Fast Best-Effort Pattern Matching in Large Attributed Graphs

author: Hanghang Tong, School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering, Arizona State University
published: Aug. 14, 2007,   recorded: August 2007,   views: 6934

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We focus on large graphs where nodes have attributes, such as a social network where the nodes are labelled with each person’s job title. In such a setting, we want to find subgraphs that match a user query pattern. For example, a ‘star’ query would be, “find a CEO who has strong interactions with a Manager, a Lawyer, and an Accountant, or another structure as close to that as possible”. Similarly, a ‘loop’ query could help spot a money laundering ring. Traditional SQL-based methods, as well as more recent graph indexing methods, will return no answer when an exact match does not exist. Our method can find exact-, as well as near-matches, and it will present them to the user in our proposed ‘goodness’ order. For example, our method tolerates indirect paths between, say, the ‘CEO’ and the ‘Accountant’ of the above sample query, when direct paths do not exist. Its second feature is scalability. In general, if the query has nq nodes and the data graph has n nodes, the problem needs polynomial time complexity O(nnq ), which is prohibitive. Our G-Ray (“Graph X-Ray”) method finds high-quality subgraphs in time linear on the size of the data graph. Experimental results on the DLBP author-publication graph (with 356K nodes and 1.9M edges) illustrate both the effectiveness and scalability of our approach. The results agree with our intuition, and the speed is excellent. It takes 4 seconds on average for a 4- node query on the DBLP graph.

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