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Toward a Distance Oracle for Billion-Node Graphs

Zichao Qi, Yanghua Xiao, Bin Shao, and Haixun Wang


The emergence of real life graphs with billions of nodes poses significant challenges for managing and querying these graphs. One of the fundamental queries submitted to graphs is the shortest distance query. Online BFS (breadth-first search) and offline pre-computing pairwise shortest distances are prohibitive in time or space complexity for billion-node graphs. In this paper, we study the feasibility of building distance oracles for billion-node graphs. A distance oracle provides approximate answers to shortest distance queries by using a pre-computed data structure for the graph. Sketch-based distance oracles are good candidates because they assign each vertex a sketch of bounded size, which means they have linear space complexity. However, state-of-the-art sketch-based distance oracles lack efficiency or accuracy when dealing with big graphs. In this paper, we address the scalability and accuracy issues by focusing on optimizing the three key factors that affect the performance of distance oracles: landmark selection, distributed BFS, and answer generation. We conduct extensive experiments on both real networks and synthetic networks to show that we can build distance oracles of affordable cost and efficiently answer shortest distance queries even for billion-node graphs.


Publication typeTechReport
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