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Ph.D. Theses

Scalable Reachability Indexing for Very Large Graphs

By Hilmi Yildirim
Advisor: Mohammed J. Zaki
August 9, 2011

Answering reachability queries in graphs is an important problem. With the development of high-througput data acquisition techniques and the advances in the areas of semantic web and social networks, we have abundance of enormous graph-structured data on which different queries are asked. One of the fundamental queries, a reachability query, asks whether there exists a path between any two given nodes. This can map to the question of whether one researcher has been influenced by another in a citation network, whether a protein inhibits or activates another one indirectly in a protein interaction network, whether a protein is broken down to a specific molecule in a metabolic pathway graphs, or whether a concept is subsumed by part of another in an ontology. Aside from these direct correspondences with real-life questions, they can constitute building blocks for complicated queries in various databases. Therefore, there is a crucial need for mechanisms that expedite querying in graph databases.

Existing methods for reachability trade-off indexing time and space versus query time performance. However, the biggest limitation of existing methods is that they do not scale to very large real-world graphs. They are also vulnerable to increasing edge densities. Another limitation of the existing methods is that they barely support dynamic updates, if at all.

In this thesis, we present two approaches for addressing the problems of scalable reachability indexing and reachability indexing for dynamic graphs. More specifically, we introduce two indexing schemes, namely GRAIL and DAGGER. GRAIL is a simple yet scalable reachability index that is based on the idea of randomized interval labeling, and that can effectively handle very large graphs. Based on an extensive set of experiments, we show that while more sophisticated methods work better on small graphs, GRAIL is the only index that can scale to millions of nodes and edges. GRAIL has linear indexing time and space, and the query time ranges from constant time to being linear in the graph order and size. Our second contribution is a scalable, light-weight reachability index for dynamic graphs called DAGGER which has linear (in the order of the graph) index size and index construction time, and reasonably fast update and query times. DAGGER is based on the idea of maintaining randomized interval labels for the nodes of the underlying acyclic graph(DAG) of the input graph. Therefore DAGGER yields an efficient algorithm for maintaining the strongly connected components of evolving graph, which is of independent interest. We demonstrate the efficiency and effectiveness of DAGGER in large dynamic real-world networks such as Wikipedia graph and citation networks as well as synthetic dynamic graphs.

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