Apache Mahout ML Software (Workflow, Features, Pros, and Cons)

Last updated on by Editorial Staff
Apache Mahout

Machine learning software is indispensable as it empowers us to construct computer systems that can acquire knowledge from data. This profound capability holds immense potential in addressing a myriad of challenges effectively.

The utilization of machine learning software is already prevalent across diverse sectors such as healthcare, finance, retail, and manufacturing.

As the algorithms powering machine learning continue to advance and achieve broader accessibility, we can anticipate significant advancements in problem-solving capabilities, leading to further enhancements in our quality of life.

Apache Mahout is an open-source, distributed machine-learning library that implements popular machine-learning techniques such as collaborative filtering, classification, clustering, and frequent itemset mining. It is built on top of Apache Hadoop, which allows it to scale to large datasets.

This blog post discusses what Apache Mahout is, why it’s useful, how it works, and its features. It also explains the advantages, disadvantages, and various applications of Apache Mahout. By the end of this post, you will gain a better understanding of Apache Mahout and its role in the field of machine learning.

What is Apache Mahout?

Apache Mahout is a powerful project of the Apache Software Foundation that leverages big data computation through Hadoop and MapReduce. It is a machine-learning software library written in Java. It builds scalable clustering, classification, and collaborative filtering algorithms.

You can create algorithms for clustering, classification, and collaborative filtering with Mahout. Mahout also includes many built-in algorithms that you can use right away.

Webpage of Mahout

Why should you use it?

  • Mahout uses various techniques, such as ML and data mining algorithms, to create complex predictive models.
  • It uses several underlying algorithms, such as Random Forest, H2O, and SVD++, to build customized models for your input data.
  • Its flexible architecture allows you to add or customize new algorithms easily.
  • Mahout also provides many powerful APIs that make it easy to work with large datasets, run complex algorithms, and integrate machine learning into your applications.

Here are some examples of how Apache Mahout is being used in the real world

  • Netflix uses Mahout to recommend movies to its users.
  • Amazon uses Mahout to recommend products to its customers.
  • Facebook uses Mahout to recommend friends to its users.
  • Credit card companies use Mahout to detect fraudulent transactions.
  • Insurance companies use Mahout to detect fraudulent claims.
  • Retail companies use Mahout to segment their customers and identify patterns in customer purchase data.
  • Telecom companies use Mahout to segment their customers and develop personalized marketing campaigns.
  • Network security companies use Mahout to detect anomalous network traffic.
  • Manufacturing companies use Mahout to detect anomalies in product quality data and improve their production processes.

Mahout Workflow

  • Start by training a model using your input data and the algorithms of your choice.
  • Once you have a trained model, use it to predict new data.
  • You can then use these predicted values to build more complex models or incorporate them into your application as desired.


Supports several ML algorithms

Mahout is an open-source machine-learning library that supports several machine-learning algorithms for clustering, classification, regression, and collaborative filtering.

Data preprocessing

Mahout’s key features include its ability to perform feature selection and dimensionality reduction as part of the data preprocessing step before running machine learning algorithms on the data.

Clustering approach

Another key feature is its ability to cluster similar documents based on their text content using various clustering approaches such as k-means or hierarchical clustering algorithms.

Classification and regression

Mahout also offers support for performing supervised learning tasks such as classification and regression, which can be used to predict future outcomes based on historical data.

Collaborative filtering and recommender

It also supports a range of unsupervised learning techniques, such as 

  • Collaborative filtering for building recommendation engines.    
  • Recommender systems to recommend relevant products for users based on their interests and preferences.

Tools for analyzing large datasets

Mahout includes several tools for analyzing large datasets using distributed computing frameworks like Apache Spark or Hadoop MapReduce, which makes it well suited for working with big data applications and processing large volumes of data at scale.

Difference between Hadoop and Mahout

Hadoop Mahout
Hadoop is a way to use many computers to do the same task at the same time.Mahout is a machine-learning library that is built on top of Hadoop.
It works on a lot of computers, and each computer can store and work on its own data.It implements popular machine learning algorithms such as collaborative filtering, classification, clustering, and frequent itemset mining. 

Hadoop is typically used for batch processing, such as data warehousing and mining.

Mahout is typically used for building and deploying machine learning models on large datasets.


  • User-friendly interface.
  • Using Mahout, we can easily analyze any Hadoop file system data directly from the file system because Mahout sits on top of Hadoop systems.
  • Using this software, you can deploy large-scale learning algorithms.
  • In the event of failure, it provides fault tolerance.
  • You can use Mahout to perform data preprocessing tasks, such as determining feature importance, finding outliers and correlations, or detecting anomalies.


  • Its computing time is relatively slow compared to other frameworks such as MLlib and TensorFlow.
  • As an open-source framework, it does not offer enterprise support.


  • Mahout is widely used for predictive modeling and data mining in various industries, such as finance, healthcare, retail, marketing, and telecommunications.
  • Some popular applications built using Mahout include recommender systems for e-commerce sites, fraud detection models for credit card companies, predictive maintenance models for industrial equipment, and predictive models for stock market analysis.
  • Mahout is also commonly used in machine learning for building deep learning models, such as convolutional neural networks.
  • It can also solve text classification and natural language processing (NLP) tasks.


Mahout’s main competitors include other machine-learning libraries and frameworks, like,

Other details

Number of employees 500 to 1000
Programming languagesJava, Scala
Operating systemCross-platform
The latest release14.1 Snapshot
Release Date7 Oct 2020


Who developed Apache Mahout?

Apache Mahout was developed by a community of contributors from various organizations, “Project Management Committee” (PMC) manages the project.

Who should use Apache Mahout?

Apache Mahout is a popular machine-learning library and framework used by mathematicians, statisticians, scientists, data analysts, and other users working with large datasets that need predictive modeling, data mining, and other machine-learning tasks.


Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced machine learning practitioner, Apache Mahout is one of the tool to start your machine learning journey and learn the fundamentals of machine learning.

With its robust collection of algorithms and preprocessing tools, you can easily build custom machine-learning models.