deviation of 20 which is the same as the sample set.

The ks function is then run using the reference distribution and the sample set.

The p-value returned from the ks test is 0.38. This means that there is a 38% chance you would be wrong if you rejected the hypothesis that the sample set could have been taken from the reference distribution. Typically a p-value of .05 or lower is taken as evidence that we can reject the test hypothesis.

Based on the p-value the ks test confirms that the sample set fits a normal distribution.

## Wednesday, July 12, 2017

### Detrending Time Series Data With Linear Regression in Solr 7

Often when working with time series data there is a linear trend present in the data. For example if a stock price has been gradually rising over a period of months you'll see a positive slope in the time series data. This slope over time is the trend. Before performing statistical analysis on the time series data it's often necessary to remove the trend.

Why is a trend problematic? Consider an example where you want to correlate two time series that are trending on a similar slope. Because they both have a similar slope they will appear to be correlated. But in reality they may be trending for entirely different reasons. To tell if the two time series are actually correlated you would need to first remove the trends and then perform the correlation on the detrended data.

### Linear Regression

Linear regression is a statistical tool used to measure the linear relationship between two variables. For example you could use linear regression to determine if there is a linear relationship between age and medical costs. If a linear relationship is found you can use linear regression to predict the value of a dependent variable based on the value of an independent variable.

Linear regression can also be used to remove a linear trend from a time series.

### Removing a Linear Trend from a Time Series

We can remove a linear trend from a time series using the following technique:

1. Regress the dependent variable over a time sequence. For example if we have 12 months of time series observations the time sequence would be expressed as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.
2. Use the regression analysis to predict a dependent value at each time interval. Then subtract the prediction from the actual value. The difference between actual and predicted value is known as the residual. The residuals array is the time series with the trend removed. You can now perform statistical analysis on the residuals.
Sounds complicated, but an example will make this more clear and Solr makes this all very easy to do.

### Example: Exploring the linear relationship between marketing spend and site usage.

In this example we want explore the linear relationship between marketing spend and website usage. The motivation for this is to determine if higher marketing spend causes higher website usage.

Website usage has been trending upwards for over a year. We have been varying the marketing spend throughout the year to experiment with how different levels of marketing spend impacts website usage.

Now we want to regress the marketing spend and the website usage to build a simple model of how usage is impacted by marketing spend. But before we can build this model we must remove the trend from the website usage or the cumulative effect of the trend will mask the relationship between marketing spend and website usage.

Here is the streaming expression:

let(a=timeseries(logs,
q="rec_type:page_view",
field="rec_time",
start="2016-01-01T00:00:00Z",
end="2016-12-31T00:00:00Z",
gap="+1MONTH",
count(*)),
b=jdbc(connection="jdbc:mysql://...",
sql="select marketing_expense from monthly_expenses where ..."),
c=col(a, count(*)),
d=col(b, marketing_expense),
e=sequence(length(c), 1, 1),
f=regress(e, c),
g=residuals(f, e, c),
h=regress(d, g),
tuple(regression=h))

Let's break down what this expression is doing:

1. The let expression is setting the variables a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h and returning a single result tuple.
2. Variable a is holding the result tuples from a timeseries function that is querying the logs for monthly usage counts.
3. Variable b is holding the result tuples from a jdbc function which is querying an external database for monthly marketing expenses.
4. Variable c is holding the output from a col function which returns the values in the count(*) field from the tuples stored in variable a. This is an array containing the monthly usage counts.
5. Variable d is holding the output from a col function which returns the values in the marketing_expense field from the tuples stored in variable bThis is an array containing the monthly marketing expenses.
6. Variable e holds the output of the sequence function which returns an array of numbers the same length as the array in variable c. The sequence starts from 1 and has a stride of 1.
7. Variable f holds the output of the regress function which returns a regression result. The regression is performed with the sequence in variable e as the independent variable and monthly usage counts in variable c as the dependent variable.
8. Variable g holds the output of the residuals function which returns the residuals from applying the regression result to the data sets in variables e and c. The residuals are the monthly usage counts with the trend removed.
9. Variable h holds the output of the regress function which returns a regression result. The regression is being performed with the marketing expenses (variable d) as the independent variable. The residuals from the monthly usage regression (variable g) are the dependent variable.  This regression result will describe the linear relationship between marketing expenses and site usage.
10. The output tuple is returning the regression result.

## Sunday, July 9, 2017

### One-way ANOVA and Rank Transformation with Solr's Streaming Expressions

In the previous blog we explored the use of random sampling and histograms to pick a threshold for point-wise anomaly detection. Point-wise anomaly detection is a good place to start, but alerting based on a single anomalous point may lead to false alarms. What we need is a statistical technique that can help confirm that the problem goes beyond a single point.

### Spotting Differences In Sets of Data

The specific example in the last blog dealt with finding individual log records with unusually high response times. In this blog we'll be looking for sets of log records with unusually high response times.

One approach to doing this is to compare the means of response times between different sets of data. For this we'll use a statistical approach called One-way Anova.

### One-way ANOVA (Analysis of Variance)

The Streaming Expression statistical library includes the anova function. The anova function is used to determine if the difference in means between two or more sample sets is statistically significant.

In the example below we'll use ANOVA to compare two samples of data:

1. A sample taken from a known period of normal response times.
2. A sample taken before and after the point-wise anomaly.
If the difference in means between the two sets is statistically significant we have evidence that the data around the anomalous data point is also unusual.

### Accounting For Outliers

We already know that sample #2 has at least one outlier point. A few large outliers could skew the mean of a sample #2 and bias the ANOVA calculation.

In order to determine if sample set #2 as a whole has a higher mean then sample #1 we need a way to decrease the effect of outliers on the ANOVA calculation.

### Rank Transformation

One approach for smoothing outliers is to first rank transform the data sets before running the ANOVA. Rank transformation transforms each value in the data to an ordinal ranking.

The Streaming Expression function library includes the rank function which performs the rank transformation.

In order to compare the data sets following the rank transform, we'll need to perform the rank transformation on both sets of data as if they were one contiguous data set. Streaming Expressions provides array manipulation functions that will allow us do this.

### The Streaming Expression

In the expression below we'll perform the ANOVA:

let(a=random(logs,
q="rec_time:[2017-05 TO 2017-06]",
fq="file_name:index.html",
fl="response_time",
rows="7000"),
b=random(logs,
q="rec_time:[NOW-10MINUTES TO NOW]",
fq="file_name:index.html",
fl="response_time",
rows="7000"),
c=col(a, response_time),
d=col(b, response_time),
f=rank(e),
g=copyOfRange(f, 0, length(c)),
h=copyOfRange(f, length(c), length(f)),
i=anova(g, h),
tuple(results=i))

Let's break down what this expression is doing:

1. The let expression is setting the variables a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i and returning a single response tuple.
2. The variable a holds the tuples from a random sample of response times from a period of normal response times (sample set #1).
3. The variable b holds the tuples from a random sample of response times before and after the anomalous data point (sample set #2).
4. Variables c and d hold results of the col function which returns a column of numbers from a list of tuples.  Sample set #1 is in variable c. Sample set #2 is in variable d.
5. Variable e holds the result of the addAll function which is returning a single array containing the contents of variables c and d.
6. Variable f holds the results of the rank function which performs the rank transformation on variable e
7. Variables g and hold the values of copyOfRange functions. The copyOfRange function is used to separate the single rank transformed array back into two data sets. Variable g holds the rank transformed values of sample set #1. Variable h holds the rank transformed values of sample set #2.
8. Variable i holds the result of the anova function which is performing the ANOVA on variable g and h.
9. The response tuple has a single field called results that contains the results of the ANOVA on the the rank transformed data sets.

### Interpreting the ANOVA p-value

The response from the Streaming Expression above looks like this:

{ "result-set": { "docs": [ { "results": { "p-value": 0.0008137581457111631, "f-ratio": 38.4 } }, { "EOF": true, "RESPONSE_TIME": 789 } ] } }

The p-value of 0.0008 is the percentage chance that there is NOT a statistically significant difference in the means between the two sample sets.

Based on this p-value we can say with a very high level of confidence that there is a statistically significant difference in the means between the two sample sets.

## Wednesday, June 28, 2017

### Random Sampling, Histograms and Point-wise Anomaly Detection In Solr

In the last blog we started to explore Streaming Expression's new statistical programming functions. The last blog described a statistical expression that retrieved two data sets with SQL expressions, computed the moving averages for the data sets and correlated the moving averages.

In this blog we'll explore random sampling, histograms and rule based point-wise anomaly detection.

### Turning Mountains into Mole Hills with Random Sampling

Random sampling is one of the most powerful concepts in statistics. Random sampling involves taking a smaller random sample from a larger data set, which can be used to infer statistics about the larger data set.

Random sampling has been used for decades to deal with the problem of not having access to the entire data set. For example taking a poll of everyone in a large population may not be feasible. Taking a random sample of the population is likely much more feasible.

In the big data age we are often presented with a different problem: too much data. It turns out that random sampling helps solve this problem as well. Instead of having to process the entire massive data set we can select a random sample of the data set and infer statistics about the larger data set.

Note: It's important to understand that working with random samples does introduce potential statistical error. There are formulas for determining the margin of error given specific sample sizes. This link also provides a sample size table which shows margin of errors for specific sample sizes.

### Solr is a Powerful Random Sampling Engine

Slicing, dicing and creating random samples from large data sets are some of the primary capabilities needed to tackle big data statistical problems. Solr happens to be one of the best engines in the world for doing this type of work.

Solr has had the ability to select random samples from search results for a long time. The new statistical syntax in Streaming Expressions makes this capability much more powerful. Now Solr has the power to select random samples from large distributed data sets and perform statistical analysis on the random samples.

### The Random Streaming Expression

The random Streaming Expression retrieves a pseudo random set of documents that match a query. Each time the random expression is run it will return a different set of pseudo random records.

The syntax for the random expression is:

random(collection1,  q="soly query",  fl="fielda, fieldb", rows="17000")

This simple but powerful expression selects 17,000 pseudo random records from a Solr Cloud collection that matches the query.

### Understanding Data Distributions with Histograms

Another important statistical tool is the histogram. Histograms are used to understand the distribution of a data set. Histograms divide a data set into bins and provides statistics about each bin. By inspecting the statistics of each bin you can understand the distribution of the data set.

### The hist Function

Solr's Streaming Expression library has a hist function which returns a histogram for an array of numbers.

The hist function has a very simple syntax:

hist(col, 10)

The function above takes two parameters:

1. An array of numbers
2. The number of bins in the histogram

### Creating a Histogram from a Random Sample

Using the Streaming Expression statistical syntax we can combine random sampling and histograms to understand the distribution of large data sets.

In this example we'll work with a sample data set of log records. Our goal is to create a histogram of the response times for the home page.

Here is the basic syntax:

let(a=random(logs, q="file_name:index.html", fl="response_time", rows="17000"),
b=col(a, response_time),
c=hist(b, 10),
tuple(hist=c))

Let's break down what this expression is doing:

1) The let expression is setting variables a, b and c and then returning a single response tuple.

2) Variable a stores the result tuples from the random streaming expression. The random streaming expression is returning 17000 pseudo random records from the logs collection that match the query file_name:index.html.

3) Variable b stores the output of the col function. The col function returns a column of numbers from a list of tuples. In this case the list of tuples is held in the variable a. The field name is response_time.

4) Variable c stores the output of the hist function. The hist function returns a histogram from a column of numbers. In this case the column of numbers is stored in variable b. The number of bins in the histogram is 10.

5) The tuple expression returns a single output tuple with the hist field set to variable c, which contains the histogram.

The output from this expression is a histogram with 10 bins describing the random sample of home page response times. Descriptive statistics are provided for each bin.

By looking at the histogram we can gain a full understanding of the distribution of the data. Below is a sample histogram. Note that N is the number of observations that are in the bin.

{ "result-set": { "docs": [ { "hist": [ { "min": 105.80360488681794, "max": 184.11423669457605, "mean": 158.07101244548903, "var": 676.6416949523991, "sum": 1106.4970871184232, "stdev": 26.012337360421864, "N": 7 }, { "min": 187.1450299482844, "max": 262.86798264568415, "mean": 235.8519937762809, "var": 400.7486779625581, "sum": 31368.315172245355, "stdev": 20.01870819914607, "N": 133 }, { "min": 263.6907639320808, "max": 341.7723630856346, "mean": 312.0580142849335, "var": 428.02686585995957, "sum": 259944.32589934967, "stdev": 20.688810160566497, "N": 833 }, { "min": 342.0007054044787, "max": 420.508689773685, "mean": 387.10102356966337, "var": 497.5116682425222, "sum": 1008398.166398972, "stdev": 22.30496958622724, "N": 2605 }, { "min": 420.5348042867488, "max": 499.173632576587, "mean": 461.5725595026505, "var": 505.85122370654324, "sum": 2267244.4122770214, "stdev": 22.491136558798964, "N": 4912 }, { "min": 499.23963590242806, "max": 577.8765472307315, "mean": 535.9950922008038, "var": 500.5743269892825, "sum": 2589928.2855142825, "stdev": 22.373518431156118, "N": 4832 }, { "min": 577.9106064943256, "max": 656.5613165857329, "mean": 611.5787667510084, "var": 481.60546877783116, "sum": 1647593.1976272168, "stdev": 21.945511358312686, "N": 2694 }, { "min": 656.5932936523765, "max": 734.7738394881361, "mean": 685.4426886363782, "var": 451.02322430952523, "sum": 573715.5303886493, "stdev": 21.237307369568423, "N": 837 }, { "min": 735.9448445737111, "max": 812.751632738434, "mean": 762.5240648996678, "var": 398.4721757713377, "sum": 102178.22469655548, "stdev": 19.961767851854646, "N": 134 }, { "min": 816.2895922221702, "max": 892.6066799061479, "mean": 832.5779161364087, "var": 481.68131277525964, "sum": 10823.512909773315, "stdev": 21.94723929735263, "N": 13 } ] }, { "EOF": true, "RESPONSE_TIME": 986 } ] } }

### Point-wise Anomaly Detection

Point-wise anomaly detection deals with finding a single anomalous data point.

Based on the histogram we can devise a rule for detecting when an anomaly response time appears in the logs. For this example let's set a rule that any response time that falls within the last two bins is an anomaly. The specific rule would be:

response_time > 735

### Creating an Alert With the Topic Streaming Expression

Now that we have a rule for detecting anomaly response times we can use the topic expression to return all new records in the logs collection that match the anomaly rule. The topic expression would look like this:

topic(checkpoints,
logs,
q="file_name:index.html AND response_time:[735 TO *]",
fl="id, response_time",
id="response_anomalies")

The expression above provides one time delivery of all records that match the anomaly rule. Notice the anomaly rule is the query for the topic expression. This is a very efficient approach for retrieving just the anomaly records.

We can wrap the topic in an update and daemon expression to run the topic at intervals and store anomaly records in another collection. The collection of anomalies can then be used for alerting.

## Tuesday, May 30, 2017

### Statistical programming with Solr Streaming Expressions

In the previous blog we explored the new timeseries function and introduced the syntax for math expressions. In this blog we'll dive deeper into math expressions and explore the statistical programming functions rolling out in the next release.

Let's first learn how the statistical expressions work and then look at how we can perform statistical analysis on retrieved result sets.

### Array Math

The statistical functions create, manipulate and perform math on arrays. One of the basic things that we can do is create an array with the array function:

array(2, 3, 4, 3, 6)

The array function simply returns an array of numbers. If we send the array function above to Solr's stream handler it responds with:

{ "result-set": { "docs": [ { "return-value": [ 2, 3, 4, 3, 6 ] }, { "EOF": true, "RESPONSE_TIME": 1 } ] } }

Notice that the stream handler returns a single Tuple with the return-value field pointing to the array. This is how Solr responds when given a statistical function to evaluate.

This is a new behavior for Solr. In the past the stream handler always returned streams of Tuples. Now the stream handler can directly perform mathematical functions.

Let's explore a few more of the new array math functions. We can manipulate arrays in different ways. For example we can reverse the array like this:

rev(array(2, 3, 4, 3, 6))

Solr returns the following from this expression:

{ "result-set": { "docs": [ { "return-value": [ 6, 3, 4, 3, 2 ] }, { "EOF": true, "RESPONSE_TIME": 0 } ] } }

We can describe the array:

describe(array(2, 3, 4, 3, 6))

{ "result-set": { "docs": [ { "return-value": { "sumsq": 74, "max": 6, "var": 2.3000000000000003, "geometricMean": 3.365865436338599, "sum": 18, "kurtosis": 1.4555765595463175, "N": 5, "min": 2, "mean": 3.6, "popVar": 1.8400000000000003, "skewness": 1.1180799331493778, "stdev": 1.5165750888103102 } }, { "EOF": true, "RESPONSE_TIME": 31 } ] } }

Now we see our first bit of statistics. The describe function provides descriptive statistics for the array.

We can correlate arrays:

corr(array(2, 3, 4, 3, 6),
array(-2, -3, -4, -3, -6))

This returns:

{ "result-set": { "docs": [ { "return-value": -1 }, { "EOF": true, "RESPONSE_TIME": 2 } ] } }

The corr function performs the Pearson Product Moment correlation on the two arrays. In this case the arrays are perfectly negatively correlated.

We can perform a simple regression on the arrays:

regress(array(2, 3, 4, 3, 6),
array(-2, -3, -4, -3, -6))

{ "result-set": { "docs": [ { "return-value": { "significance": 0, "totalSumSquares": 9.2, "R": -1, "meanSquareError": 0, "intercept": 0, "slopeConfidenceInterval": 0, "regressionSumSquares": 9.2, "slope": -1, "interceptStdErr": 0, "N": 5 } }, { "EOF": true, "RESPONSE_TIME": 9 } ] } }

All statistical functions in the initial release are backed by Apache Commons Math. The initial release includes a core group of functions that support:

• Rank transformations
• Histograms
• Percentiles
• Simple regression and predict functions
• One way ANOVA
• Correlation
• Covariance
• Descriptive statistics
• Convolution
• Finding the delay in signals/time series
• Lagged regression
• Moving averages
• Sequence generation
• Calculating Euclidean distance between arrays
• Data normalization and scaling
• Array creation and manipulation functions
Statistical functions can be applied to:
1.  Time series result sets
2.  Random sampling result sets
3.  SQL result sets (Solr's Internal Parallel SQL)
4.  JDBC result sets (External JDBC Sources)
5.  K-Nearest Neighbor results sets
6.  Graph Expression result sets
7.  Search result sets
8.  Faceted aggregation result sets
9.  MapReduce result sets

### Array Math on Solr Result Sets

Let's now explore how we can apply statistical functions on Solr result sets. In the example below we'll correlate arrays of moving averages for two stocks:

let(stockA = sql(stocks, stmt="select closing_price from price_data where ticker='aaa' and ..."),
stockB = sql(stocks, stmt="select closing_price from price_data where ticker='bbb' and ..."),
pricesA = col(stockA, closing_price),
pricesB = col(stockB, closing_price),
movingA = movingAvg(pricesA, 30),
movingB = movingAvg(pricesB, 30),
tuple(correlation=corr(movingA, movingB)))

Let's break down how this expression works:

1) The let expression is setting variables and then returning a single output tuple.

2) The first two variables stockA and stockB contain result sets from sql expressions. The sql expressions return tuples with the closing prices for stock tickers aaa and bbb.

3) The next two variables pricesA and pricesB are created by the col function. The col function creates a numeric array from a list of Tuples. In this example pricesA contains the closing prices for stockA and pricesB contains the closing prices for stockB.

4) The next two variables movingA and movingB are created by the movingAvg function. In this example movingA and movingB contain arrays with the moving averages calculated from the pricesA and pricesB arrays.

5) In the final step we output a single Tuple containing the correlation of the movingA and movingB arrays. The correlation is computed using the corr function.

## Monday, May 1, 2017

### Exploring Solr's New Time Series and Math Expressions

In Solr 6.6 the Streaming Expression library has added support for time series and math expressions. This blog will walk through an example of how to use these exciting features.

### Time Series

Time series aggregations are supported through the timeseries Streaming Expression. The timeseries expression uses the json facet api under the covers so the syntax will be familiar if you've used Solr date range syntax.

Here is the basic syntax:

timeseries(collection,
field="test_dt",
q="*:*",
start="2012-05-01T00:00:00Z",
end="2012-06-30T23:59:59Z",
gap="+1MONTH",
count(*))

When sent to Solr this expression will return results that look like this:

{ "result-set": { "docs": [ { "test_dt": "2012-05-01T00:00:00Z", "count(*)": 247007 }, { "test_dt": "2012-06-01T00:00:00Z", "count(*)": 247994 }, { "EOF": true, "RESPONSE_TIME": 9 } ] } }

Solr takes care of the date math and builds the time range buckets automatically. Solr also fills in any gaps in the range with buckets automatically and adds zero aggregation values. Any Solr query can be used to select the records.

The supported aggregations are: count(*), sum(field), avg(field), min(field), max(field).

The timeseries function is quite powerful on it's own, but it grows in power when combined with math expressions.

### Math Expressions

In Solr 6.6 the Streaming Expression library also adds math expressions. This is a larger topic then one blog can cover, but I'll hit some of highlights by slowly building up a math expression.

### Let and Get

The fun begins with the let and get expressions. let is used to assign tuple streams to variables and get is used to retrieve the stream later in the expression. Here is the most basic example:

let(a=timeseries(collection, field="test_dt", q="*:*",
start="2012-05-01T00:00:00Z",
end="2012-06-30T23:59:59Z",
gap="+1MONTH",
count(*)),
get(a))

In the example above the timeseries expression is being set to the variable a. Then the get expression is used to turn the variable a back into a stream.

The let expression allows you to set any number of variables, and assign a single Streaming Expression to run the program logic. The expression that runs the program logic has access to the variables. The basic structure of let is:

let(a=expr,
b=expr,
c=expr,
expr)

The first three name/value pairs are setting variables and the final expression is the program logic that will use the variables.

If we send the let expression with the timeseries to Solr it returns with:

{ "result-set": { "docs": [ { "test_dt": "2012-05-01T00:00:00Z", "count(*)": 247007 }, { "test_dt": "2012-06-01T00:00:00Z", "count(*)": 247994 }, { "EOF": true, "RESPONSE_TIME": 9 } ] } }

This is the exact same response we would get if we sent the timeseries expression alone. Thats because all we did was assign the expression to a variable and use get to stream out the results.

Implementation Note: Under the covers the let expression sets each variable by executing the expressions and adding the tuples to a list. It then maps the variable name to the list in memory so that it can be retrieved by the variable name. So in memory Streams are converted to lists of tuples.

### The Select Expression

The select expression has been around for a long time, but it now plays a central role in math expressions. The select expression wraps another expression and applies a list of Stream Evaluators to each tuple. Stream Evaluators perform operations on the tuples.

The Streaming Expression library now includes a base set of numeric evaluators for performing math on tuples. Here is an example of select in action:

let(a=timeseries(collection, field="test_dt", q="*:*",
start="2012-05-01T00:00:00Z",
end="2012-06-30T23:59:59Z",
gap="+1MONTH",
count(*)),
b=select(get(a),
mult(-1, count(*)) as negativeCount,
test_dt),
get(b))

In the example above we've set a timeseries to variable a.

Then we are doing something really interesting with variable b. We are transforming the timeseries tuples stored in variable a with the select expression.

The select expression is reading all the tuples from the get(a) expression and applying the mult stream evaluator to each tuple. The mult Streaming Evaluator is multiplying -1 to the value in the count(*) field of the tuples and assigning it to the field negativeCount. Select is also outputting the test_dt field from the tuples.

The transformed tuples are then assigned to variable b.

Then get(b) is used to output the transformed tuples. If you send this expression to Solr it outputs:

{ "result-set": { "docs": [ { "test_dt": "2012-05-01T00:00:00Z", "negativeCount": -247007 }, { "test_dt": "2012-06-01T00:00:00Z", "negativeCount": -247994 }, { "EOF": true, "RESPONSE_TIME": 9 } ] } }

Implementation Note: The get expression creates new tuples when it streams tuples from a variable. So you never have to worry about side effects. In the example above variable a was unchanged when the tuples were transformed and assigned to variable b.

### The Tuple Expression

The basic data structure of Streaming Expressions is a Tuple. A Tuple is a set of name/value pairs. In the 6.6 release of Solr there is a Tuple expression which allows you to create your own output tuple. Here is the sample syntax:

let(a=timeseries(collection, field="test_dt", q="*:*",
start="2012-05-01T00:00:00Z",
end="2012-06-30T23:59:59Z",
gap="+1MONTH",
count(*)),
b=select(get(a),
mult(-1, count(*)) as negativeCount,
test_dt),
tuple(seriesA=a,
seriesB=b))

The example above defines an output tuple with two fields: seriesA and seriesB, both of these fields have been assigned a variable. Remember that variables a and b are pointers to lists of tuples. This is exactly how they will be output by the tuple expression.

If you send the expression above to Solr it will respond with:

{ "result-set": { "docs": [ { "seriesA": [ { "test_dt": "2012-05-01T00:00:00Z", "count(*)": 247007 }, { "test_dt": "2012-06-01T00:00:00Z", "count(*)": 247994 } ], "seriesB": [ { "test_dt": "2012-05-01T00:00:00Z", "negativeCount": -247007 }, { "test_dt": "2012-06-01T00:00:00Z", "negativeCount": -247994 } ] }, { "EOF": true, "RESPONSE_TIME": 7 } ] } }

Now we have both the original time series and the transformed time series in the output.

### The Col Evaluator

Lists of tuples are nice, but for performing many math operations what we need are columns of numbers. There is a special evaluator called col which can be used to pull out a column of numbers from a list of tuples.

Here is the basic syntax:

let(a=timeseries(collection, field="test_dt", q="*:*",
start="2012-05-01T00:00:00Z",
end="2012-06-30T23:59:59Z",
gap="+1MONTH",
count(*)),
b=select(get(a),
mult(-1, count(*)) as negativeCount,
test_dt),
c=col(a, count(*)),
d=col(b, negativeCount),
tuple(seriesA=a,
seriesB=b,
columnC=c,
columnD=d))

Now we have two new variables c and d, both pointing to a col expression. The col expression takes two parameters. The first parameter is a variable pointing to a list of tuples. The second parameter is the field to pull the column data from.

Also notice that there are two new fields in the output tuple that output the columns. If you send this expression to Solr it responds with:

{ "result-set": { "docs": [ { "seriesA": [ { "test_dt": "2012-05-01T00:00:00Z", "count(*)": 247007 }, { "test_dt": "2012-06-01T00:00:00Z", "count(*)": 247994 } ], "seriesB": [ { "test_dt": "2012-05-01T00:00:00Z", "negativeCount": -247007 }, { "test_dt": "2012-06-01T00:00:00Z", "negativeCount": -247994 } ], "columnC": [ 247007, 247994 ], "columnD": [ -247007, -247994 ] }, { "EOF": true, "RESPONSE_TIME": 6 } ] } }

Now the columns appear in the output.

### Performing Math on Columns

We've seen already that there are numeric Stream Evaluators that work on tuples in the select expression.

Some numeric evaluators also work on columns. An example of this is the corr evaluator which performs the Pearson product-moment correlation calculation on two columns of numbers.

Here is the sample syntax:

let(a=timeseries(collection, field="test_dt", q="*:*",
start="2012-05-01T00:00:00Z",
end="2012-06-30T23:59:59Z",
gap="+1MONTH",
count(*)),
b=select(get(a),
mult(-1, count(*)) as negativeCount,
test_dt),
c=col(a, count(*)),
d=col(b, negativeCount),
tuple(seriesA=a,
seriesB=b,
columnC=c,
columnD=d,
correlation=corr(c, d)))

Notice that the tuple now has a new field called correlation with the output of the corr function set to it. If you send this to Solr it responds with:

{ "result-set": { "docs": [ { "seriesA": [ { "test_dt": "2012-05-01T00:00:00Z", "count(*)": 247007 }, { "test_dt": "2012-06-01T00:00:00Z", "count(*)": 247994 } ], "seriesB": [ { "test_dt": "2012-05-01T00:00:00Z", "negativeCount": -247007 }, { "test_dt": "2012-06-01T00:00:00Z", "negativeCount": -247994 } ], "columnC": [ 247007, 247994 ], "columnD": [ -247007, -247994 ], "correlation": -1 }, { "EOF": true, "RESPONSE_TIME": 6 } ] } }

### Opening the Door to the Wider World of Mathematics

The syntax described in this blog opens the door to more sophisticated mathematics. For example the corr function can be used as a building block for cross-correlation, auto-correlation and auto-regression functions. Apache Commons Math includes machine learning algorithms such as clustering and regression and data transformations such as Fourier transforms that work on columns of numbers.

In the near future the Streaming Expressions math library will include these functions and many more.

### Time Series Cross-correlation and Lagged Regression With Solr Streaming Expresssions

One of the more interesting capabilities in Solr's new statistical library is cross-correlation . But before diving into cross-correlat...