One significant difference between Spark’s implementation of Dataframes and pandas is its immutability.
With Spark dataframes, you are unable to make changes to the existing object but rather create a brand new dataframe based on the old one. Pandas dataframes, however, allow you to edit the object in place. With Koalas, whilst still spark Dataframes under the hood, have kept the mutable syntax of pandas.
It does this by introducing this concept of an ‘Internal Frame’. This holds the spark immutable dataframe and manages the mapping between the Koalas column names and Spark column names. It also manages the Koalas index names to spark column name to replicate the index functionality in pandas (covered below). It acts as a bridge between Spark and Koalas by mimicking the pandas API with Spark. This Internal Frame replicates the mutable functionality of pandas by creating copies of the internal frame but appearing to be mutable.
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